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22 February 2013

Emcore’s solar technology powers LDCM satellite

Emcore Corp of Albuquerque, NM, USA, which manufacturers compound semiconductor-based systems for fiber-optic and solar power applications, says that its solar panels are powering the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite that was launched on 11 February.

Designed and built by Orbital Sciences Corp for NASA to support the Landsat Earth observation program, the LDCM satellite continues a 40-year legacy of seven previous satellites that have collected data and images of the Earth's surface and environment.

"Emcore is proud to have once again partnered with Orbital on the deployment of critical on-orbit capability," says Brad Clevenger, general manager of Emcore's Photovoltaics Division. "We appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this important mission for NASA and the US Geological Survey and we look forward to seeing LDCM's many contributions to earth science."

Emcore’s highly-efficient radiation-hard solar cells for space power applications have a Beginning-Of-Life (BOL) conversion efficiency nearing 30% and the option for a patented, onboard monolithic bypass diode. Emcore adds that its multi-junction solar cells provide the highest available power to interplanetary spacecraft and earth orbiting satellites.

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) share responsibility for the LDCM program. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center oversaw development of the flight systems including the LDCM spacecraft and the onboard instruments, and is responsible for mission operations, launch, and in-orbit checkout. The USGS will operate the satellite and the Landsat ground network, image-processing and archive facilities. The data collected constitutes the longest ongoing record of the Earth's surface as seen from space.

LDCM joins Landsat 7, which is currently in orbit. Once the spacecraft completes in-orbit testing and is operated by the USGS, it will be renamed Landsat 8. The satellite has two new spectral bands that will allow it to detect clouds on coastal zones. In addition, it will produce more than twice as many images per day than the Landsat 7. LDCM is approximately 20 feet tall with a 9-foot diameter at its widest point. The solar array has four Emcore solar panels that will extend 32 feet from the satellite when deployed and feature high-efficiency BTJ triple-junction solar cells delivering 3750 watts of power at End-Of-Life (EOL).

Tags: Emcore Triple-junction solar cells


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