A Solar System to Help Explore Our Solar System

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NASA’s Glenn Research Center reaches a major milestone in testing an advanced solar array that will enable NASA’s asteroid initiative, journeys to Mars, and more. NASA officials will visit the research center’s Plum Brook Station on Wednesday, March 12, to see the system being tested there.

We have plenty of solar power needs here on earth: homes, businesses, schools, municipalities, hospitals, and others are turning to solar for clean energy and cost savings.

Some say the sky’s the limit to where we can go with solar. But NASA isn’t stopping there. The agency’s Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station is working on reaching farther. The kind of advanced solar array and solar electric propulsion systems it’s now testing will enable NASA’s asteroid initiative, journeys to Mars, and more.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Associate Administrator for Space Technology Michael Gazarik will visit the Plum Brook Station on Wednesday, March 12, to see the system being tested there.

 

Bolden, Gazarik, Glenn Director Jim Free, and executives of ATK, the California company that built the array, will tour the Plum Brook test facility and hear the latest about the projects the system will enable. Members of the local Ohio Congressional delegation also have been invited to the tour.

 

It’s a case of one solar system enabling exploration of another. The ATK array is a new kind solar electric power system that will generate the high power needed for extending human presence throughout the Earth’s solar system.

 

NASA selected ATK and Deployable Space Systems (DSS), both of Goleta, California, in 2012 to develop advanced solar systems that would support advanced solar electric propulsion. DSS expects to test its system later this year. After testing, both companies may compete for NASA funding to test their arrays in the harsh environment of space.