17 May 2016 Development of origami-style solar panels for use in support of a Mars mission
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Abstract
This paper presents work on the development of an Origami-style solar panel technology. This approach increases a satellite’s solar array’s power generation surface area, given constrained space and mass. The same deployable structure (used for the solar panels) can also house a phased array on the reverse side. For a proposed Mars demonstration mission, this array is used for communications and microwave wireless power transmission.

The design of the solution is presented in detail, including a discussion of the pre-deployment configuration, the deployment process, and the final configuration. The panels, prior to deployment, are folded around the square base of the spacecraft, covering all four of its sides. To deploy them, a slight circular motion can be introduced to use centrifugal force to cause each side to fold out from the side of the satellite. A simple hinge mechanism is used to interconnect the panels and inflatable tubes or wire that is designed to stiffen in a straightened orientation when electrified, are used to move the panels into their final position and provide rigidity.

The efficacy of the proposed technology is considered in the context of the Martian mission. This demonstrates its mass and volume efficiency as well as the utility of the approach for enabling the mission. A qualitative analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of the approach is presented. A discussion of the technology’s overall impact on mission design is presented, before concluding with a discussion of the next steps for the research.
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Alexander Holland, Jeremy Straub, "Development of origami-style solar panels for use in support of a Mars mission", Proc. SPIE 9865, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications VII, 98650D (17 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2228007; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2228007
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