Solestial Awarded Nearly $1M in NASA SBIR Ignite Contracts for Next Generation Solar Array

Large-scale array to overcome cost and manufacturing  limitations of current technology 

Tempe, Ariz., November 7, 2023 — Solestial, Inc. (“Solestial”), the solar  energy company for space, today announced that it has been awarded  $849,954 for a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”)  contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration  (“NASA”). The winning proposal titled, “Next Generation Silicon Based  Solar Arrays for Space Stations and Other Permanent Space  Infrastructure,” comes on the heels of a $149,987 Phase I contract in  January 2023. The contracts are from a new pilot program, SBIR Ignite,  that funds commercially viable technologies from U.S. startups to support  research and development and promote economic growth. 

The 18-month SBIR Phase II contract will provide funds to support  development of next generation, 50-kilowatt (“kW”) class solar array wings.  Solestial’s silicon solar blanket technology will allow for arrays larger than  any ever built, while also maintaining lower mass and competitive  efficiency. The array will be developed in collaboration with Opterus  Research & Development (“Opterus”) who will develop a low-cost, novel  deployment system for Solestial’s ultrathin, flexible, silicon solar blankets. 

“The private space stations and lunar bases of tomorrow will require a  tremendous amount of power, and currently, there are no affordable and  scalable space solar technologies that can accommodate this demand,”  said Stan Herasimenka, Solestial Co-Founder and CEO. “Our affordable and low-mass solar blankets will help to overcome size, cost, and  manufacturing limitations to power large-scale spacecraft and surface  infrastructure. We’re excited to work with Opterus to make this vision a reality.” 

Space station with next generation, 50-kilowatt class solar array wings. Solestial’s silicon solar blanket technology will allow for arrays larger than any ever built, while also maintaining lower mass and competitive efficiency. The array will be developed in collaboration with Opterus Research & Development (“Opterus”) and will integrate Solestial solar blankets with Opterus’ patent pending Retractable-Rollable Mast Array (“R-ROMA”) advanced deployable solar array structure.

Solestial’s contract-winning proposal focuses on integrating its ultrathin,  low mass, radiation-hardened solar blankets with Opterus’ patent pending  Retractable-Rollable Mast Array (“R-ROMA”) advanced deployable solar  array structure. The R-ROMA is a highly scalable tensioned solar blanket  array with double z-folding panels deployed by a single state-of-the-art  rollable composite boom. The partnership between Solestial and Opterus  will marry the two technologies to overcome the size, cost, and mass limitations of existing solar array technologies. Ultimately, Solestial hopes  to achieve 50 kW scale and 200 W/kg array-level specific power while  simultaneously reducing costs and scaling manufacturing potential. 

Solestial’s Phase I SBIR Ignite contract made it possible to develop the  critical technologies required to create a working prototype of the silicon  blanket technology. The Phase II award will fund a full-size 50 kW solar  array design and space testing of a scaled model. 

“We’re excited to be partnering with Solestial on this pioneering technology  development project,” said Erik Pranckh, Director of Business Development, at Opterus. “Our high-performance deployment systems pair perfectly with low-mass solar blankets from Solestial. Together, we  can develop the powerful, affordable, next-generation solar arrays needed  to power development in space.” 

The Ignite award marks the ninth such contract received by Solestial. To  date, the firm has received nearly $4 million in contracts from NASA, the  National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Air Force. 

About Solestial
Solestial, Inc. (“Solestial”) is the solar energy company for space.  Solestial’s breakthrough technology is a silicon solar cell engineered for  space to self-cure radiation damage under sunlight at a normal operating  temperature of 80°C. Solestial solar cells are packaged in an ultrathin,  flexible, low-mass solar blanket engineered to withstand up to 10 years in  LEO. Solestial solar blankets can be produced using automated machines  resulting in costs 90% lower than incumbent technologies. Solestial targets  2025 for the launch of a manufacturing facility capable of producing 10  MW/year of solar blankets. From today’s satellite constellations and  research projects to tomorrow’s lunar settlements and services in space,  Solestial’s innovative technology represents a paradigm shift for space  solar; an affordable, durable, scalable solution to power the new space  economy. Solestial is a US company manufacturing cells and blankets in  Tempe, Arizona. To learn more, visit our website or follow us on social media

About Opterus
Opterus Research and Development, Inc. (“Opterus”) designs and  manufactures advanced structures. Often incorporating elements of  origami, morphing, dynamics, folding, shape changing, and high performance carbon fiber composites. The company is innovating critical  deployable spacecraft components and subsystems solutions. Our  lightweight retractable-deployable composite masts, booms, and hinges  push the frontiers of structural design. Our technologies provide the  structural backbone for innovative tension-aligned arrays, blanket and  panel solar arrays, deployable reflectors, antennas, and in-space  assembly and manufacturing architectures. From conception through  design, simulation, analysis, fabrication, and testing – we do it all. To learn  more, visit our website Opterus R&D ( 

Media Contact
Eileen Korte