A Look at NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Plans

Last month NASA officials gave a series of presentations about the space agency’s deep-space exploration plans to the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Committee. I have excerpted slides from those presentations to provide an overview of what the space agency is planning.

Here Comes the Sun: NASA Picks Solar Array System Development Proposals

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Program has selected Deployable Space Systems (DSS) of Goleta, Calif. and ATK Space Systems Inc., of Commerce, Calif., for contract negotiation to develop advanced solar array systems. High-power solar electric propulsion, where the power is generated with advanced solar array systems, is a key capability required for extending human presence throughout the solar system.

The selected proposals offer innovative approaches to the development of next-generation, large-scale solar arrays and associated deployment mechanisms. These advanced solar arrays will drastically reduce weight and stowed volume when compared to current systems. They also will significantly improve efficiency and functionality of future systems that will produce hundreds of kilowatts of power. These advanced solar arrays could be used in future NASA human exploration and science missions, communications satellites and a majority of other future spacecraft applications.