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Archive for the ‘solar power’ category: Page 5

Oct 4, 2019

FIRST UP | Intuitive Machines hires SpaceX for 2021 rideshare • Maxar awards contract for Gateway arrays • OrbitFab raises $3M for propellant depots

Posted by in categories: finance, satellites, solar power, sustainability

Lunar lander developer Intuitive Machines has signed a contract with SpaceX for its first mission to the moon. The company announced this week that a Falcon 9 will launch its Nova-C lander in 2021 as part of a rideshare mission, but terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company won a contract from NASA in May to carry five payloads to the moon on that mission as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. Separately, a federal appeals court this week upheld a verdict in favor of the company in a suit against Moon Express, another commercial lunar lander company. That suit, involving work disputes between the companies, led to Intuitive Machines receiving $4.1 million in cash and stock. [SpaceNews]

Maxar Technologies awarded a contract to Deployable Space Systems to manufacture flexible solar arrays for the first element of NASA’s lunar Gateway. The contract this week is for a pair of Roll Out Solar Array solar panels, each capable of producing 32.5 kilowatts of power. The arrays will be used on the Power and Propulsion Element that Maxar is building for NASA that will serve as the foundation for the Gateway in orbit around the moon. [SpaceNews]

A startup planning propellant depots in orbit for refueling satellites has raised $3 million. OrbitFab announced Thursday it raised the seed round of funding from venture capital fund Type 1 Ventures, Techstars and others. The company is working on technology to allow for refueling of satellites using small depots in orbit, and recently tested that technology on the International Space Station. At a conference in Washington earlier in the week, the company said it was still working on raising a funding round but hopes to have its first tanker in orbit by the end of next year. [TechCrunch].

Continue reading “FIRST UP | Intuitive Machines hires SpaceX for 2021 rideshare • Maxar awards contract for Gateway arrays • OrbitFab raises $3M for propellant depots” »

Oct 2, 2019

Mars Is Heaven!

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

You probably hear a lot of news from NASA’s many amazing Mars missions: the Curiosity rover, InSight, MRO, and more. NASA is good at promoting their stuff of course, but also the images returned from all these missions are truly wonderful.

You may not hear as much from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission. Well, you may have heard about the lander Beagle 2: It set down safely on the surface, but two of the four solar panels didn’t deploy, dooming that part of that mission.

Sep 29, 2019

Hanwha Q Cells Dedicates Largest Solar Panel Factory In Western Hemisphere

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability, transportation

Hanwha Q Cells officially opened its 300,000 square foot solar panel factory in Dalton, Georgia last week, claiming it is the largest such manufacturing facility in the western hemisphere. The $200 million factory employs more than 650 workers and is capable of producing 12,000 solar panels a year — enough to generate 1.7 GW of electricity. Its standard production panel features six bus bars, has an efficiency of about 19%, and an output of up to 345 watts.

Sep 29, 2019

Unpiloted Japanese Cargo Ship Delivers Fresh Batteries and More to Space Station

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, solar power, space, sustainability, transportation

A robotic Japanese cargo ship successfully arrived at the International Space Station Saturday (Sept. 28) carrying more than 4 tons of supplies, including new batteries for the outpost’s solar power grid.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) HTV-8 cargo ship pulled up to the space station at 7:12 a.m. EDT (1112 GMT), where it was captured by a robotic arm wielded by NASA astronaut Christina Koch inside the orbiting lab. The station and HTV-8, also known as Kounotori 8 (Kounotori means “white stork” in Japanese), were soaring 262 miles (422 kilometers) over Angola in southern Africa at the time.

“What you all have done is a testament to what we can accomplish when international teams work together towards a common goal,” Koch radioed to NASA’s Mission Control in Houston and flight controllers at JAXA’s Tsukuba Space Center in Japan. “We’re honored to have Kounotori on board, and look forward to a successful and productive mission together.”

Sep 29, 2019

Stunning Image Shows Astronaut’s-Eye View of Rocket Approaching ISS

Posted by in categories: biological, solar power, space, sustainability

This week a new group of astronauts launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan headed for the International Space Station. The three new ISS crew members, Jessica Meir of NASA, Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, and Hazza Ali Almansoori of the Emirati Space Agency docked with the station several hours later, temporarily taking the population of the station to nine people. That marks the largest crew aboard the ISS since 2015, but members of previous Expedition team 60 will be returning to Earth in around a week.

