Space power systems
Mitchell, Jeffrey C. Spaceport Graduate Center, Florida Institute of Technology, Satellite Beach, Florida.
Last reviewed:June 2020
- Solar cells
- Solar arrays
- Fuel cells
- Solar dynamic systems
- Nuclear power systems
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Onboard assemblages of equipment to generate, store, and distribute electrical energy on satellites and spacecraft. A reliable source of electrical power is required for supplying energy to the spacecraft and its payloads during launch and through several years of operational lifetime in a space environment. Present-generation spacecraft fly power systems from tens of watts to several kilowatts. Each of the three fuel cells on the space shuttle delivered 10 kW maximum continuous power, which could be increased to 12 kW continuously in an emergency in which one or more fuel cells failed, and to 16 kW peak power for 10 min. The four solar arrays of the International Space Station generate 124 kW total power, with approximately 46 kW available for research activities. See also: Satellite (spacecraft); Space flight; Space probe; Space shuttle; Space station
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