Rocket Lab Presents a Space Solar Cell Based on SolAero’s technology5th May 2022
Rocket Lab has recently presented its new development — a space-grade solar cell based on the technology designed by another company, Solaero. The rocket maker acquired the space solar cell manufacturing company in December 2021, and four months later, Rocket Lab had already finalised the technology that would now serve both civil and military space niches.
About Rocket Lab’s New Solar Cell
According to Rocket Lab, the technology named IMM-β ensures higher efficiency and can be mass-manufactured more easily than IMM-α, which is widely spread and produced right now. The inverted metamorphic multi-junction cell introduced by Solaero was developed by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) scientists and is based on InGaP and GaAs.
New Rocket Lab solar cells will be designed to withstand high radiation levels and should become available for commercial use later in 2022. Right now, the company is taking the technology through a series of final tests.
Company Officials on the New Development
Solaero CEO Brad Clevenger states that their team’s collaboration with the US Air Force scientists and researchers has resulted in the creation of the most effective and lightweight solar cell. More importantly, it can be commercially produced, which most satellite operators should make use of.
Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO, shares Clevenger’s enthusiasm, specifically praising SolAero’s unique experience in solar cell innovation. He adds that the company has been leading the niche for over 20 years and mentioned that SolAero has already played an important part in powering hundreds of satellites and supporting interplanetary missions.
Beck believes that Rocket Lab and SolAero while working together and making full use of each other’s resources and technical expertise, can accommodate the ever-growing demands of today’s space market.