With decades of experience in designing, building and testing power systems, the NASA Glenn Research Center has developed technology breakthroughs that help expand NASA's discoveries and revolutionize the aerospace industry. Glenn has combined state-of-the-art electrical designs with complex computer-aided analyses to develop some of today's most advanced power systems. Whether it is energizing propulsion systems, providing energy for communications, or managing a computerized data network, Glenn's power generation and management technology provides the energy to help NASA achieve its missions.
Image right: The International Space Station radiator system maintains the temperatures of systems and components. It was tested at Glenn's Space Power Facility at Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio. Credit: NASA
Power research, technology and development at NASA Glenn are addressing a wide range of power needs, including solar cells and arrays, batteries, advanced energy storage and conversion, power management and distribution, power systems modeling and analysis, and power processing. The research supports the International Space Station electric power system, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mir Cooperative Solar Array, planetary power for space exploration, and Earth-orbiting and Earth-observing satellites. We provide ground-based and space power technologies to other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Energy and Defense, and to universities and private industry.
Our research includes
- Development and testing of next-generation solar cells and concentrator arrays
- Development and testing of advanced solar concentrators, heat receivers, and thermal transport and radiator technologies
- Development of Stirling engines for space- and ground-based power applications
- Development and testing of advanced batteries and fuel cells
- Development and testing of low-, wide-, and high-temperature electrical components and devices
- Development and testing of magnetic and dielectric materials
- Modeling and analysis of space-system-generated plasma effects
- Modeling and analysis of integrated spacecraft power systems
Commercial applications include power generation (solar and nuclear), energy storage (batteries and fuel cells), heat rejection (heat pipes and radiators), solid-state switches and electrical devices, space- and ground-based power systems analysis, cryocoolers, large communications satellites, automobiles and buses, heating and air-conditioning systems (especially those that do not use chlorofluorocarbons), and hybrid and electric vehicles.