OmniFlex - Modular Power for Mars Surface Missions, Phase I

Metadata Updated: February 28, 2019

NASA has a need to deploy an aggregate PV area of 2500 m2 on Mars - a very large area comparable to more than 60 of the largest wings ever deployed in GEO. Heritage large space (0-g) deployables are not applicable on Mars, as they require offloaders. If smaller deployables were used, the number of deployables and mechanisms grows exponentially, as does cost, and mass when sized for 0.4-g and aeolian loads.

A robot-erected, power farm from modular components is much more practical, and can have greater performance than any 0-g solar array. The proposed innovation, OmniFlex, a solar array without any deployment mechanism, can be thought of as a pre-deployed UltraFlex that has been perfectly optimized for large area landed PV farm installations.

OmniFlex panels are very simple and low cost: Each is a pre-built hexagonal platform composed of a thin composite ribs emanating from a central hub, to which is bonded ultra-light flexible blankets composed of high efficiency PV bonded to a gossamer fabric scrim. The rib design allow stacking at a low (3.3-mm) pitch, enabling 190 panels to stack for launch at only 0.65 m high.

OmniFlex is like Ikea for planetary power: Compactly shipped, easily erected, and cost effective. And yet performance is extraordinary, even with respect to the challenging subtopic goals. The technology is extremely light (>300 W/kg) and stacks hyper-efficiently (>100 kW/m3) for transport to Mars. The deployment of the power field will be by pick and place robotics, using modular OmniFlex units. The proposal details and demonstrates the practicality and performance of this approach for construction of a huge array farm on Mars (or the moon, or in-space). Individual units can be re-purposed on rovers, habitats, comm stations, etc.

And with viable in-space assembly tech emerging, the potential for OmniFlex panels to be tiled onto robotically-assembled MW-scale truss structures looks extremely promising as an adjunct application.

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: U.S. Government Work

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Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019

Metadata Source

Harvested from NASA Data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_93682
Maintainer Email
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
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Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2017-12-01
Homepage URL
Data Last Modified 2018-07-19
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 8801291d703ed32ecb6a3470571bfabffa92d7e6
Source Schema Version 1.1

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