Summary

The need for high power solar arrays stems from the advent of the NewSpace revolution, where hundreds and thousands of shoebox-sized satellites can be launched relatively cheaply. To achieve their mission, they often need large deployable solar array structures in space to allow for high performance applications which demand power, like communication constellations, nanosats with electric propulsion and many more.

The PowerCube project aims to address this need by delivering a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS), scalable, deployable solar array for nanosatellites, storable in less than a 1U CubeSat unit, and capable of generating 100W at EOL (End of Life). The PowerCube development entails the design, manufacturing and testing, towards a protoflight model that will be flown in space onboard a NASA ELaNa mission with CalPoly.

The project is being carried out under an ESA ARTES AT contract, with DcubeD as prime (project management, subsystem development, assembly, testing), in close partnership with the companies German Orbital Systems GmbH (market overview, reference mission requirements, testing) and AZUR Space GmbH (solar cell development), as well as academic partner Technische Hochschule Deggendorf (materials and structures R&D). The PowerCube team is currently searching for applications and pilot customers for the development of these COTS NewSpace solar arrays.

The key specifications of the PowerCube system are:

  • Redundant actuation
  • Compliant with the CubeSat standard (CP-CDS-R14)
  • Compatible with standard CubeSat dispensers

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Last updated: 2021-10-21

PowerCube - 100W 1U NanoSat Solar Array

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Specs

volume
1U form factor (< 1000 cm^3)
end-of-life power1
100 W
bus voltage
14.7 to 24 V
in-orbit liftime (deployed)
> 5 yr

1. scalable to higher and lower power levels

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