NASA unveils new air-cooled solar reflector for space station
The Air Force has just unveiled the world’s first large-scale solar reflectors for the International Space Station.
The new solar reflective material uses a process called ion beam diffraction that uses light from the sun to heat a porous material.
The process heats the material, creating an electric current that allows the material to change its shape.
The reflector has a diameter of 6 inches and weighs less than an ounce.
The Air Force announced the design on Wednesday, which is the largest and most complex solar reflectivity material ever developed for the space station.
It was developed by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The Solar Systemarium, a museum of science and technology in Boulder, unveiled the new reflector in April.
The Reflector System, as the material is called, has the potential to be used to create a range of new products for the station.
“It has all the attributes of a very strong, very stable and highly energy-efficient solar reflectent that could be used for the solar array,” said John Estrada, the Air Force’s deputy director for Space Systems Engineering.
“The most significant difference is that it uses a completely new material, and we’re just now getting to that point.”
The material is used for other solar reflectances, such as the Solar Auxiliary Reflectors (SAERS), which use a highly reflective, glass-like material.
But the new material is more robust.
The Air Power Office of Space Engineering and the Air National Guard’s Air and Space Division said the new product is more reliable and energy-dense than the SAERS, which were used on the Space Shuttle.
“These are really the first solid, high-performing, energy-absorbing, highly durable and heat-absorber solar reflectants in the space system,” said Mark Clements, the head of the Air Power office.
The system is not a commercial product, but officials say it will be tested for the first time by NASA in 2018.
The Space Station is scheduled to begin orbiting the moon in 2020.
The solar reflectance material is part of a wider array that will use solar panels that can be installed on the orbiting space station to reflect sunlight.