Folding a NASA Solar Array Prototype

When I saw this solar array prototype in 2018, it was the first instance I had seen of origami being used for space exploration.

It turns out origami is everywhere in space. And it makes sense. As Robert Lang explains in his 2008 TED talk, it proves to be an essential tool for efficiently packing large sheet-like structures (spacecraft) into small spaces (rockets) and later expanding them.

The first application of origami in space was the Miura-ori, a folding method used in a solar array launched in 1995 and named after its inventor, Koryo Miura. Since then origami techniques have been used by engineers in solar sails, radar dishes, telescopes, robots, and starshades—large shields designed to block light from stars when photographing planets in space.

I originally folded this pattern in January 2019.