Uni-Solar to Supply Solar Cells to Lockheed Martin

March 16, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

United Solar Ovonic Corp. (Uni-Solar Ovonic, Auburn Hills, MI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD, Rochester Hills, MI), announced that it has been awarded a contract by Lockheed Martin to develop and deliver solar cells on polymer substrates. The solar cells will be used by Lockheed Martin in Phase 2 of the High Altitude Airship (HAA) program, awarded by the Missile Defense Agency in September 2003.

"The high-altitude airship prototype will demonstrate the technical feasibility and utility of a regenerative, solar-power airship," said Mike Baumgartner, Lockheed Martin’s HAA program director. "The persistent time on station resulting from solar power generation gives the airship great utility over a number of applications in addition to our current work for the Missile Defense Agency."

Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for Phase 2, design and risk reduction activities, in September 2003. Phase 2 includes developing an airship that can sustain operations for one month at 65,000 ft while providing 10 kW of power to a 4,000 lb payload. The current design is a non-rigid, super-pressure airship. It is expected to be 150 ft in diameter by 500 ft long. Its total volume will be 5.6 million cubic feet. The airship will be controlled by four electrically powered, vectored propulsion pods, and powered by a solar regenerative, battery-based, power system with thin-film photovoltaics on the hull surface.