While the transferring of astronauts to and from the ISS is fairly standard for space agencies these days, there was something special about this mission. Astronaut Christina Koch was looking forward to being joined by her best friend and fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, so she decided to capture an image of the incoming craft from her perspective on board the ISS. The result is the stunning photo above, showing the ghostly trails from the first stage and the cloud of vapor around the craft.

The astronauts traveled aboard a Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft, docking at the station’s Zvezda service module six hours after launch. The crew will stay aboard the ISS for at least six months and will be working on scientific projects in varied fields including biology, physical sciences, and the development of new technologies. They will also perform upgrades to the stations including installing new lithium-ion batteries which collect power from the station’s solar panels, part of an ongoing project to update the ISS’s power system.

Sep 27, 2019

Solar panels made with ink

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Forget solar roofs, these solar panels are cheap, paper-thin and made with a revolutionary conductive ink.

Sep 26, 2019

A new non-fullerene acceptor for indoor solar energy applications

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells, a third-generation solar cell technology that can convert solar energy into electricity, have been found to be more efficient than silicon cells under low light intensity indoor LED illumination. These cells have also shown great potential for powering low consumption, off-the grid electronics in indoor environments.

Despite their huge potential, the of OPV is currently limited by substantial losses in their open-circuit voltage. In addition, past studies suggest that when used for indoor illumination their is far from optimal.

In a quest to overcome these limitations, a team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China and Linköping University in Sweden have recently designed a non-fullerene acceptor for that could enable high-performance organic photovoltaic cells for indoor applications. This new acceptor, presented in a paper published in Nature Energy, can be blended with a polymer donor to obtain a photoactive layer with an absorption spectrum that matches that of indoor light sources.

Sep 25, 2019

Future Tech: Spinning a Space Station

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, engineering, robotics/AI, solar power, space, sustainability

The ultimate way of building up space structures would be to use material sourced there, rather than launched from Earth. Once processed into finished composite material, the resin holds the carbon fibres together as a solid rather than a fabric. The beams can be used to construct more complex structures, antennae, or space station trusses. Image credit: All About Space/Adrian Mann.

The International Space Station is the largest structure in space so far. It has been painstakingly assembled from 32 launches over 19 years, and still only supports six crew in a little-under-a-thousand cubic metres of pressurised space. It’s a long way from the giant rotating space stations some expected by 2001. The problem is that the rigid aluminium modules all have to be launched individually, and assembled in space. Bigelow Aerospace will significantly improve on this with their inflatable modules that can be launched as a compressed bundle; but a British company has developed a system that could transform space flight, by building structures directly in space.

Magna Parva from Leicester are a space engineering consultancy, founded in 2005 by Andy Bowyer and Miles Ashcroft. Their team have worked on a range of space hardware, from methods to keep Martian solar panels clear of dust, to ultrasonic propellant sensors, to spacecraft windows. But their latest project is capable of 3D printing complete structures in space, using a process called pultrusion. Raw carbon fibres and epoxy resin are combined in a robotic tool to create carbon composite beams of unlimited length – like a spider creating a web much larger than itself. Building structures in space has a range of compounding virtues, it is more compact than even inflatables, as only bulk fibre and resin need to be launched. Any assembled hardware that has to go through a rocket launch has to be made much stronger than needed in space to survive the launch, printed structures can be designed solely for their in space application, using less material still.

Sep 25, 2019

New standard of reference for assessing solar forecast proposed

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Being able to accurately forecast how much solar energy reaches the surface of the Earth is key to guiding decisions for running solar power plants.

While day-ahead forecasts have become more accurate in recent years, the solar community lacks a unified verification procedure, and assessing how one compares to another is difficult. New work in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy looks to provide a standard of reference to the field.

Researcher Dazhi Yang proposed an improved way to assess day-ahead solar forecasting. The proposed method combines two popular reference methods for weather forecasting, namely persistence and climatology. Using a weighted linear combination of both methods, his approach provides a new way to gauge the skill of a forecaster.

Sep 22, 2019

Solar and Wind Power So Cheap They’re Outgrowing Subsidies

Posted by in categories: government, solar power, sustainability

(Bloomberg) — For years, wind and solar power were derided as boondoggles. They were too expensive, the argument went, to build without government handouts.

Today, renewable energy is so cheap that the handouts they once needed are disappearing.

On sun-drenched fields across Spain and Italy, developers are building solar farms without subsidies or tax-breaks, betting they can profit without them. In China, the government plans to stop financially supporting new wind farms. And in the U.S., developers are signing shorter sales contracts, opting to depend on competitive markets for revenue once the agreements expire.

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