Engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center have developed a new, high-performance, low-cost method for generating electricity that can be installed in spacecraft without a power plant.
The technology could provide a cheaper and more efficient way to power spacecraft in low-Earth orbit.
The spacecraft-powered technology could power a spacecraft in an orbit of 500 to 1,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.
“It’s really exciting to see something that’s so affordable and scalable,” said Eric Eaves, NASA’s associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, which manages the agency’s commercial crew program.
“You don’t have to have a power source on board to make that happen.”
The spacecraft power is not yet operational.
But the team has tested the technology on the first mission to launch an Orion capsule to the International Space Station, a mission planned for 2021.
The test flight, Orion 10, is scheduled to launch Nov. 4, 2021.
Eaves and his team developed the spacecraft-generated power in a project that was funded by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
“We wanted to see what we could do in this low-pressure environment,” said Eaves.
The project was a collaboration between the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Group, and the California Institute of Technology.
The Air Force and Lockheed Martin developed a novel, compact, high efficiency power source that could be integrated into the spacecraft’s payload bay.
The spaceplane payload bay, which would have a diameter of nearly 5 feet (1 meter), would be the first for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
It would be used to power the spacecraft, and it would also provide a means for the spacecraft to get enough power to keep it in orbit, Eaves said.
The system was designed to be small, lightweight, and efficient.
The researchers found that it would be a good candidate for use on the spacecraft.
The cost of the power plant was around $6,000 per kilowatt hour.
It is a relatively simple process.
It only takes about 30 minutes to create a single kilowatts of power from a single power source, Eades said.
“The power plant has the ability to be a low-level, low cost power source,” Eaves explained.
The power source can be designed to work with the spacecraft itself.
A series of panels can be built to handle the power generated from the spacecraft and other components, such as an array of batteries or solar panels.
The panels would have to be manufactured and assembled by a company that could make them cheaply and quickly.
The next step is to design and fabricate the panels to have their own internal circuitry.
Once the power source is installed, it can be powered by the spacecraft via a solar panel, Ebers said.
If the power is generated by a different system, it would have different characteristics.
For example, if the spacecraft is powered from a battery or solar panel on a power tower, the system might not be able to handle high-voltage currents, which can cause power loss.
Another challenge is the fact that the system is based on a combination of solar and battery cells, and that they are in fact not interchangeable.
Ebers added that the spacecraft would be able get the same amount of power with less weight and smaller power cells.
The work could also help address the concerns that have come up during the development of the spaceplane.
The Space Shuttle program in the early 1990s made heavy use of batteries, which have proved unreliable over time.
The Orion spacecraft would have its own battery, but it is not currently being developed.
Eave said the power generation system will be designed for use in space vehicles that use solar panels to provide power.
He added that it will be a long-term goal for NASA to have its spaceplane in space by the early 2020s.
NASA is looking for a small modular spaceplane that would be designed specifically to carry a crew to the space station.
The team is also working on an engine to support a crew.
The engine could generate power using an array that would use a combination (or “battery pack”) of batteries and electric motors.
The engines would be powered from the vehicle itself.
“What we’re really trying to do is to get this small spacecraft that can carry people to the station in a very low-risk way,” Ebers explained.
“That’s the most exciting part.”