1 December 2011

Emcore solar panels powering NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft

Solar panels manufactured by Emcore Corp of Albuquerque, NM, USA were successfully launched on 26 November onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft.

Picture: United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Image Credit: NASA/Scott Andrews/Canon.

The panels, delivered earlier this year under contract to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Center in Pasadena, CA, will power the MSL during its cruise stage to Mars. The spacecraft is designed to carry the MSL rover ‘Curiosity’ and communicate with the entry vehicle that will carry the rover to the surface of the planet. The solar panels for this mission were designed and manufactured exclusively by Emcore’s Photovoltaic Division in Albuquerque.

“We are committed to supporting NASA with other future missions,” says chief operating officer Christopher Larocca. “Emcore has previously delivered, or is in the process of delivering, solar panels for several other NASA missions including the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) to the International Space Station, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and the Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) missions,” he adds.

Emcore manufactures radiation-hard solar cells for space power applications. With a beginning-of-life (BOL) conversion efficiency nearing 30% and the option for a patented, onboard monolithic bypass diode, its multi-junction solar cells provide power to interplanetary spacecraft and earth orbiting satellites.

Tags: Emcore Multi-junction solar cells

Visit: www.emcore.com

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