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The ARA Mark 3 solar array design and developmentThe ARA (Advanced Rigid Array) Mark3 solar array of Fokker Space BV is currently in its final stages of qualification (wing tests to be completed in March, 1996; unit/part tests in April, 1996). With regard to its predecessor, the ARA Mark2, the design has not only been improved in terms of mechanical and electrical performance, but also with regard to production cost and throughput time. This 'state of the art' array is designed to fit the needs of a wide variety of geostationary telecommunications satellites and is qualified for launch on the complete range of medium/large size commercial launchers (Ariane IV & V, Atlas, Delta, Proton, Long March, H2). The first mission to fly the new ARA Mk3 array is Hot Bird 2 (customer: Eutelsat, prime contractor: Matra Marconi Space; launch: mid-1996). In this configuration, its end of life (EOL) power-to-mass ratio is 42 W/kg, with an operational life of more than 12 years. The main mechanisms on a solar array are typically found in the deployment system and in the hold down and release system. During the design and development phase of these mechanisms, extensive engineering and qualification tests have been performed. This paper presents the key design features of these mechanisms and the improvements that were made with regard to their predecessors. It also describes the qualification philosophy on unit/part and wing level. Finally, some of the development items that turned out to be critical, as well as the lessons learned from them, are discussed.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
vanHassel, Rob H. A.
(Fokker Space and Systems Leiden, Netherlands)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: 30th Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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