The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) announced today that its SCARLET II solar array was successfully launched Saturday morning from the Cape Canaveral Air Station on the NASA Deep Space 1 (DS1) spacecraft. Preliminary data from the spacecraft indicate that the array deployed successfully and is operating as expected.
SCARLET-II, an acronym for Solar Concentrator Arrays with Refractive Linear Element Technology, is the first modular concentrator solar array to be used in space. SCARLET II achieves high performance with low cost by replacing 85 percent of the expensive solar cells on a conventional array with easily produced linear refractive concentrators that focus incoming solar energy onto high efficiency solar cells. The SCARLET-II array on DS1 provides 2.5 kilowatts of electrical power with a power-to-weight ratio of nearly 50 watts/kilograms. This makes it the most weight efficient solar array ever flown.
Use of the SCARLET-II array as the power source for the DS1 spacecraft is the result of a successful joint venture between the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The array was produced by AEC Able Engineering Company Inc., Goleta, Calif., under funding provided by BMDO. The flight of SCARLET-II on DS1 is enabling BMDO to demonstrate advanced cost savings technologies for future space-based surveillance systems to detect and track ballistic missiles. The SCARLET-II array on DS1 is a replacement demonstration for the SCARLET-I array that was lost as a result of the failure of a Conestoga launch vehicle in 1997.