Ascent Solar achieves critical spaceflight milestone with Vigoride-6 Mission
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Dec 22, 2023
Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI), a leader in photovoltaic (PV) technology, has recently marked a significant achievement in space technology. The company announced its successful attainment of spaceflight heritage for its space PV array products, which were part of the Momentus Vigoride-6 mission. This accomplishment showcases the capability and reliability of Ascent Solar’s products in the challenging space environment.
The key component of this achievement was Ascent Solar’s innovative Plug and Fly solar panels, which consist of thin-film modules. These modules were integrated into Momentus’s Tape Spring Solar Array (TASSA) and have completed initial in-space testing. This integration represents a blend of Ascent Solar’s advanced solar technology with Momentus’s novel space infrastructure.
This milestone is not just a testament to the technology’s performance in space but also solidifies the company’s standing in the solar industry. It establishes the NASA Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL9) for Ascent’s products, a high level of recognition that underscores the technology’s reliability and readiness for operational deployment in space missions.
The success of these panels in space further validates Ascent Solar’s Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) material and the robustness of the company’s manufacturing, integration, and quality processes. This is especially crucial, as CIGS technology is known for its high efficiency, flexibility, and lightweight properties, making it ideal for space applications. The positive outcomes of the MISSE-X experiment with NASA on the International Space Station (ISS) have also been reinforced by this achievement.
Looking ahead, Ascent Solar is focusing on its next generation of higher-efficiency, lightweight products, specifically designed for the orbital environment. The Titan Space HDK line, derived from the subscale PV modules flown on Vigoride-6, promises to offer spacecraft mass, cost, and schedule savings. These products are poised to provide several megawatts of capacity for deliveries in 2024, catering to the growing needs of space missions.
Paul Warley, CEO of Ascent Solar Technologies, commented on this achievement, “This demonstration validates Ascent as a leader in space sustainability, and is reflective of the tremendous market opportunity we continue to pursue.” He highlighted the alignment of their power generation solutions with the European Space Agency’s Zero Debris Charter. The Ascent Space HDK line of products is engineered to remain operational even when impacted by space debris, thus not contributing to the debris problem and lowering mission risks.
Warley further emphasized the role of Ascent’s technology in preserving Earth’s orbits, which are becoming increasingly crowded and trafficked. Ascent’s flexible thin-film power generation capabilities are set to be a crucial technology for maintaining the global commons of Earth’s orbits.