Satellite 2016: Space Systems/Loral will offer a solar array providing up to 300kW of power

by | Mar 9, 2016 | exploration, Satellites, Technology | 0 comments

Speaking towards the end of the satellite manufacturers’ forum at Satellite 2016 in Washington D.C. in March, Paul Estey, VP Engineering, Manufacturing and Test Operations at California-based but Canadian-owned Space Systems/Loral, casually mentioned that the company will be offering a new very high power solar array. The solar array is in qualification and should be available to the market within months, has been developed with their solar cell supplier SolAero Technologies Corp.

At launch the array is coiled up like a giant tape measure. On deployment it uncoils using two carbon fibre booms, with each mini panel arranged across like ladder rungs. The units on test are of the order of 8m long, but lengths of well over 10m are possible. Theoretically very high power arrays can be made available of up to 300kW (more than 10 times the power of today’s highest power comsats).

Such high power outputs were originally developed to be directly applicable for the electric propulsion of NASA unmanned and eventually manned long range space missions. The assumption is also that such high power arrays, coupled with high power electric orbit raising thrusters, could dramatically cut the GEO orbit raising time for commercial satellites.

Current generation all electric orbit-raised spacecraft take about six months to reach their stabilised GEO slot – a major disadvantage given that time off-station is revenue lost. Even without this new Space Systems/Loral development, most of the major satellite manufacturers agree that over 75 per cent of GEO satellites built in 2020 will be all electric.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

Orbital ATK’s legal action against DARPA over servicing help to competitors fails in court (Peter de Selding) reports that the Orbital ATK legal attempt to force the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Read more

SSL to build WorldView Legion imaging satellite constellation

In a not unexpected move, given that both firms concerned will share a common owner (Canada's MacDonald Detwiller and Associates Ltd Read more

MDA Corp needs and gets a yankee at the top

After 20 years service and having greatly improved and expanded it, Daniel Friedmann is stepping down as CEO of MDA Read more

Skybox Imaging orders six satellites from SSL (Space Systems/Loral) and then rebrands as Terra Bella

Having ordered six spacecraft from SSL (Space Systems/Loral) in January, the Google owned satellite imaging firm, Skybox Imaging, has rebranded itself as Read more

TELKOM-4 is ordered from Space Systems/Loral

PT Telkom Indonesia, the largest telecommunication firm in Indonesia, has ordered a new communications satellite from the Canadian-owned, US-based manufacturer, Space Read more

Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 construction order goes to Space Systems/Loral…as Ariane 5 gets launch (Updated)

During October 2015, Azercosmos, the state-owned satellite operator of Azerbaijan, ordered the construction of its new communications satellite, Azerspace-2, from the Read more

BSAT-4a construction order goes to Space Systems/Loral

The US-based spacecraft manufacturer Space Systems/Loral has been awarded a construction order to build the direct broadcasting communications satellite BSAT-4a Read more

Space Systems/Loral signs contract to build new comsat for unidentified customer

The US-based spacecraft manufacturer, Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of the Canadian firm MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd (MDA) has been awarded Read more