17 May 2012

Emcore wins solar panel contract from JPL for Soil Moisture Active Passive mission

Emcore Corp of Albuquerque, NM, USA, which makes components and subsystems for the fiber-optic and solar power markets, has been awarded a solar panel manufacturing contract by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for its Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission (targeted for launch in late 2014). Solar panels populated with Emcore’s most advanced third-generation triple-junction ZTJ solar cells will power the SMAP spacecraft and instrument suite in near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit for the duration of mission.

The SMAP mission will provide global measurements of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. The measurements will be used to enhance the understanding of processes that link the planet’s water, energy and carbon cycles, and to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models. SMAP data will also be used to quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes and to develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities.

“Emcore successfully delivered solar panels to JPL last year for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission and have delivered, or are in the process of delivering, solar panels for several other NASA missions, including the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and the Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) missions,” notes chief operating officer Christopher Larocca.

With a beginning-of-life (BOL) conversion efficiency nearing 30% and the option for a patented, onboard monolithic bypass diode, Emcore’s multi-junction solar cells provide the highest available power to interplanetary spacecraft and earth-orbiting satellites, it is claimed.

Tags: Emcore Solar panels JPL

Visit: www.emcore.com

Visit: http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov

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