The basic requirements of solar cell modules for space applications are generally described in MIL-S-83576 for the specific needs of the USAF. However, the specifications of solar cells intended for use on space terrestrial applications are not well defined. Therefore, this qualifications test effort was concentrated on critical areas specific to the microseismometer probe which is intended to be included in the Mars microprobe programs. Parameters that were evaluated included performance dependence on: illuminating angles, terrestrial temperatures, lifetime, as well as impact landing conditions. Our qualification efforts were limited to these most critical areas of concern. Most of the tested solar cell modules have met the requirements of the program except the impact tests. Surprisingly, one of the two single PIN 2 x 1 amorphous solar cell modules continued to function even after the 80000G impact tests. The output power parameters, Pout, FF, Isc and Voc, of the single PIN amorphous solar cell module were found to be 3.14 mW, 0.40, 9.98 mA and 0.78 V, respectively. These parameters are good enough to consider the solar module as a possible power source for the microprobe seismometer. Some recommendations were made to improve the usefulness of the amorphous silicon solar cell modules in space terrestrial applications, based on the results obtained from the intensive short term lab test effort.
Proceedings of the 15th Space Photovoltaic Research and Technology Conference; 257-266; NASA/CP-2004-212735