This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 13, 2002

New Solar Panels Boost Power to Hubble Space Telescope

The Space Shuttle Columbia landed at Kennedy Space Center early yesterday morning, completing the fourth mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Shuttle astronauts conducted five space walks during the mission. Among other tasks, the astronauts replaced Hubble's solar arrays with new, high-efficiency solar arrays that will provide 20 percent more power for the telescope. The solar arrays are the third set for the aging telescope. See the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Web site.

The new solar arrays, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation, use high-efficiency gallium arsenide solar panels to produce more electricity with 45 percent less surface area. That smaller surface area will lessen Hubble's atmospheric drag, allowing it to stay in orbit longer. The arrays are hinged in the middle and were folded to fit in the Shuttle bay. See the Lockheed Martin press release.

See also the NASA fact sheet on the solar arrays (PDF 208 KB) Download Acrobat Reader