"This is the culmination of more than three years of close coordination with NASDA and our Japanese partners," said Patrick Park, TecStar's vice president of advanced technology and programs.
TecStar is delivering solar panels with the PPL-approved gallium arsenide cells to NEC in support of NASDA's MDS-1 experiment. "NASDA's approval will allow us to offer all Japanese satellite builders solar cells of much higher efficiency than what is available in their market today," adds Park.
"It will also pave the way for later adding our multi-junction commercial Cascade product." TecStar's single junction gallium arsenide cell has consistently demonstrated efficiencies in excess of 19 percent; commercial Cascade will improve efficiencies to 22-24 percent.
TecStar Inc. was founded in 1954 as the first supplier in the US of space solar cells. Today, the privately held company employs approximately 900 people in three divisions; Applied Solar Division (ASD), Electro Systems Division (ESD), and Demo Systems Division (DSD), with '97 sales of $121 million.
TecStar supports the space and aircraft industries, both as a leading producer of critical aircraft subsystems, data transfer systems, and ground support equipment, and by offering the most advanced technology in spacecraft solar panels and arrays.
The company maintains an unblemished on-orbit performance on over 400 satellites involving programs like Vanguard, the first satellite powered by solar cells in the late 1950's, through today's on-orbit constellations such as GPS, Iridium, Landsat, Orbcomm, and the Mars-Pathfinder program. In early 1998 TecStar received its ISO 9001 certification.