Air Force to harvest Solar Energy in Space

Air Force is developing a system to harvest solar energy in space and beam it down to Earth.

The Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque is partnering with Northrop Grumman on $100million project, to develop a network of solar satellites, to harvest energy from the Sun and beam it down to military bases in remote parts of the Earth.

The solar energy will be collected by 10,000 square-meter solar panels, converted to radio frequency and then beam it back to the ground.

Col. Eric Felt, director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, said:

“Energy is a strategic enabler and potential vulnerability for our nation and our Department of Defense. To ensure DOD mission success, we must have the energy we need at the right place at the right time.”

Maj. Tim Allen said:

“The project was born out of an operational need to provide power to disadvantaged users. The ability to send power from space provides more safety to our troops so they don’t have to escort those convoys.

This whole project is building toward wireless power transmission. The solar panels that would be sent into space would beam power down when and where we choose.

The beams are electronically steered so we can put them down in specific locations and keep them steered there without having to turn some large array.”

Image credit U.S. Air Force

source Stars & Stripes