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Goleta Based Space Company Could Power NASA To Mars

By Joe Buttitta, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Anchor/Reporter 
July 1, 2014

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GOLETA, Calif. - Sending humans to Mars. That's the mission NASA says isn't so far in the future and it's a Goleta-based company that may help power the way.

Deployable Space Systems is a small business startup, founded in 2009. In that short amount of time the work they do behind closed doors in Goleta has NASA looking in.

What grabbed the attention of America's space program is the revolutionary concept of a Roll-Out Solar Array or ROSA. It looks like a giant solar panel but DSS president Brian Spence says it's so much more than that.

"It rolls up and stows into a very compact volume," Spence said. "It can actually fit on a launch vehicle like a rocket."

ROSA is ground-breaking. It is ultra-lightweight, strong enough to withstand the perils of space and relatively affordable compared to other in the industry.

NASA's top-dog, Administrator Charles Bolden, toured DSS Tuesday morning. Taking in the impressive technology that could take his agency to new heights.

"We're going to send humans to Mars for the purpose of actually occupying it and staying there," Bolden said. "And these things (DSS's ROSA Solar Array) are going to be important."

Bolden says NASA is on pace to send humans to Mars by 2030. It's an ambitious goal but one that the space program and Deployable Space Systems believes can happen thanks to technological advancements like ROSA. 

DSS's FACT, Mega-ROSA, and SOLAROSA technologies highlighted in NASA's Tech Briefs

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
November 1, 2012

These technologies have applications in fixed and mobile large-area photovoltaic renewable energy systems.

The Flexible Array Concentrator Technology (FACT) is a lightweight, high-performance reflective concentrator blanket assembly that can be used on flexible solar array blankets. The FACT concentrator replaces every other row of solar cells on a solar array blanket, significantly reducing the cost of the array. The modular design is highly scalable for the array system designer, and exhibits compact stowage, good offpointing acceptance, and mass/cost savings. The assembly’s relatively low concentration ratio, accompanied by a large radiative area, provides for a low cell operating temperature, and eliminates many of the thermal problems inherent in high-concentration-ratio designs. Unlike other reflector technologies, the FACT concentrator modules function on both z-fold and rolled flexible solar array blankets, as well as rigid array systems.

Mega-ROSA (Mega Roll-Out Solar Array) is a new, highly modularized and extremely scalable version of ROSA that provides immense power level range capability from 100 kW to several MW in size. Mega-ROSA will enable extremely high-power spacecraft and SEP-powered missions, including spacetug and large-scale planetary science and lunar/asteroid exploration missions. Mega-ROSA’s inherent broad power scalability is achieved while retaining ROSA’s solar array performance metrics and mission-enabling features for lightweight, compact stowage volume and affordability.

This innovation will enable future ultra-high-power missions through lowcost (25 to 50% cost savings, depending on PV and blanket technology), lightweight, high specific power (>200 to 400 W/kg BOL (beginning-of-life) at the wing level depending on PV and blanket technology), compact stowage volume (>50 kW/m3 for very large arrays), high reliability, platform simplicity (low failure modes), high deployed strength/stiffness when scaled to huge sizes, and high-voltage operation capability. Mega-ROSA is adaptable to all photovoltaic and concentrator flexible blanket technologies, and can readily accommodate standard multi-junction and emerging ultra-lightweight IMM (inverted metamorphic) photovoltaic flexible blanket assemblies, as well as ENTECHs Stretched Lens Array (SLA) and DSSs (Deployable Space Systems’)FACT, which allows for cost reduction at the array level.

The SOLAROSA technology embodiment is the fusion of a mass-optimized ROSA structural system integrated to a new version of ENTECH’s lightweight SLA (Stretched Lens Array) linear refractive concentrator blanket assembly. The SOLAROSA flexible blanket concentrator solar array can be rolled or zfolded, and enables NASA’s emerging Space Science and Exploration highvoltage solar electric propulsion (SEP) missions.

This innovation is a potentially revolutionary solar array that provides gamechanging performance in terms of high specific power (>400 to 500 W/kg BOL at wing level), affordability (>50% projected cost savings at the array level), light weight, high deployed stiffness, high deployed strength, compact stowage volume (>60 to 80 kW/m3 BOL), reliability, high radiation tolerance, high-voltage operation capability, scalability, and LILT and HIHT operation capability (LILT—low intensity low temperature; HIHT—high intensity high temperature).

This work was done by Brian Spence, Steve White, Kevin Schmid, and Mark Douglas of Deployable Space Systems, Inc. for Glenn Research Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. LEW-18833/4/5-1.

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Here Comes the Sun: NASA Picks Solar Array System Development Proposals

August 10, 2012

News Release Contacts: David E. Steitz, Headquarters, Washington 202-358-1730
Chris Rink, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. 757-864-6786

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Space Technology Program has selected Deployable Space Systems (DSS) of Goleta, Calif. and ATK Space Systems Inc., of Commerce, Calif., for contract negotiation to develop advanced solar array systems. High-power solar electric propulsion, where the power is generated with advanced solar array systems, is a key capability required for extending human presence throughout the solar system.

The selected proposals offer innovative approaches to the development of next-generation, large-scale solar arrays and associated deployment mechanisms. These advanced solar arrays will drastically reduce weight and stowed volume when compared to current systems. They also will significantly improve efficiency and functionality of future systems that will produce hundreds of kilowatts of power. These advanced solar arrays could be used in future NASA human exploration and science missions, communications satellites and a majority of other future spacecraft applications.

"The technology embodied in these proposals will greatly advance the boundaries of NASA's science and exploration capabilities," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Our investment in this technology acknowledges that this technology is a priority for NASA's future missions, as reported recently by the National Research Council. Once matured through these ground tests, NASA hopes to test next generation solar array systems in space, opening the door for exploration of a near-Earth asteroid, Mars and beyond."

This solicitation involved a competitive selection process and covers two acquisition phases. Under Phase 1, Deployable Space Systems and ATK Space Systems will develop their solar array system technology during the next 18 months. With successful completion of Phase 1 the two companies, as well as other offerors who can demonstrate a comparable degree of technical maturity, will compete for a Phase 2 award to demonstrate their technologies in space. The intent of Phase 2 is to prove flight readiness through an in-space demonstration of an advanced, modular and extendable solar array system.

During Phase 1, Deployable Space Systems and ATK Space Systems also will design, analyze and test a scalable solar array system capable of generating more than 30kW of Power. In addition, the Phase 1 teams will identify the most critical technological risks of extending their concept to 250kW or greater power levels.

Phase 1 awards range between approximately $5 million and $7 million. NASA's Game Changing Development Program Office, located at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., sponsored this solicitation under Phase 1. NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland will manage the awarded contracts for the agency's Space Technology Program.

NASA's Space Technology Program is innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA's future science and exploration missions. NASA's technology investments provide cutting-edge solutions for our nation's future.  

View NASA News Release Website

NASA taps Goleta firms for contracts

Santa Barbara News-Press
August 11, 2012

By Nora K. Wallace, News-Press Staff Writer

Two Goleta aerospace companies have been awarded multi-million dollar contracts by NASA to develop advanced solar array systems. NASA's Space Technology Program on Friday announced the selection of the Goleta-based Deployable Space Systems, or DSS, and ATK Space Systems Inc. of Goleta as recipients of contracts valued between $5 million and $7 million to create the arrays. The advanced solar arrays may be used in NASA communication satellites, human exploration, science missions, and many other space-related applications, according to the space agency.  


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