LOGAN, Utah -- Alta Devices is scaling up solar production to meet growing demand for small satellites (SmallSats). Tens of thousands of low-earth orbiting (LEO) SmallSats are expected to be launched over the next decade. They will all rely on the sun for power. Alta Devices solar material has the potential to meet the specific needs of this SmallSat boom.
Solar is the single most expensive hardware component in a small satellite. Alta Devices has developed proprietary equipment to mass produce its thin film gallium arsenide. This equipment is being scaled up to produce at much higher volumes and lower cost than other space solar manufacturers. Alta's ability to produce at this scale is unique and can substantially lower the cost of each SmallSat.
Furthermore, Alta Devices flexible solar cells provide a new level of mechanical and design flexibility for the satellite industry. Alta’s technology can be mounted to thin, flexible, low-mass deployable structures allowing creative design approaches to maximizing the solar array. These include coiled carbon fiber booms, flat-packed, polymer-based accordioned arrays, or even inflatable structures. This allows more compact design of the high-power solar arrays required to power high-speed LEO communication satellites.
Finally, traditional photovoltaic assemblies (PVAs) are composed of hundreds or thousands of small solar cells, each protected with a tile of glass, connected to each other through individual metallic welds, which are then carefully grouted to prevent electrical arcing and attack from the space environment. In contrast, Alta’s space product will consist of flexible, glass-free units that are 10 to 100 times larger, thus eliminating breakage, lowering cost and having no exposed electrical interconnects. Alta’s space product will enable bonding to customer substrates using a large-area, high-volume vacuum bonding process, as opposed to mounting individual cells or CICs (Coverglass Interconnected Cells).
Overall, Alta’s goal is to provide LEO satellite manufacturers with a better balance of solar conversion efficiency, reduced array weight, cell durability, speed of deployment, and cost compared with conventional space solar cells.
The small satellite market for LEO constellations
According to filings disclosed by the Federal Communications Commission, over 15,000 LEO SmallSats are planned for deployment soon. The applications of these satellites include communications, scientific research, military intelligence, remote sensing, and new technology development.
Over the coming years, Alta Devices plans to produce tens of megawatts of solar. Manufacturing will take place at Alta Devices corporate facility in Sunnyvale, California and at an international manufacturing facility. In April this year, Alta Devices solar was used on a successful mission to power over 60 ThinSats launched from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Alta Devices is working with top satellite manufacturers for the deployment of its technology on several upcoming launches.
Said Alta Devices CEO Jian Ding: “Now we are established in the HALE UAV/HAPS market, we are committed to enabling LEO satellite projects with our unique technology. We believe our solution will meet the needs of this fast-growing market.”
It would cost about $70 billion over 10 years to bring all-fiber fixed-access broadband to rural and small-town America, writes Fiber Broadband Association President and CEO Lisa Youngers in this month's exclusive BBWN column. The ROI? Priceless.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.
The cable industry took a major step in the battle for Gigabit broadband supremacy with the announcement of its 10G Platform vision. The key to realizing this vision hinges on leveraging the right access technologies and network architectures to provide the best balance of benefit versus cost.
One network path has the MSO embracing Next-Generation Hybrid Fiber Coax (NG HFC), which includes:
Distributed Access Architecture (DAA)
Full Duplex DOCSIS (FDX)
Virtual Cable Converged Access Platforms (vCCAP)
Fiber-to-the-Home/Business (FTTH/B) is another network option, affording gigabit broadband scalability and 10Gbps service capability. How is an MSO to decide where which option works best and what to do now to prepare its networks for the onslaught of high-bandwidth residential and business applications?
During this webinar, Jack Burton, principal of Broadband Success Partners, outlines current and new access network architectures. Additionally, he will examine the facts and debunk some common misconceptions surrounding both fiber and NG HFC network deployment and maintenance.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 12:00 p.m. New York / 5:00 p.m. London
Wi-Fi is the foundation of the connected home for consumers; yet, it’s often a source of frustration. With the imminent release of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard – combined with a strong Managed Wi-Fi offer – service providers can reverse subscriber frustration while tapping into new revenue streams.
Key topics include:
What’s different about Wi-Fi 6 and why it matters to your subscribers
The importance of offering Managed Wi-Fi and its connection to Wi-Fi 6
How you can elevate your brand and gain a strong foothold in the home network.