More and more missions require power supply > 25 kW such as solar electrical propulsion, high throughput satellites. However, the restricted volume between the fairing and the spacecraft sidewall limits the number & the dimension of rigid solar panels during launch. Therefore, the answer for this growing power demand lies neither in stacking more rigid solar arrays, nor by marginal efficiency improvements on III-V multi-junction solar cells, but rather in innovative/disruptive photovoltaic solutions.
More solar cells per unit of volume are needed in stowed configuration, and flexible solar arrays are the only answer for this high-power challenge.
In this context, ALFAMA project brings answers for the mass, cost & power challenge, with ambitions at each level of the solar array:
- The mechanical architecture, with a modular & retractable deployment system
- The photovoltaic assembly fabrication process, with printed harness & lamination for easier integration, manufacturing and high voltage protection
- The PVA structure, with thin flexible layers for high power/mass & power/volume ratio, adapted to epitaxial lift-off
- The solar cells, with the development of highly efficient & lightweight III-V IMM lift-off cells
ALFAMA's drastic improvements will enhance the EU space sector competitiveness, enable new missions and build synergies between space and non-space activities.
ALFAMA brings together a team of 8 partners, leaders in their field, from 3 EU-member states, who will join their efforts towards the realization of a disruptive solar array technology (end TRL 4-5), with the following key performances:
1/ Power/mass ratio increased by ≥ 50% with III-V lift-off solar cells
2/ Cost reduction with high throughput assembly process
3/ Power density increased more than 4 times with compact stowed configuration
4/ Relevant roadmaps for space & non-space applications
This project have received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 821876. This publication (communication) reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be helded responsible for any use whic may be of the information contained therein.
The Alfama project is now over. For this reason, we want to thank everyone very much for being with us throughout the duration...View more
The ALFAMA project is coming to an end. Today, one of the last meetings for the entire project consortium took place. The...View more