Air Force Research Laboratory works on a new process to beam solar power from space to applications on Earth

Aug. 28, 2020
Space-based solar beaming hasn’t been done before because building components and integrated systems and then flying them to space is very expensive.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – In the near future, solar power collected in space and beamed down to Earth could power military and civilian installations, vehicles, and devices in remote places across the globe. Stars and Stripes reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

28 Aug. 2020 -- The foundational technology is already in hand, and the first small-scale demonstration project will be ready for launch in 2023, thanks to a broad collaboration between the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, and private industry partners.

Apart from providing around-the-clock power on demand beamed from space, the new solar cells, panels and production processes being developed through the program could revolutionize space-based power systems in general and terrestrial photovoltaic installations by offering higher-efficiency systems at much lower cost than is available today.

The potentially game-changing technology could become widely available over the next decade, says U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Felt, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

Related: Russia unveils ambitious project to power batteries of orbiting satellites with special lasers

Related: Solar-electric propulsion for future deep-space missions is goal of NASA solicitation

Related: DARPA looks to SAIC to develop lightweight, flexible solar panels rugged enough for military photovoltaics applications

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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