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30 July 2014

Ascent’s PV modules selected by Vanguard for NASA SBIR program

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Thornton, CO, USA, which makes lightweight, flexible copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic modules that it integrates into its EnerPlex series of consumer products, says that its PV modules have been selected by Vanguard Space Technologies Inc of San Diego, CA for its NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, which aims to develop an economical, lightweight alternative to existing and emerging high-cost solar arrays for high-power space applications.

Founded in 1994, Vanguard specializes in the engineering, tooling, manufacturing, assembly and testing of high-performance, lightweight and precision aerospace structures. Its main product lines include antenna reflectors, spacecraft structures, instrument structures and solar power systems for commercial, defense, military and research satellites. As well as having experience in composite and advanced hybrid technologies for spaceborne applications, Vanguard also has a growing business in space power and optical and thermal products including modular solar panels, flexible solar panels, shielded electromagnetically clean solar panels, solar concentrators, deployable solar arrays and deployable radiator arrays.

Vanguard will utilize proprietary space environment protection technology along with automated manufacturing approaches to create an ultra-thin, high power-to-weight ratio, large space solar array, enabled by Ascent's flexible CIGS technology. Ascent says that it will leverage its experience with space-based solar products to provide space-optimized variants of its production PV.

“Existing and emerging space solar cell technologies, particularly when utilized in very large-scale solar arrays, can present problems to the spacecraft designer, both in terms of cost and availability,” says Ascent’s chief technology officer Dr Joseph Armstrong. “By starting with our production CIGS monolithically integrated modules, we can provide Vanguard with a module that is tuned for the space environment and, in a similar way to our products enabling novel commercial goods, our space CIGS modules will enable Vanguard to utilize its unique protective coating and design expertise to succeed in their goal of providing NASA an economical pathway for powering these future missions,” he adds.

“The advent of our extreme-environment thin-film coatings, automated manufacturing-friendly array design, and Ascent’s proven cell technology provides an ideal solution for next-generation durable, affordable, large-area space solar arrays,” believes Vanguard’s CEO Frank Belknap.

Tags: Ascent Solar CIGS

Visit: www.AscentSolar.com

Visit: www.vst-inc.com

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