High-performance, customizable deployable space power systems for every mission.
Custom Space Power Solutions
Arachne Deployable Subsystem
In collaboration with Northrop Grumman and AFRL, MMA designed, developed and delivered a Deployable Subsystem which is the structural backbone of AFRL’s Arachne flight experiment. This exciting program will convert solar to RF energy, and has a planned launch in 2025.
Solar energy will be collected by Arachne using high-efficiency solar photovoltaic cells, then converted to RF energy using the revolutionary sandwich tile, and beamed to a receiving station on the ground. The energy is then collected by a rectifying antenna or “rectenna” that will rectify and convert the RF into usable power for use by U.S. warfighters or other end users. These sandwich tiles are a game changer since the ability to collect, convert, and beam the energy to the ground is contained in one component.
Lunar Outpost Rover
In collaboration with Lunar Outpost, MMA created custom solar array wings for the M1 Mobile Autonomous Prospecting Platform (MAPP) Moon Rover. Powered by MMA’s custom solar arrays, and equipped with Nokia’s LTE/4G user equipment and deployable antennas, the Lunar Outpost Rover will study the capabilities of Nokia’s lunar LTE/4G communications system.
This deployable solar array subsystem consists of two (2) deployable solar array panels and one (1) center mount panel. Each deployable panel rotates 180 degrees at hinges mounted on the 2U edge of the spacecraft. The panels are populated with (2) strings of 7 cells. Hinge mechanisms are torsion-spring activated and contain dual-sliding surfaces plus redundant springs.
Solar array hold-down and panel release is accomplished through the use of a Frangibolt® assembly which restrains the panel during launch, however when activated, releases the panel upon command. This assembly consists of a #4 Frangibolt® with custom fastener and housing specific to this design. The housing is a fully-integrated assembly that enables the Frangibolt® to be completely removed from the spacecraft, reset and replaced without disassembly of any main spacecraft components. Upon release of the panel using this mechanism, all severed components (bolt head, remaining bolt) remain with the spacecraft through the use of a containment system.
A center-mounted solar array panel is populated and provided as part of the deployable system. The center panel is fabricated with either an aluminum or composite substrate and bonded using compliant silicone adhesive. Additionally, fasteners may be added to provide a secure mounting method.
ASTERIA Mission Solar Array
Custom eHaWK 27L-50B
MMA Design’s innovative approach to this solar array design offers lower system mass and reduces overall system technical risk. Our patent-pending thin-panel design is an efficient solar array structure that will achieve a specific power greater than 85 Watts/kilogram (W/kg). The array provides outward facing cells when stowed so that power can be generated before array deployment.
Higher performance can be achieved at overall lower system cost and significantly lower technical risk with our composite thin panel technology. The stowed panels will fit on the 3U x 2U face of the spacecraft and contain strung CIC’s on both sides of the panels.
The single stowed thin panel of each wing will be launch restrained by an aluminum release bar and a centrally located flight qualified thermal knife similar to our current HaWK and eHaWK solar arrays. A single thermal knife is required for each of the two stowed wings. The launch restraint structure will incorporate features to support the preloaded solar array panel under launch loads. This design gained flight heritage in November 2017 on the ASTERIA mission, which won SmallSat Mission of the Year in 2018.
ASTERIA satellite is inspected at JPL.
DoD eHaWK Solar Arrays
These DoD mission eHaWK solar arrays provided three small satellites with reliable and efficient power, enabling extended mission capability, increased payload capability, and enhanced operational flexibility in space. Even larger and more capable than our largest CubeSat solar array to date, LunaH-map, the peak power for these arrays (as a pair of wings) is 216W with a mass of 2.3 kg (108W, 1.15kg per wing) for a specific power of 94 W/kg. The packing factor (which is the total cell area on a panel / available panel area) is 90%, also making it some of the more efficient arrays we have have built to date. MMA delivered six wings for this DoD mission, they launched in 2021 and are performing as expected.
MMA team does a final quality inspection on the DoD eHaWKS before delivery.
High Watts per Kilogram "HaWK" Solar Arrays
Our innovative HaWK solar array is a high-performance, 42-Watt solar array system for the CubeSat class spacecraft. The system consists of two array wings (center panel with 2 flip-out panels per wing), launch restraint mechanism and single-axis pancake solar array drive assembly (SADA) for improved orbital average power (OAP). The HaWK array wings are designed to interface in both a gimbal or a non-gimbaled configuration without interface/configuration changes. The complete array system is stowed for launch and released after power is applied to a melt rod release mechanism. Deployment of the flip-out panels and wings is accomplished using stored energy provided by springs. If the mission requires, the sun-tracking single-axis SADA is used to track the sun’s position and provide maximum orbital average power (OAP). The HaWK solar array was developed under Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) funding.
In 2017, the HaWK achieved flight heritage, and a similar version of HaWK is flying on the interplanetary mission, MarCO.
Our standard HaWK wings mount on two of the 1U x 3U faces of the 6U spacecraft. Both wings have a total of 42 cells and provide 42W BOL (based on LEO at 60℃). The HaWK wings are gimbaled on a common, single axis of rotation using our 1U x 1U HaWK gimbal which fits on the 1U x 2U face, 6.5mm volume. We also offer a stretched version of our HaWK gimbal which is a 1U x 2U gimbal and has incorporated the blocking diodes into the system. Both gimbals, drive two wings on a common axis and can support 7 circuits from each wing across the hingeline.
