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26 September 2012

Orbital awards Emcore solar panel contract for NASA’s ICESat-2 spacecraft

Emcore Corp of Albuquerque, NM, USA, which makes components, subsystems and systems for the fiber-optic and solar power markets, has been awarded a solar panel manufacturing contract by Orbital Sciences Corp for the spacecraft it is making for NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission, which is targeted for launch in early 2016. Solar panels populated with Emcore’s most advanced ZTJ triple-junction solar cells will power the spacecraft.

ICESat-2 builds on measurements taken by NASA’s original ICESat mission. ICESat was the benchmark Earth Observing System mission for measuring ice-sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics. Data from ICESat, which was in orbit from 2003 to 2010, revealed thinning of the world’s ice sheets. ICESat-2 will use precision laser-ranging techniques to measure the topography of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice.

“This award for ICESat-2 continues the strong partnership between Orbital Sciences Corporation and Emcore,” says Brad Clevenger, general manager of Emcore’s Photovoltaics Group.

Emcore claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of highly efficient 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, the firm’s multi-junction solar cells can provide the highest available power to interplanetary spacecrafts and earth-orbiting satellites, it adds.

Tags: Emcore Orbital Sciences




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