A special lab to be used to grow crystals for solar arrays may be installed in the International Space Station in the nearest future. The lab to be initiated in 2013, is intended for growing up crystals of a brand new type.
The designers state that vacuum improves the properties of the crystals, due to conditions not available on the ground. As a result, effectiveness of the solar arrays will be improved by 60%.
It is planned to grow up pure crystals either in a special lab attached to the station, or in a spacecraft to be docked to the station periodically,
Roscosmos takes a small financial part in the project which is almost approved pending a final command to start to launch the lab in 2013.
The scientists expect the other investors to join the project, including NASA.