Electrical system of the International Space Station

Electrical System Of The International Space Station

Electrical system of the International Space Station

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The electrical system of the International Space Station is a critical resource for the International Space Station (ISS) because it allows the crew to live comfortably, to safely operate the station, and to perform scientific experiments. The ISS electrical system uses solar cells to directly convert sunlight to electricity. Large numbers of cells are assembled in arrays to produce high power levels. This method of harnessing solar power is called photovoltaics.

The process of collecting sunlight, converting it to electricity, and managing and distributing this electricity builds up excess heat that can damage spacecraft equipment. This heat must be eliminated for reliable operation of the space station in orbit. The ISS power system uses radiators to dissipate the heat away from the spacecraft. The radiators are shaded from sunlight and aligned toward the cold void of deep space.

Solar array wing

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Each ISS solar array wing (often abbreviated "SAW") consists of two retractable "blankets" of solar cells with a mast between them. Each wing uses nearly 33,000 solar cells and when fully extended is in length and wide. The ISS now has the full complement of eight solar array...
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