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Tecstar Returns to Mars
Tecstar Returns to Mars
27 Aug 2001


City of Industry - Tecstar Inc. reported that its recently announced TEC 3i solar cell has been selected to power NASA JPL's latest mars exploration spacecraft and robotic rover vehicle.

"Based upon our successful heritage of participating with JPL in the powering of their very successful Mars Pathfinder mission, Tecstar is honored to again be selected to power this very exciting program," reported Patrick Park, Tecstar vice president for Photovoltaic Marketing & Sales.

"We at Tecstar, along with the rest of the world, were all glued to our TV sets to watch the amazing photographs return from the Mars Pathfinder, and we all expect to be equally impressed with the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) when it begins its mission to advance man's knowledge of Mars," added Park.

The Mars Exploration Rover is the latest in a series of Mars missions that will some day enable a manned visit to Mars. MER will carry an array of advanced sensors and instruments including cameras and multiple spectrometers to determine if there is evidence of liquid water in Mars history. The rovers are much larger than the "Sojourner" rover employed in the Mars Pathfinder Mission.

Tecstar, together with JPL scientists and engineers, will design, build and test a family of solar panels necessary to power the spacecraft during its voyage to Mars and then to power the Exploration Rover up to 100 kilometers per Martian day. MER is JPL's most ambitious autonomously powered rover design to date.

"MER joins several other interplanetary missions our TEC 3i solar cells have been selected to power," shared Hector Macias, Tecstar director of Product Development.

"To date, Tecstar's new TEC 3i solar cell has also been selected to power the 'NASDA/NEC MUSES-C' asteroid exploration & sample return vehicle scheduled for launch late next year, the NASA Ball Aerospace 'DEEP IMPACT' comet sample return vehicle, and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory 'MESSENGER' planet Mercury exploration satellite," reported Macias.

Tecstar's TEC 3i solar cell offers solar array designers the largest format, very high efficiency solar cell available in production today. It incorporates a unique monolithic bypass diode feature that increases the life time and reliability of the solar array while reducing the cost and weight of the solar array required to power the spacecraft.

TEC 3i recently entered production and has quickly been established as a market-leading technology choice for solar array and spacecraft designers.

Tecstar Inc. is a compound semiconductor company providing key enabling technologies to the Satellite Power and Optoelectronics industries.

Key products include EPI for High Brightness LEDs, HBTs, VCSELs and other related compound semiconductor devices, as well as solar cells, CICs and panels for satellite applications. Tecstar also operates divisions supporting the aircraft and spacecraft industries.

Together, Tecstar provides products worldwide and delivers to the major optoelectronics device manufacturers and all major satellite integrators.

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Last Updated: 29 Aug 2001