The use of sounding rockets for calibrating solar cells offers two principal advantages: (1) there is no effect due to the terrestrial atmosphere and (2) the cells are recoverable immediately after calibration. On 18 September 1974, four n/p photovoltaic cells were calibrated in space and successfully recovered from a NASA Aerobee rocket that reached a peak altitude of 251 km. Two of the cells were optically filtered with 0.6 to 0.9-p band-pass filters. The short-circuit current agreed to within 4% of the laboratory calibration; variation of cell output due to atmospheric attenuation in the altitude range of 80 to 251 km was 0.4% for the unfiltered cells.
Norman L. Thomas,
Dean M. Chisel,
"High Altitude Calibration Of Solar Cells Using Rockets", Proc. SPIE 0068, Optics in Solar Energy Utilization I, (16 March 1976); doi: 10.1117/12.978103; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.978103