A space solar power prototype that was launched into orbit in January is operational and has demonstrated its ability to wirelessly transmit power in space and to beam detectable power to Earth for the first time.
The Transporter-6 mission successfully launched at 6:55 a.m. PT on January 3. Dubbed the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD), which will test several key components of an ambitious plan to harvest solar power in space and beam the energy back to Earth.
As the solar wind streams toward Earth, it carries the Sun's magnetic field. Moving very fast, it hits into the Earth's magnetic field, causing a shock to our magnetic protection, which results in turbulence.
PRAM is testing functional components of what would be part of a power satellite network that could transmit energy from space to anywhere on Earth. Since the launch, the team has been receiving data regularly.
The first phase of the challenge presents a mission scenario with three mission activities. Teams will choose one or more activities to address by proposing an energy distribution, management, and/or storage solution.
Meir showed how NRL's LEctenna™, a light-emitting rectifying antenna, converted a wireless network signal, similar to home networks, into electric power. While the current generated and light emitted was a small amount, the setup proved the concept in space.
The 2018 NASA iTech Cycle II Energy is a collaborative effort between NASA and the U.S. Department (DOE) of Energys Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to find and foster innovative solutions for critical energy challenges on Earth and in space.
Harvesting energy from space might be a long way off, but there are many technologies that already exist to make this endeavor achievable. While we don't know the future of harvesting energy from space, it is stimulating to see such ideas.
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