Press Release

Honeybee Robotics delivers modular solar array drive system to MMA Design

By SpaceRef Editor
May 20, 2012
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Ultra-thin drive for High Watts per Kilogram (HaWK) solar array system helps boost orbit average power available to CubeSats by over 300% and enables new functionality to support high performance platforms at lower cost

Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corporation today announced it has delivered a novel CubeSat solar array drive assembly (SADA) to MMA Design LLC, for integration into their High Watts per Kilogram (HaWK) tracked power system. MMA’s HaWK array is a modular dual-wing solar array deployment and tracking power system designed to provide enhanced capability for CubeSats, increasing orbit average power (OAP) by over 300% and enabling new high performance applications in Earth imaging, space science and situational awareness.

Measuring just 6.5 mm – thinner than the world’s thinnest smartphone – the CubeSat SADA provides +/- 180 degrees of smooth, low power tracking motion along a single axis. The SADA incorporates power transfer, tracking motion and control electronics, and is designed to accommodate orbit average power of 22 watts (11 watts per wing), and peak power of 36 watts (18 watts per wing) with the modular HaWK-2 power system. The SADA is capable of transferring 100 watts peak power with alternate HaWK modular configurations. Existing CubeSat power capabilities are limited to only 5 watts of orbit average power.

“We are committed to developing a system that makes no sacrifices in performance despite its extremely slim profile,” said Erik Mumm, Vice President & Director, Flight Systems at Honeybee Robotics. “The HaWK will enable a big step forward for CubeSats, and we’re proud to be partners in MMA Design’s program.”

“We want to congratulate and thank Honeybee for their successful development and delivery of this critical SADA technology to support our HaWK power system architecture for modular high power NanoSat missions,” remarked Mitchell Wiens, President of MMA Design. “This marks a significant milestone in our development path to deliver a new state-of-the-art capability in power systems designed from its origin for CubeSats.”

Designed to maximize mission payload volume and mass on standard CubeSat platforms, Honeybee’s SADA module is compliant with the 3U CubeSat bus form factor. The module occupies the vacant space between CubeSat and P-POD, eliminating the need for any changes to bus geometry.

MMA Design is developing HaWK under a Phase II SBIR sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

An image of the SADA module is available at Images of the HaWK Solar Array are available at

SpaceRef staff editor.