GOLETA, Calif. – Sending humans to Mars. That’s the mission NASA says isn’t so far in the future and it’s a Goleta-based company that may help power the way. Deployable Space Systems is a small business startup, founded in 2009. In that short amount of time the work they do behind closed doors in Goleta has NASA looking in. What grabbed the attention of America’s space program is the revolutionary concept of a Roll-Out Solar Array or ROSA. It looks like a giant solar panel but DSS president Brian Spence says it’s so much more than that.
“It rolls up and stows into a very compact volume,” Spence said. “It can actually fit on a launch vehicle like a rocket.” ROSA is ground-breaking. It is ultra-lightweight, strong enough to withstand the perils of space and relatively affordable compared to other in the industry. NASA’s top-dog, Administrator Charles Bolden, toured DSS Tuesday morning. Taking in the impressive technology that could take his agency to new heights. “We’re going to send humans to Mars for the purpose of actually occupying it and staying there,” Bolden said. “And these things (DSS’s ROSA Solar Array) are going to be important.” Bolden says NASA is on pace to send humans to Mars by 2030. It’s an ambitious goal but one that the space program and Deployable Space Systems believes can happen thanks to technological advancements like ROSA.