This solar array configuration consists of two, three-panel solar arrays, each covered with 21 triple-junction GaAs solar cells to generate an estimated 36Watts of electrical power at the distance of Earth (and half of that at Mars). Each solar-array wing features a root hinge which enables deployment about two perpendicular axes.
These arrays successfully powered NASA JPL’s Mars Cube One (MarCO) mission, and surpassed estimated peak power targets on orbit. MarCO’s twin CubeSats made history as the smallest satellites ever — and MMA’s first ever HaWKs — sent past the moon on an interplanetary mission! MarCO won SmallSat Mission of the Year in 2019.
This HaWK configuration provides wings that are gimbaled on a common single axis of rotation using a modification of our HaWK Solar Array Drive Assembly (SADA) to span across the 1U x 2U face. An additional tip panel on each wing is incorporated, and both wings have a total of 56 cells (28 cells, 4x 7-cell strings per wing) and provide approximately 56W BOL (based on LEO at 60℃).
This solar array leverages our TRL-8 eHaWK and TRL-9 HaWK solar array designs. The root hinges and panels are modified to accommodate specific packaging and mission needs for achieving low stowed height (<4.5mm) and more power.
The mission shown here combines 27A-42R with 17AS42, for a combined 84W of peak power. The 17AS42 configuration is actuated by our solar array drive assembly (SADA).
The eHaWK is optimized for a 6U CubeSat configuration and features twice the deployable area, doubling the peak power of our traditional HaWK solar array. It consists of innovative launch restraint systems with a modular, deployable, solar array that can be combined with a single-axis, dual-wing, sun-tracking gimbal assembly. Additionally, the eHaWK array is highly scalable up to 500 Watts. With the eHaWK, MMA has significantly advanced the state-of-the-art in NanoSat power systems. The first eHaWK solar array was flight demonstrated in 2019.
This solar array leverages our first eHaWK (ungimbaled) configuration and adds another deployed panel to each wing as pictured. The eHaWK architecture uses MMA’s patented panel-morphing technology to achieve high W/kg performance and high deployed stiffness. An additional panel has been designed and incorporated into the current eHaWK modular architecture to support the ever higher power requirements of space missions. A yoke was designed and developed to connect each wing to the gimbal interface. The launch restraint, root hinges, panels, and panel-to-panel hinges accommodate an additional stowed/deployed panel configuration (4 panels per wing).
Based on the innovative HaWK™ solar array series, the zHaWK consists of two 3-panel trifold array wings each mounted on opposite 1U x 3U faces. Deployment of the flip-out panels and wings is accomplished using stored energy provided by springs. The deployment is a low energy event and does not require any damping. Once deployed, the array wings are in position for power development. If the mission requires, a sun-tracking single-axis SADA can be used to track the sun’s position and provide maximum average orbital power.
MMA’s innovative solar array architecture for rHaWK addresses the need for high kW/m³ and W/kg and includes long life, high reliability, significantly lower mass and volume, higher mass specific power, and improved efficiency over the state of practice for components and systems. At beginning of life (BOL), the MMA Rectangular High Watts per Kilogram (rHaWK) produces 90+ kW/m³ and 150+ W/kg at 28°C. The same configuration of the array using 29.5% ZTJ cells produces 80 kW/m³ and 130 W/kg BOL. The rHaWK leverages scaled, proven TRL-7/8 solar array technologies that have been in development under multiple prior Air Force and NASA SBIRs. rHaWK’s peak power estimates can scale up to 20kW or even higher with modified configurations.
Our latest HaWK designs are optimized for cannister-deployed CubeSats. They maximize the power density on a solar array that fits on all four walls of a 12U/16U, or on opposite faces of a 6U/8U CubeSat. Coupled with proprietary solar cell sizes, this design enables you to accomplish approximately 50%MORE power for your mission than our classic HaWKs.
The CubeSat Solar Array Drive Assembly (SADA) can facilitate higher average orbital power and enable peak power tracking for MMA’s suite of CubeSat solar arrays. It features +/-180-degrees of actuation, up to 16 signal/power feed-through conductors per wing, and actuation speeds up to 0.188 revolutions per minute. The two variants — 6.5mm thick and 9mm thick — accommodate 3U, 6U, and even 12U CubeSat form factors.
These gimbals are only available on MMA Solar Arrays.
1U X 1U: supports up to 60W
1U X 1U: supports up to 120W
1U X 2U: supports up to 60W
1U x 2U: supports up to 120W
Download MORE information about our Solar Arrays
Delivering MORE Power
When it comes to delivering space power for missions, MMA’s High-Watts per Kilogram “HaWK” crushes the competition. Our high performance, deployable, semi-rigid-panel solar arrays lead the industry in delivering kilowatts per cubic meter for CubeSats as well as larger platforms. The broad range of existing configurations offers a glimpse into the creative problem solving already applied to unique and challenging mission requirements.
Like everything we do, our customers come to us because they need a complete and custom solution that is robust and reliable, so the only thing left to ponder is…