According to a NASA press release, Administrator Charles Bolden will be in California to visit Deployable Space Systems (DSS), in Goleta. He’ll be touring the factory with DSS’s president Brian Spence, looking at the company’s roll out solar array (ROSA) development.
ROSA is a dramatic new concept for capturing sunlight to generate electricity for space vehicles. It is composed of sheets of flexible silicone-based material, which is easier to store and deploy than traditional fixed-panel solar arrays. The sheets are attached to booms, which are stored inside the launch vehicle.
Instead of using a motor to open and deploy traditional solar panels, the booms automatically extend and deploy as the spacecraft enters orbit. The booms become part of the solar array, creating a rigid, reliable structure.
The goal is to develop a solar array system that is light enough to easily get into space, but is powerful enough to provide electricity for manned spacecraft as they begin the deeper exploration of the solar system.
DSS and another Goleta company, ATK Space Systems, were selected to develop the ROSA, which NASA called the "electric propulsion system of the future", in November of 2012. Each was given 18 months to develop a workable system.
Bolden will be in Goleta on Tuesday, July 1, to tour the DSS facility. After the tour, he will make comments about manned spaceflight and will answer questions.
For more information about Administrator Bolden’s tour, visit http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/june/nasa-administrator-and-media-to-see-dss-solar-array-progress-in-goleta-calif.
For more information about Deployable Space Systems, visit http://www.deployablespacesystems.com/.