Boeing Advanced Systems is leading a team that has been awarded a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract for the first phase of the Fast Access Spacecraft Testbed (FAST) programme.
FAST is a multi-phase programme to design and develop a ground test prototype of a new High Power Generation Subsystem (HPGS) for spacecraft. Boeing will develop a complete plan for a demonstration system during phase one.
Boeing’s HPGS solution integrates the 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 manoeuvrability for on-orbit servicing, space-based situational awareness, and high-power payloads such as communication and radar systems.
If approved by DARPA, the Boeing team will perform phase two 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 programme.