Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) has been selected by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide solar panels that will power NASA’s shoebox-sized mobile robots as part of of the Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Explorers (CADRE) program.
The solar panels will use Rocket Lab’s inverted metamorphic (IMM) multi-junction solar cells which are more efficient and lighter than standard multi-junction space solar cells and provide the exact capacities needed for the program. IMM cells were developed by SolAero Technologies Inc, a leading space solar energy company acquired by Rocket Lab in January 2022.
IMM solar cells are a superior type of space-grade solar cell, offering best-in-class efficiency with 40% less mass than typical space-grade solar cells. IMM also powers General Atomics’ GAzelle spacecraft, which Rocket Lab launched on its 31st Electron mission earlier this month.
CADRE robots are the next generation of NASA’s Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robots (A-PUFFER) technology. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory designs the CADRE robots to be able to explore in groups to collect data in the hardest to reach places on the Moon, Mars and beyond.
“We are extremely proud to support innovative new ways of space exploration,” said Brad Clevenger, Vice President of Space Systems at Rocket Lab. “The CADRE program could help map uncharted regions on the Moon and access hard-to-reach parts of Mars, expanding our understanding of distant planets and the Moon.”
CADRE aims to fly as a technology demonstration on a commercial robotic lander over the next five years as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services Initiative.
FRAMEWORK – Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Explorers
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Second batch of Airbus Sparkwing solar panels selected by Aerospacelab
Leiden, Netherlands (SPX) Oct 13, 2022
Six other Airbus Sparkwing solar arrays have been selected by Aerospacelab to accommodate their ramp-up to higher satellite production volumes. The panels are designed and produced at the Dutch site of Airbus in Leiden. The ordered configuration, consisting of two single-panel wings each measuring 1070x570mm, is identical to the set recently delivered by Airbus for Aerospacelab’s first Very High Resolution (VHR) mission flight model. The rigidity of the concept of solar panels for … Read more