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International Space Station Solar Arrays Video

Both International Space Station (ISS) solar array wings, built at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, have been fully unfurled and tensioned following a spacewalk this morning by shuttle a... Both International Space Station (ISS) solar array wings, built at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, have been fully unfurled and tensioned following a spacewalk this morning by shuttle astronauts Joe Tanner and Carlos Noriega. The astronauts successfully repositioned tensioning wires on the starboard solar array that was deployed on Sunday, December 3, 2000. The wires slipped from their reels during the initial deployment. Procedures to effect the repair were developed by the Lockheed Martin solar array team in consultation with NASA astronauts who traveled here to examine identical flight hardware, which will be delivered to the International Space Station on an upcoming shuttle mission. The astronauts here practiced the procedure on a deployed solar array blanket and found it satisfactory. It was further simulated and practiced by astronauts in a massive pool, called the Neutral Bouyancy Laboratory, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. ``The whole team is absolutely delighted to see that the final tensioning procedures worked just as we believed they would,'' said Sid Bourgeois, Lockheed Martin International Space Station program manager. ``We look forward to continuing work here on getting the remaining six solar array wings ready for flight.'' The first of four pairs of massive solar arrays for the International Space Station, were launched aboard the space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station on November 30, 2000. Subsequent pairs of arrays will be delivered on shuttle flights currently scheduled for 2002, 2003, and 2006. The functional testing of the solar array flight hardware has involved several extension and retraction cycles of the 107-foot deployment mast and solar array blankets. Additionally, all individual solar panel circuits have been flash-tested with simulated sunlight to verify output power. Further, a close inspection has ensured that individual solar cells can withstand the harsh environment of space while converting sunlight into electricity. Arrays have also been exposed to harsh vacuum and thermal environments that simulate conditions 200 miles above the Earth's surface, and tested further in an acoustic chamber to simulate the violent shaking vibrations that accompany launch aboard the Space Shuttle. The technology has already been flight proven in a demonstration prototype solar array replacement flown by NASA and Space Systems on the Russian MIR space station. The Space Systems ISS solar arrays are the largest deployable space structure ever built and will be by far, the most powerful electricity-producing arrays ever put into orbit. When the Station is completed a total of eight flexible, deployable solar array wings will generate the reliable, continuous power for the on-orbit operation of the ISS systems. The eight array wings were designed and built under a $450 million contract from the Boeing-Rocketdyne Division in Canoga Park, Calif., for delivery to the Boeing Company and NASA. Each of the eight wings consists of a mast assembly and two solar array blankets. Each blanket has 84 panels, of which 82 are populated with solar cells. Each panel contains 200 solar cells. The eight photovoltaic arrays thus accommodate a total of 262,400 solar cells. When fully deployed in space, the active area of the eight wings, each 107 by 38-feet, will encompass an area of 32,528-sq. ft., and will provide power to the ISS for 15 years. In addition to the arrays, Space Systems in Sunnyvale has also designed and built other elements for the Space Station that will be launched on future shuttle missions. Rotary mechanical joints for the ISS will move the solar arrays and thermal radiators into positions relative to the Sun that will optimize their individual functions. These mechanical joints are the largest mechanisms ever designed to operate in a space environment. The two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ) are each 10.5 ft diameter and 40 inches long. Their purpose is to maintain the solar arrays in an optimal orientation to the Sun while the entire Space Station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes. Drive motors in each SARJ will move the arrays through 360 degrees of motion at four degrees per minute. The Thermal Radiator Rotary Joints (TRRJ) are each five and a half feet long and three feet in diameter. Their purpose is to maintain the Space Station thermal radiators in an edge-on orientation to the sun that maximizes the dissipation of heat from the radiators. Category: Education Tags: science space station international com community solar array panel power functioning


 

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