NASA Launch will Include Advanced Solar Concepts

[] NASA has chosen four teams to develop a suite of advanced technologies slated for space flight validation on the New Millennium Programs Space Technology 8 (ST8) Mission. The ST8 Mission, slated for launch in 2008, is a New Millennium Carrier that will host a varied payload of four advanced technologies, including some progressive solar technologies. These include the Ultraflex Next Generation Solar Array System (NGU) from AEC-Able Engineering, based in Goleta, California. NASA said the NGU is an ultra-lightweight flexible- blanket solar array that deploys to provide a significant advancement in performance over existing state-of-the-art, high power arrays. The second advanced solar technology will be the SAILMAST Ultra Lightweight Boom, also from AEC-Able Engineering. The SAILMAST is an ultra-light graphite mast intended for solar sail propulsion systems. The projects will cost $6.9 million and $4 million, respectively. Each technology validation experiment will include diagnostic instruments. They will perform detailed measurements to characterize and determine how well the technologies performance in space corresponds to predictions derived from ground-based testing and modeling. The resulting data will be provided to science mission planners to enable a broad range of space-based science projects at significantly reduced risk and cost.