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Russian hi-tech firm creates unique lightweight space solar panel


The Obninsk-based Technologiya Research and Production Enterprise of RT Chemcomposite Group (part of the state hi-tech corporation Rostec) has developed a carbon fiber load-carrying panel for the newest solar module of a promising spacecraft, Rostec said on Thursday.

"Thanks to the use of composite materials, the panel is the lightest in the world by its weight while its high firmness ensures the protection of the modules photocells from cosmic particles, radiation and space debris. The carbon fiber panel, into which solar batteries will be installed, is considerably lighter than its analogs, which makes it 30% more efficient in the use and several times cheaper than the existing variants," the high-tech corporation said in a statement.

The assembled panels weight measured 1.5 kg per square meter, making it the lightest in the world by this indicator. The panel successfully passed autonomous testing and is currently involved in several comprehensive tests, the statement says.

"An items ergonomic efficiency and weight play a key role for space hardware. Each additional weight kilogram reduces the efficiency and the time of operation of space vehicles. Our developers have been able to create a light and simultaneously very firm structure by using unique composite materials," Rostec Executive Director Oleg Yevtushenko was quoted by the corporations press office as saying.

The panel made of composite materials has been developed by the Technologiya Research and Production Enterprise in partnership with TAIS R&D Enterprise. In turn, special solar elements have been developed jointly by Hevel Group and TAIS.

Technologiya Research and Production Enterprise is a leading innovation company in the development and production of composite materials and a leader in Russia by the volume of producing articles made of composites. The Enterprise accounts for a third of the Russian market of composite materials and is among the worlds top five leading enterprises in this industry.

The volume of R&D and experimental design work and the deliveries of serial-produced items made of polymer composite materials annually grows by no less than 20% and makes up about 20 tonnes of carbon fiber products a year. The larger part of products made of polymer composite materials are manufactured for the aerospace industry.

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