This device was used to test solar panels of communications satellites prior to launch. Solar panels are a crucial component of a communications satellite, essential to providing the spacecraft with sufficient power continuously over a period of years. Testing the panels prior to launch ensured that they performed as required once in space.
The test fixture holds a series of standard light sockets and bulbs. For a test, the fixture would be positioned near a satellite's solar panels. Additional test equipment would then assess if the solar panels, each covered with numerous individual solar cells, converted light energy into electrical energy according to expected performance criteria.
Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.
Gift of Lockheed Martin