A Modular High Power Solar Array for NanoSats

Period of Performance: 06/04/2012 - 08/29/2014


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

MMA Design LLC
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: With increased focus on development of highly capable NanoSat spacecraft and missions, innovations in system design and architecture yielding high performance, modular and multi-function systems will enhance Air Force mission utility, capability and flexibility. An area of considerable development opportunity enabling Air Force NanoSat missions is to increase available continuous power significantly, to lower costs and to further leverage this capability to effectively de-orbit the spacecraft at end-of-life. MMA Design proposes to significantly advance the state-of-the-art in NanoSat power systems by completing development and delivering our Enhanced High Watts per Kilogram (E-HaWK) solar power system with a modular and scalable architecture. It consists of innovative deployable solar arrays combined with a sun tracking gimbal assembly that is initially optimized for a 3U but readily adaptable to a 6U Bus configuration. The significance to the Air Force of our innovative solution is that it allows the spacecraft to maintain high power while freeing the mission instruments to track an area of interest, thus improving mission utility, flexibility and capability. The E-HaWK innovations further demonstrate MMA s NanoSat modular solar power architecture for providing a range of mission power options and leverages from our core solar power technologies. BENEFIT: 1. Space Situational Awareness two axis sun tracking allows the S/C to maintain high continuous power while simultaneously freeing the mission instruments to track an AOI, thus improving mission capability, flexibility and utility. 2. Mission ISR data and quality can increase with increases in power capabilities, power tracking and performance. 3. Maximizing the utility of the available volume by combining the functions of solar power and de-orbiting into one robust deployable system. 4. Rapid development and maturation of innovative spacecraft power and bus technologies leading to low cost solutions that are adaptable and scalable to other AFRL applications. 5. Advancement of key deployable and steerable solar array technologies to overcome current NanoSat spacecraft and mission limitations. 6. A highly modular and scalable system design. 7. A low mass/volume and high performance 3U bus system to maximize the mass/volume available for payloads. 8. De-orbit capability ensures reduction in future space debris and available orbital slots. 9. The MMA team offers Air Force high innovative content for revolutionizing NanoSat technologies with high risk/reward payoffs. Air Force can leverage our small company performance advantages in the areas of technical, schedule and cost.