This paper presents the research activities carried out in collaboration between the University of Pisa, Alta SpA and GAUSS Srl on the design, manufacturing and assembly of solar panels for small satellite applications in preparation of a test flight scheduled for 2013 on the UniSat-5 small spacecraft. The solar panels developed is based on “low-cost” and “low-tech” techniques for assembly and qualification. The approach adopted involves a printed circuit board where bare cells are installed by means of a double-sided insulating adhesive tape and each cell is covered with cerium doped borosilicate glass, using a controlled volatility silicone. Bonding was performed with a dedicated vacuum bag technique, developed in-house. This method allows to achieve a significant cost reduction with respect to traditional techniques, while retaining high performance and avoiding complex technological procedures during the integration. The panels were subjected to electrical characterization and to thermal vacuum test according to ECSS standards. We outline the panel design, the manufacturing processes and the results of electrical and thermal vacuum tests carried out on the protoflight model. The recorded protoflight unit total mass loss was well under the acceptable limits, so the panel has been accepted for space flight. Possible future extensions of the method to produce low-cost panels suited for arbitrarily shaped microsatellite surfaces are also outlined and discussed.

Low Cost Solar Panel for Microsatellites

MARCUCCIO, SALVO
2013

Abstract

This paper presents the research activities carried out in collaboration between the University of Pisa, Alta SpA and GAUSS Srl on the design, manufacturing and assembly of solar panels for small satellite applications in preparation of a test flight scheduled for 2013 on the UniSat-5 small spacecraft. The solar panels developed is based on “low-cost” and “low-tech” techniques for assembly and qualification. The approach adopted involves a printed circuit board where bare cells are installed by means of a double-sided insulating adhesive tape and each cell is covered with cerium doped borosilicate glass, using a controlled volatility silicone. Bonding was performed with a dedicated vacuum bag technique, developed in-house. This method allows to achieve a significant cost reduction with respect to traditional techniques, while retaining high performance and avoiding complex technological procedures during the integration. The panels were subjected to electrical characterization and to thermal vacuum test according to ECSS standards. We outline the panel design, the manufacturing processes and the results of electrical and thermal vacuum tests carried out on the protoflight model. The recorded protoflight unit total mass loss was well under the acceptable limits, so the panel has been accepted for space flight. Possible future extensions of the method to produce low-cost panels suited for arbitrarily shaped microsatellite surfaces are also outlined and discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/250984
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