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Power to a million

To date, not a single Airbus Defence and Space solar array has failed while in operation

The European BepiColombo Mercury probeWeather observation, environmental monitoring, disaster management, navigation, telecommunications from space and numerous scientific missions – all these applications would be impossible without Airbus Defence and Space’s particularly reliable solar generators.

For nearly 50 years, Airbus Defence and Space’s competence centre for solar generators in Ottobrunn has been equipping satellites of every class with these highly efficient ‘power plants’. Acknowledged as the European leader in this market, Airbus Defence and Space today installed the one millionth solar cell from its supplier AZUR Space and delivered its 300th solar generator in the presence of the Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology, Dr Martin Zeil.

The 100-strong Airbus Defence and Space team is currently busy preparing the solar array for the European BepiColombo Mercury probe. Airbus Defence and Space is also developing the world’s most modern solar array for the new European Alphabus telecommunications satellites.

The solar array production in Ottobrunn

Airbus Defence and Space’s solar arrays provide maximum power in space

All satellites require electrical power to operate in space – and they get that power from the sun. The environmental conditions in space are very harsh, with extreme temperatures ranging from -180ºC to +130ºC coupled with solar radiation, so the solar cells required for these applications need to be extremely robust. The solar arrays developed and manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space have an output ranging from a few hundred watts up to 26 kilowatts. Featuring some 20,000 solar cells and a wingspan of up to 19 meters, a solar generator weighs no more than 145 kilograms and is folded during launch to a thickness of 30 centimetres. Once the satellite is in space, two of these solar wings are deployed to the left and right of the satellite to meet its electrical power needs. To date, not a single Airbus Defence and Space solar array has failed while in operation.

Read the press release


Further information

How satellites convert the sun’s energy into electricity

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