Dutch Space To Build Solar Arrays for Cygnus

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PARIS — Dutch Space B.V. of the Netherlands will provide solar arrays for nine Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus unmanned cargo ferries to supply the international space station under a contract valued at more than $35 million, Dutch Space announced Nov. 12.

The contract highlights the trans-Atlantic design of Cygnus, whose exterior shell is being built by Thales Alenia Space of Turin, Italy. Dutch Space also provides solar arrays for Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle, which has flown once and is scheduled to make a second flight to the space station in November 2010.

Leiden-based Dutch Space said it would integrate and test the solar arrays as well as manage their construction. Dulles, Va.-based Orbital Sciences is building the Cygnus cargo ferry, to be launched aboard Orbital’s Taurus 2 rocket from Wallops Island, Va., as part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program. A demonstration flight is scheduled for 2011 under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.

Dutch Space, which is a subsidiary of Europe’s Astrium space contractor, said in a Nov. 12 statement that it will work with two U.S. companies, Alliant Techsystems and Emcore, which will provide solar panel substrates and photovoltaic cells, respectively, for the Cygnus solar panels.

With the space shuttle due to retire in 2010, NASA awarded Orbital a $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract last December to make eight supply runs to the international space station between 2011 and 2016.