26 March 2014
Sierra Nevada awards Emcore solar panel contract for NASA's CYGNSS Mission
Emcore Corp of Albuquerque, NM, USA, which makes compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the fiber-optic and solar power markets, has been awarded a contract by Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) of Sparks, NV, USA to design and manufacture solar panels to be used on the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The CYGNSS mission will be managed by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and is planned for launch in October 2016.
Emcore will populate solar panels with its ZTJ triple-junction solar cells. SNC will then deliver the finished panels to SwRI for integration into the eight low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites that will be carried on a single launch vehicle.
The goal of NASA’s mission is a fundamental improvement in hurricane forecasting. CYGNSS will make frequent and accurate measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life-cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes. The data generated will enable scientists to probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the core of storms, which play a critical role in the genesis and intensification of hurricanes.
“Emcore is a valued and strategic partner supporting a critical element of SNC’s growing, complete and integrated satellite electrical power system (EPS) offering,” comments Matt Johnson, director of programs for SNC’s Space Systems. “We continue to expand the EPS market with higher-value, lower-cost and turn-key system solutions,” he adds.
Emcore previously delivered solar panels to SNC for the ORBCOMM Generation 2 (OG2) satellites in 2010. “We are appreciative of SNC’s continued confidence in our ability to deliver the highest reliability solar panels for their missions,” says Dr Brad Clevenger, executive VP & general manager of Emcore’s Photovoltaics Division.
Since 2001 Emcore solar cells or panels have supplied primary power to more than 130 space missions with zero on-orbit failures.
With a beginning-of-life (BOL) conversion efficiency nearing 30% and the option for a patented, onboard monolithic bypass diode, Emcore's multi-junction solar cells provide amongst the highest available power to interplanetary spacecraft and earth-orbiting satellites, claims the firm.