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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2014, Article ID 537645, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/537645
Research Article

Efficient and Reliable Solar Panels for Small CubeSat Picosatellites

1Department of Applied Electronics and Telecommunications, University of West Bohemia, 30614 Pilsen, Czech Republic
2Department of Technologies and Measurement, University of West Bohemia, 30614 Pilsen, Czech Republic

Received 30 October 2013; Accepted 16 March 2014; Published 25 June 2014

Academic Editor: Mahmoud M. El-Nahass

Copyright © 2014 Ivo Vertat and Ales Vobornik. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

CubeSat picosatellites have a limited area of walls for solar cells assembling and the available area has to be effectively shared with other parts, such as planar antennas, optical sensors, camera lens, and access port. With standard size of solar cell strings, it is not possible to construct a reliable solar panel for CubeSat with redundant strings interconnection. Typical solar panels for CubeSat consist of two solar cell strings serially wired with no redundancy in case of solar string failure. The loss of electric energy from one solar panel can cause a serious problem for most picosatellites due to minimum margin in the blueprints of the picosatellite subsystem power budget. In this paper, we propose a new architecture of solar panels for PilsenCUBE CubeSat with a high level of redundancy in the case of solar string failure or following switched power regulator failure. Our solar panels use a high efficiency triple junction GaInP2/GaAs/Ge in the form of small triangle strings from the Spectrolab Company. A suitable technology for precise solar cell assembling is also discussed, because CubeSat picosatellites are usually developed by small teams with limited access to high-end facilities.