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Emcore to provide III-V solar panels to NASA

The multi-junction solar cell provider will provide solar panels composed of indium gallium phosphide and indium gallium arsenide on a germanium substrate for the soil moisture active passive (SMAP) mission

Emcore solar panels will power SMAP spacecraft and instruments for a 2014 NASA mission.

The company has been awarded a solar panel manufacturing contract by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for its Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission targeted for launch in late 2014.

Solar panels populated with Emcore's most advanced ZTJ triple-junction solar cells will power the SMAP spacecraft and instrument suite in near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit for the duration of mission.

Emcore's 3rd generation triple-junction (ZTJ) solar cells with n-on-p polarity are built on a 140-µm uniform thickness germanium substrate. They have a low solar cell mass of 84 mg/cm2 and a minimum average efficiency of 29.5%.

ZTJ Solar Cell Structure

The SMAP mission will provide global measurements of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. These measurements will be used to enhance understanding of processes that link the planet's water, energy and carbon cycles, and to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models. SMAP data will also be used to quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes and to develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities.

"We are honoured to continue supporting these critical missions for NASA," says Christopher Larocca, Chief Operating Officer for Emcore. "Emcore successfully delivered solar panels to JPL last year for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission and have delivered, or are in the process of delivering, solar panels for several other NASA missions including the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and the Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) missions. We look forward to working with NASA and JPL once again on this program."           
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