ATK selected by NASA to develop powerful satellite solar array

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ATK MEGAFLEX solar array

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ATK’s MegaFlex solar array has received a $6.4 million contract from NASA‘s Space Technology Program. The contract was awarded as part of the space agency’s “Game Changing Technology” competition. Under the contract, ATK and NASA will work together to further develop the lightweight and compact satellite solar array structure.

MegaFlex is under development by ATK’s Space Components Division in Goleta, California. ATK says it is designed specifically to meet the anticipated power demands of 350kW and higher — with very low mass and small stowed volume for future space exploration missions using solar electric propulsion.

“We are honored to win this program to develop the future space exploration power platform for NASA,” said David Shanahan, vice president and general manager of ATK Aerospace Group’s Space Components Division. “This win is a result of the outstanding innovation and capabilities of our Goleta team.”

NASA’s 18-month Phase 1 technology development program will increase the solar array size to twice that of the MPCV UltraFlex (approximately 40 feet in diameter). The program will also raise the technical readiness level of the MegaFlex design through hardware development and verification testing.

ATK plans to further develop a flight-ready version of MegaFlex in preparation for a future space flight demonstration during the follow-on Phase 2 Technology Development contract.

The MegaFlex solar array is based on ATK’s spaceflight-proven UltraFlex solar array family of platforms. These platforms powered NASA’s Mars Phoenix Lander in 2008, and is in series production of 10 wings for Orbital’s Commercial Resupply Services spacecraft. It is also baselined on NASA’s recently announced Insight Discovery Mission to Mars awarded to Lockheed Martin.

The company says that its exceptional performance of smaller (6-foot diameter) solar arrays used to power the Phoenix Lander contributed to the Phoenix mission being extended three times.

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally.

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