Alta Devices Modular and Lightweight Gallium Arsenide Solar Cells Enable Rapid Development and Deployment of Small Satellites
LOGAN, UT – August 7, 2017 – Twiggs Space Lab, LLC (TSL), NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL) and Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) will be displaying small satellites powered by Alta Devices solar cells at this week’s 31st Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites (SmallSat) in Logan, Utah.
These space companies are at the forefront of small satellite innovation and are pioneering new models of satellites that are smaller, simpler and more affordable. Their focus is to broaden access to space for educational and commercial participants. They have chosen to use Alta Devices solar technology due to its unique modular, lightweight and high efficiency characteristics.
The founder of TSL, Bob Twiggs, states, “Our goal is to inspire future generations of engineers and scientists through innovation in the field of space. Alta Devices technology is easy to integrate, and its modular form factor is well-suited to the standardized dimensions of CubeSats. Our team is excited about the potential to innovate and rapidly prototype using this technology”
CubeSats (satellites built around a 10x10x10cm building block) were originally developed for university students to participate in space research. The standard has now been adopted worldwide and has helped to ignite a small satellite revolution. Typically placed into low-earth orbits, they often have standardized or off-the-shelf components and have facilitated more affordable and easier access to space. CubeSats are driving new industries via the explosion of big data accessible from space.
All small satellites need solar cells to generate electrical power. Until now, no commercial solar technologies could match the improvement in cost, weight and ease of use that other components of small satellite technology have achieved: solar cells are traditionally expensive, fragile, rigid, and difficult to encapsulate and robustly attach to spacecraft.
Alta Devices solar cells overcome these challenges because they are flexible, easy to encapsulate and mount, and provide high power conversion efficiencies. For example, Alta Devices cells can be mounted to low-mass deployable structures including coiled carbon fiber booms, flat-packed, polymer-based accordioned arrays, even inflatable structures, allowing creative design approaches to maximizing onboard solar power. Alta Devices cells provide a new level of mechanical and design flexibility for the small satellite industry.
Jian Ding, CEO of Alta Devices, explains, “Innovation in solar is essential to the continued evolution of small satellite technology. Our thin film GaAs solar technology uniquely meets the challenge of limited surface area; it can be wrapped around curved surfaces yet is highly robust. Our small cell size enables high packing density. We are excited to be supplying solar cells to space pioneers TSL, NSL and Virginia Space as they plan their upcoming launches.”
Alta Devices is exhibiting at the Small Satellite Conference this week at Booth #213T. On display will be Alta Devices solar technologies and TSL, NSL and VCSFA SmallSats.
About Twiggs Space Lab
Twiggs Space Lab LLC (TSL) is focused on creating STEAM based products and curriculum to stimulate, engage, and encourage students to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The company’s mission is to inspire future generations of engineers and scientists to make the world a better place through innovative research in space. Prof. Twiggs was a consulting professor at Stanford University Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics starting in 1994 where he established the Space Systems Development Laboratory. While at Stanford in 1999, he was the co-developer of the CubeSat concept. Prof. Twiggs was also the creative mind responsible for developing the original concepts for the CricketSat, CanSat, and the PocketQube for educational applications for use in space. Prof. Twiggs has published numerous papers and made dozens of presentations at technical conferences in the US and internationally.
About NearSpace Launch, Inc.
NearSpace Launch, Inc. (NSL) is a 2014 start-up based in Upland, IN. NSL was started by two Taylor University professors, Hank Voss & Jeff Dailey following the successful Mission of TSAT in spring of 2014. This mission proved the effectiveness of a Globalstar radio connection for extraterrestrial radio communication. NSL manufactures and produces custom satellites, Globalstar enabled communication systems, and high-altitude balloons for a variety of educational, commercial, and government applications. To date, NSL has a 100% mission success rate with 5 out of 5 custom satellites flying their missions, and many more radios and components excelling at their respective mission tasks. NearSpace Launch, Inc. built Nanorack’s Asgardia-1 satellite as well as University of Southern Indiana’s UNITE satellite, which will launch in fall 2017 and 2018 respectively.
About Alta Devices
Alta Devices is (EM)POWERING THE UNPLUGGED WORLD™ by delivering the world’s most efficient, thin and flexible mobile power technology. By converting light of any kind into electricity, Alta Devices AnyLight™ power technology extends the energy source of a system, and in many cases, completely cuts the traditional power cord. The solution can be completely integrated into the final system, and is ideal for use in small satellites, unmanned systems, consumer electronics, sensors, automotive, remote exploration, or anywhere size, weight, and mobility matter. Alta Devices holds world records for energy conversion efficiency and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. For more information, visit http://www.altadevices.com. Alta Devices is a Hanergy company.