Space Commerce

Sierra Space Selected by Maxar to Provide Solar Power Solutions for Constellation of Proliferated LEO Satellites

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Sierra Space
December 5, 2022
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Sierra Space Selected by Maxar to Provide Solar Power Solutions for Constellation of Proliferated LEO Satellites
Sierra Space
Sierra Space

Sierra Space, a leading space company building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth, announced today the company won a significant space defense contract with Maxar.

Under the agreement, Sierra Space will provide revolutionary solar power solutions and production capability.

This contract will support a constellation of 14 satellites that use Maxar’s proliferated low Earth orbit (LEO) spacecraft platform, which are designed to support a wide variety of global coverage missions, including Earth observation, communications and national security.

“Sierra Space offers our proliferated LEO platform the critical performance that is needed to meet the mission requirements,” said Joe Foust, Maxar’s Vice President of proliferated LEO Constellations. “Their innovative technological and production approach will be instrumental in executing to our demanding performance expectations.”

“Sierra Space is very pleased to be working with Maxar to showcase the value our technology and expertise bring to the high-growth space applications business and fast- evolving category for both civil and national security applications,” said CEO Tom Vice. “Sierra Space is leveraging the same revolutionary new technology to power our innovative spaceplanes and space stations.”

Sierra Space is actively developing and executing high volume electronics manufacturing techniques for automated production of solar arrays using its Space Solar Surface Mount Technology solar cell capabilities. The Sierra Space arrays provide higher power density, reduced lead times, and unparalleled resilience as compared to conventional solar cell technologies.

The Sierra Space arrays, currently in production in Louisville, CO, are built for multiple applications including lunar surface missions, individual and small spacecraft constellations, and, most recently, national security systems. Sierra Space provides arrays ranging from very small systems to large multi-kilowatt users. The technology is easily configurable to rigid or flexible interfaces and can be adapted to fit complex contoured surfaces.

Sierra Space can offer a customized solar array by combining our patented solar panel production process and standard Pick-n-Place solar cell configuration. This automated process allows Sierra Space to deliver solar arrays with higher specific power in less than one-half the duration of a conventional solar array.

“We can put solar panels almost anywhere on a satellite,” said Brian Anthony, VP for Space Solar Power Systems at Sierra Space. “Our automation systems can generate arrays quickly, measured in Watts per minute. The current focus of Sierra Space is to streamline development of specific array configurations from our baseline of commercial designs to satisfy customer requirements, optimal testing, and expediting supply. We are preparing for more than 500 times production capacity growth in the next few years.

Sierra Space Solar Power Systems is a division of the company’s Space Applications Business Unit, which is an established supplier of high reliability spacecraft hardware, with multiple areas of expertise, including space solar power generation, precision pointing and motion control, vehicle and in-space engines, spacecraft environmental and thermal control and life support systems. For decades, the company has played a key role in space science and exploration, with a long legacy of contribution to government, commercial, and civil customers on a diverse set of missions with 100% operational success.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space (www.sierraspace.com) is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age. Sierra Space is building platforms in space to benefit life on Earth. The company is in the latter stages of doubling its headcount, with large presences in Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin. Significant investors in Sierra Space include General Atlantic, Coatue, and Moore Strategic Ventures.

With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, Sierra Space is enabling the future of space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only winged commercial spaceplane. Under construction at its Colorado headquarters and expected to launch in 2023 on the first of a series of NASA missions to the International Space Station, Dream Chaser® can safely carry cargo – and eventually crew – to on-orbit destinations, returning to land on compatible commercial airport runways worldwide. The company is also establishing a Human Spaceflight Center and Astronaut Training Academy. Sierra Space is also building an array of in-space destinations for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization including the LIFETM (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) habitat at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a three- story commercial habitation and science platform designed for LEO. Both Dream Chaser and LIFE are central components to Orbital Reef, a mixed-use business park in LEO being developed by principal partners Sierra Space and Blue Origin, which is expected to be operational by 2027.

CONTACTS:
Alex Walker
Sierra Space
(303) 803-2297 [email protected]
Kristin Carringer
Maxar [email protected]

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.