Lockheed Martin develops new solar array for LM 2100 satellite platform


Lockheed Martin has finished developing the first flight build of its new multi-mission modular (MM) solar array, which has been designed for the LM 2100 satellite bus platform.

The reconfigurable solution is capable of delivering 50% more power and is 30% lighter than the previous rigid array designs developed by the company.

It also features higher power levels than older models and is fitted with thin, flexible sheets for reduced weight and mass, which also give the system compact stowage capabilities.

The MM Array's synthetic polymer material is 0.002in thick, while typical rigid panels are available at a thickness of 0.75in to 1.5in.

The array is also capable of reducing costs and offering easy configuration changes for different mission applications.

It is expected to be first used to develop Lockheed Martin’s LM 2100 series of satellites, but will be easily adaptable to build other types of spacecraft in future.

Additionally, the MM Array includes improved solar cell and component technologies, and can carry out better manufacturing and testing by using robotics and other advanced manufacturing techniques.

"These arrays are rugged and reliable at a fraction of the weight and stowed size, which lets customers pack more payload capability into the satellite."

Lockheed Martin Space Systems manufacturing director Wahid Azizpor said: “The new arrays can generate 20kW of energy in orbit, enough to power an entire home. 

“These new arrays deliver enough energy for even the most advanced communications or remote sensing payloads.

“Built on an innovative flexible material, these arrays are rugged and reliable at a fraction of the weight and stowed size, which lets customers pack more payload capability into the satellite.”

The MM Array has also advanced Lockheed Martin’s ability to fly flexible arrays on various programmes, including the International Space Station and a constellation for the US Air Force.


Image: The first Multi-mission Modular Solar Array unfurls at Lockheed Martin’s site in Sunnyvale, California, US. Photo: courtesy of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.