NASA Picks Proposals for Deep Space Explorations

Out there is deep space, the temperature can be very low; down to -270.45 degree Celsius. Also cosmic rays, solar winds, and storms are ejecting high levels of radiation that can be hazardous to electrical equipment. So, NASA will need solar power if it wants to operate in deep space operations with low temperatures and high-radiation environments. And fortunately, it has some partners lined up. NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) has picked four of the proposals to develop solar array technologies, which will uphold spacecrafts in exploring deep space.

“These awards will greatly enhance our ability to further develop and enhance LILT (low-intensity low temperature) performance by employing new solar cell designs,” said Lanetra Tate, the GCD program executive in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “The ultimate goal of increasing end of life performance and enhanced space power applications will greatly impact how we execute extended missions, especially to the outer planets.”

Proposals chosen for contract negotiations:

  • Transformational Solar Array for Extreme Environments — Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory of Laurel, Maryland
  • Micro-Concentrator Solar Array Technology for Extreme Environments — The Boeing Company of Huntington Beach, California
  • Solar Array for Low-intensity Low Temperature and High-Radiation Environments, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
  • Concentrator Solar Power Systems for Low-intensity Low Temperature and High Radiation Game Changing Technology Development — ATK Space Systems of Goleta, California

Selected four will have to go through some additional hurdles to make the cut. After completing initial nine months, a second phase will be anticipated that will offer $1.25 million in development funding to no more than two participants. And in the third and final phase of the project, only one of them will be selected to finish the project.

The GCD program is managed by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. More solicitations with the goal of making significant investments will be released during the next 18 months, which will address high priority challenges to achieve affordable and safe deep-space exploration.

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