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Printed flexible solar cells launched into space

A printed flexible solar cell technology developed by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, was launched into space aboard the country’s largest private satellite, Optimus-1, on Space X’s Transporter-10 mission. 

According to CSIRO’s space program director Kimberley Clayfield, a major challenge in the development of spacecraft is low-mass, high-efficiency power systems.  

“CSIRO’s printed flexible solar cells could provide a reliable, lightweight energy solution for future space operations and exploration,” Clayfield said in a media statement. “If the space flight test reveals similar performance as we’ve shown in the lab, this technology offers significant advantages over traditional silicon-based solar.”

Eight mini-modules of printed flexible solar cells were attached to the surface of Space Machine Company’s Optimus-1 satellite.

“CSIRO researchers have been working for many years to improve our solar cell performance using perovskite – an advanced material that is highly efficient in converting sunlight into energy,” CSIRO renewable energy systems group leader, Anthony Chesman, said. “Our perovskite cells have been achieving incredible outcomes on earth and we’re excited that they’ll soon be showcasing their potential in space.”

Chesman noted that in situ testing would secure information on the performance of the perovskite cells as they orbit the planet. 

“We will get information on how the panels are holding up under the extreme conditions in space and data on the efficiency they achieve,” he said. “Based on our research, we expect our printed flexible solar cells will stand up to the effects of cosmic electron and gamma radiation which can compromise the performance and integrity of traditional solar cells.”

The researcher pointed out that the team is confident these cells will outperform traditional cells in cases where sunlight hits them at non-optimal angles.  

“The feedback we receive from the satellite will provide valuable insights into the practical application of our technology and inform future technology development,” Chesman said. “This is a great opportunity for Australian technology to contribute to global space exploration. We are eager to collaborate with potential partners to explore this further.”

Source: MINING.COM – Read More