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SpaceX Dragon delivers solar arrays to the International Space Station



The unscrewed cargo ship SpaceX Dragon CRS-22 launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on June 3 and arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) two days later. It carried, among many other things, two new solar arrays that would power the ISS.

Jacksonville-based Redwire Space is a manufacturer of aerospace technology and a technology company for space infrastructure. Redwire has contracted with Boeing, NASA’s chief contractor for space station operations, to provide six solar rows to the International Space Station (iROSA).

The dragon delivered two of six iROSAs during this trip. They were rolled up and stored in a compact cylinder (pictured above). The remaining four solar rows will arrive on the International Space Station by 2023.

Redwire is responsible for the design, analysis, production, testing and delivery of iROSA. Each iROSA uses upgraded solar cells from Boeing̵

7;s Spectrolab and provides 28 kilowatts of power. The six arrays together will produce over 120 kilowatts, which will increase the station’s electricity production by 20-30%. ROSA technology was successfully demonstrated on the ISS in June 2017. Here is a good look at Redwire’s ISS solar grid technology in this video:

Redwire explains how it works:

ROSA’s patented design uses composite booms to serve as both primary structural elements and a drive mechanism, along with a modular photovoltaic blanket kit that can be configured in a variety of solar array architectures. Instead of using complex mechanisms and engines for deployment, ROSA uses stored energy from carbon fiber arrows that are cut and returned to their natural form of storage. At a certain point during the mission, the stored deformed energy of the arrows requires the deployment to be triggered. When fully deployed, hard booms now provide structural rigidity and strength to the sun’s grids.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbro said[via[via[чрез[viaSpace.com]:

We look forward to all the scientific and other extras that she brought up along with our EVA solar grilles. It’s going to be a great few weeks as we walk into the Dragon and get things out.

The astronauts will install the two iROSAs on space travel on June 16 and 20.

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