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Thermal Cycling Under Illumination on Space Solar Array Coupons
E. Fern├índez Lisbona, B. Lehmann, G. Varewijck, K. Burrows, E. Ferrando, L. Vallini
Qualification and Testing, Space Solar Cell, Thermal Performance
Advanced Photovoltaics
Subtopic: Solar Cells, Modules and PV Systems for Space Applications
Event: 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, 21-25 September 2009, Hamburg, Germany
Session: 1DV.5.4
691 - 694
ISBN: 3-936338-25-6
Paper DOI: 10.4229/24thEUPVSEC2009-1DV.5.4
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper


Thermal cycling is performed on space solar panel samples to verify the robustness of the design and components against the mission thermal environment; in particular, this test can detect potential weakness due to the thermal fatigue and it is also suitable to discover workmanship defects. Concerning the Silicon cell technology, the ground test activity and the flight heritage demonstrated the electrical and mechanical integrity of this type of solar cell under the standard space mission thermal environment. Also for the multi-junction solar cell technologies, the test activity and the flight heritage (even if still limited compared to the Silicon one) give very promising results; however, due to complexity of this device, a test-as-you- fly- approach can be followed to verify the behavior of these cells under a combined LEO thermal environment and power stress environment (i.e. during thermal cycling the cells are illuminated and loaded in the hot part of the cycle). The main objective of this activity was to develop a facility at ESTEC able to perform thermal vacuum cycling on illuminated (during the hot part of the cycle) and loaded solar strings together with dark forward biased strings; furthermore, the activity aimed at verifying the correlation of the behavior of the solar cells submitted to the two different electrical stress conditions. The test samples are integrated with standard triple junction solar cells and submitted to a standard LEO thermal cycling environment. After 5000 cycles no variation of the solar array string performances has been recorded.