The Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) unveiled the first of a fleet of smallsats in Logan, Utah, earlier this year in support of NASA’s Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) mission — the mission will be powered by MMA Design’s HaWK Solar Arrays. NASA selected SunRISE for development in 2020 as part of its Heliophysics Explorer program that aims to study space weather.
MMA completed the design, manufacture, test and delivery of 12 HaWK Solar Array wings to SDL that will power SunRISE’s 6U smallsat fleet. Each spacecraft is comprised of two wings that, combined, generate approximately 42 Watts of power.
MMA’s HaWK solar arrays are known for their packaging metrics, reliability and heritage in powering multiple civil, DoD and commercial missions. NASA will launch the fleet in mid-2024 for operation in a geostationary orbit.
The six 6U smallsats will operate independently but will fly together in a fleet and act as a single, virtual, large-aperture, radio antenna, using a technique known as interferometry. The mission aims to observe low radio frequency emissions in order for scientists to better understand how the Sun is able to generate intense space weather storms – known as solar particle storms – that can be hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts.
This research will help scientists forecast space weather, improve what we know of how our Sun works and may apply to studies of other stars – particularly those with planets.
SunRISE is a Mission of Opportunity under the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Explorers Program Office, which is part of the agency’s Explorers Program, the oldest, continuous, NASA program designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using principal, investigator-led, space science investigations relevant to the Science Mission Directorate’s (SMD) astrophysics and heliophysics programs.
The program is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for SMD and by JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California — the mission is led by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
MMA Design is headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, where the firm’s creative and agile team is creating innovative, ingeniously packaged, disruptive, deployable solutions that are revolutionizing the industry. From R+D to Flight, the company thinks out of the box to put more into the box for your Space mission.