- NASA is testing for the first time the effectiveness of a flexible solar array on space station that could one day power satellites and spacecraft.
- The Roll-Out Solar Array, or ROSA, an advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure “can be easily adapted to different sizes, including very large arrays, to provide power for a variety of future spacecraft.
- It also has the potential to make solar arrays more compact and lighter weight for satellite radio and television, weather forecasting, GPS and other services used on the Earth.
- In addition, the technology conceivably could be adapted to provide solar power in remote locations.
- NASA tested the ROSA technology in vacuum chambers on the Earth several years ago, but this is its first test in space.
- Smaller and lighter than traditional solar panels, ROSA consists of a centre wing made of a flexible material containing photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity.
- The technology of the booms has additional potential applications, such as for communications and radar antennas and other instruments, NASA said.
- The ROSA investigation looks at how well this new type of solar panels deploys in the microgravity and extreme temperatures of space.