Rocket lab USA Inc., a global leader in launch services, space systems, and space solar power supplies, announced today that its next-generation solar cell technology has entered certification testing. The cell, designated IMM-, is the next product from SolAero’s patented Inverted MetaMorphic solar cell technology and is predicted to have a conversion efficiency of 33.3 percent in scale manufacturing.
SolAero Technologies Inc., a space solar power firm bought by Rocket lab in January 2022, developed IMM-, the 4th generation IMM product. In high-volume production, the IMM-solar cell is predicted to be the most efficient space solar cell technology. The cell has a BOL efficiency of 33.3 percent on average, up from 32 percent for the IMM- that is already in volume production. The IMM- is also a radiation-hard cell, with an 87 percent power remaining factor after exposure to 1-MeV electrons at a fluence of 1E15 e/cm2.
The cells are currently undergoing final space certification testing and will be available for commercial usage later in 2022. In addition to its best-in-class efficiency, IMM is more than 40% lighter than traditional space grade solar cells, lowering the cost of satellites. The SolAero team has powered commercial constellations of hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit and pioneered science missions to distant interplanetary destinations, and with the new IMM- cells, they can power the future of space exploration.
Every spaceship requires solar power, and SolAero already has the world’s largest production line of high-performance solar cells. We look forward to scaling the business to meet the growing demands of the global space market now that Rocket lab has the resources and manufacturing capabilities behind them.