Capitol Momentum - Jan 2023

NASA selects three companies to advance lunar solar array technology

Illustration of NASA astronauts on the lunar South Pole. Credit: NASA

Edinburgh, 25 August 2022. – NASA has selected three companies, Astrobotic Technology, Honeybee Robotics and Lockheed Martin, to further advance work on deployable solar array systems that will power the agency’s human and robotic exploration of the Moon during the Artemis program, NASA said.

The Artemis missions will not only return humans to the lunar surface but will also establish a long-term presence near its South Pole. Therefore, there is a need for a reliable and sustainable power source to support the habitats, rovers, and construction systems. 

To achieve this, NASA is supporting the development of autonomously deployable and retractable, 10-meter tall, vertical solar arrays. The tall, vertically oriented arrays will remain operational even at sites where sunlight is blocked by the lunar terrain. The design requirements include remaining stable on sloped terrain and being resistant to lunar dust, while minimizing mass and volume.

The three companies will be awarded a total of US $19.4 million to build prototypes and perform their environmental testing. Astrobotic will receive US $6.2 million, Honeybee US $7 million, while Lockheed Martin will receive US $6.2 million.

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