PnP 30W Orbit Average Power Solar Panel for Cubesats

Period of Performance: 03/04/2011 - 03/05/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Array
Bothell, WA 98011
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: TUI proposes to develop a lightweight, low-cost deployable solar array sized to provide 30 W orbit-averaged power to CubeSats. Our proposed design fits within the 6.5 mm extra volume allowed by the P-POD spec beyond the 10 cm square standard CubeSat footprint, and leaves 1U of a 3U CubeSat clear to allow mounting antennas and other components as well as access to umbilical ports. It also provides full 4-pi spherical pointing, enabling sun tracking with no constraints on satellite operations. The array design is compatible with the AFRL PnP CubeSat structure as well as most other standard CubeSat bus structure designs. In the Phase I effort, we will develop a detailed design for the deployable array and construct an engineering unit to enable testing to validate the design, and in the Phase II effort we will build, qualify, and deliver a flight unit of the 30W OAP CubeSat Solar Array. BENEFIT: The proposed 30 W OAP Solar Array will provide a dramatic increase in the capability of CubeSat systems, enabling them to perform high-performance missions such as tactical operations requiring orbital maneuvering with electric propulsion thrusters, CubeSat-based radar systems for ISR or SSA, and CubeSat-based communications relay systems.