NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Results of the 1995 JPL balloon flight solar cell calibration programThe Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) solar cell calibration program was conceived to produce reference standards for the purpose of accurately setting solar simulator intensities. The concept was to fly solar cells on a high-altitude balloon, to measure their output at altitudes near 120,000 ft (36.6 km), to recover the cells, and to use them as reference standards. The procedure is simple. The reference cell is placed in the simulator beam, and the beam intensity is adjusted until the reference cell reads the same as it read on the balloon. As long as the reference cell has the same spectral response as the cells or panels to be measured, this is a very accurate method of setting the intensity. But as solar cell technology changes, the spectral response of the solar cells changes also, and reference standards using the new technology must be built and calibrated. Until the summer of 1985, there had always been a question as to how much the atmosphere above the balloon modified the solar spectrum. If the modification was significant, the reference cells might not have the required accuracy. Solar cells made in recent years have increasingly higher blue responses, and if the atmosphere has any effect at all, it would be expected to modify the calibration of these newer blue cells much more so than for cells made in the past. JPL has been flying calibration standards on high-altitude balloons since 1963 and continues to organize a calibration balloon flight at least once a year. The 1995 flight was the 48th flight in this series. The 1995 flight incorporated 46 solar cell modules from 7 different participants. The payload included Si, amorphous Si, GaAs, GaAs/Ge, dual junction cells, top and bottom sections of dual junction cells, and a triple junction cell. A new data acquisition system was built for the balloon flights and flown for the first time on the 1995 flight. This system allows the measurement of current-voltage (I-V) curves for 20 modules in addition to measurement of modules with fixed loads as had been done in the past.
Document ID
Document Type
Contractor Report (CR)
Anspaugh, B. E.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Weiss, R. S.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1995
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.26:201417
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 19960026753.pdf STI
No Preview Available