ST. LOUIS, 2 August 2008. A team led by Boeing Advanced Systems won a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract for the first phase of the Fast Access Spacecraft Testbed (FAST) program.
DARPA's FAST is a multiphase effort to design and develop a ground test prototype of a new High Power Generation Subsystem (HPGS) for spacecraft. During Phase 1, Boeing will develop a complete plan for a demonstration system.
The Boeing HPGS is an integration of solar-concentrator, power-conversion, and heat-rejection systems supported with an ultra-lightweight structure and deployment system for pointing toward and tracking the sun.
When combined with electric thrusters, the Boeing HPGS will produce a lightweight power and propulsion system capable of providing responsive spacecraft maneuverability for on-orbit servicing, space-based situational awareness, and high-power payloads such as communication and radar systems.
Upon DARPA approval, the Boeing team will perform Phase 2 work to include fabrication, assembly, and testing of two HPGS test articles to validate performance characteristics in simulated space environments. An on-orbit demonstration of the system may be conducted following the ground test program.