Researchers at the university have reportedly beamed solar power from space to Earth without a single wire—and they say it’s a first.
The experiment is a part of Caltech’s Space Solar Power Project, and the institute announced a successful transmission via press release yesterday.
The researchers conducted the power transfer experiment using the Microwave Array for Power-transfer Low-orbit Experiment, or MAPLE, which is a small prototype aboard the in-orbit Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1) that launched this past January.
“Through the experiments we have run so far, we received confirmation that MAPLE can transmit power successfully to receivers in space,” said Space Solar Power Project co-director Ali Hajimiri in the press release.
“We have also been able to program the array to direct its energy toward Earth, which we detected here at Caltech.
The SSPD-1, attached to a Vigoride spacetug from Momentus Space, consists of two panels used to collect solar power.
The ability to wirelessly transmit solar power from space has huge implications for renewable energy, so much so that Japan plans to start using it by the mid-2030's. »