11/04/2024

Breakthrough in Space-Based Energy: Space Solar Demonstrates World’s First 360° Wireless Power Transmission

Space Solar, a pioneering company in the field of space-based solar power, has achieved a historic milestone with the successful testing of its HARRIER 360 degree power beaming technology demonstrator. This accomplishment marks a significant leap forward in the quest for sustainable and affordable energy solutions.

Space Solar is dedicated to forging a sustainable future for the world by harnessing the power of space-based solar energy. Recognising the pressing need to move away from fossil fuels and combat the challenges posed by climate change, Space Solar has developed unique solutions to address these global concerns.

Space-based solar power (SBSP) presents a groundbreaking approach to energy generation. At the forefront of this is Space Solar’s flagship Solar Power Satellite concept, CASSIOPeiA. Space Solar aims to deploy satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) equipped with large lightweight solar panels and a system of mirrors to capture and convert sunlight into electricity. This electricity is then beamed to a ground station on Earth via high-frequency radio waves, providing a continuous and reliable source of clean energy, 24/7 and through all seasons.

The recent significant achievement revolves around Space Solar’s HARRIER demonstrator, which proves a core component of the CASSIOPeiA Solar Power Satellite. HARRIER represents the world’s first 360° wireless power transmission system, demonstrating a novel approach to energy beaming beyond Earth’s surface. For Solar Power Satellites, as they move around an orbit they need to point at both the sun and earth.  This typically involves a large rotating joint.  The HARRIER technology enables the transmission of power in all directions without the need for moving parts, ensuring unmatched reliability and performance.

The company has now concluded a successful test campaign of HARRIER, which took place at Queen’s University, Belfast. The campaign included a demonstration of wireless power beaming – serving to highlight the innovative capabilities of the system.

Notably, this featured a demonstration of 360° Beam Steering, showing the unique ability to steer the energy beam in all directions, ensuring a continuous power supply regardless of orientation. Additionally, the Retrodirective Control System was showcased, illustrating precise pointing and beam control for safe and optimal energy transmission. The demonstration also included the characterisation of beam form, validating results against mathematical models to optimise system design.  

The HARRIER 0.5m diameter demonstrator will ultimately scale-up toward a 1.7Km diameter system delivering GW scale power from space.  A range of products are also being developed for terrestrial applications. 

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency: “This successful test is a really important milestone on the way to making space-based solar power a reality. Safe, wireless, 360 degree energy transmission is a game changer, and demonstrates the UK’s leading position in this new energy revolution, quite literally harnessing the power of space to benefit life on Earth.”

“The UK Space Agency has been supporting a number of initiatives to get our sector ready to address this market, including the development of in-orbit manufacturing and assembly, large structure deployment, debris mitigation, power beaming from space, and mission system studies.”

Martin Soltau, Co-CEO of Space Solar: “We’re thrilled to be able to demonstrate the next phase in the development of our technology. Space Solar’s successful testing of HARRIER marks a pivotal moment in our mission to revolutionise solar based-solar power. With this demonstration of the world’s first 360° wireless power transmission, we’re not only advancing our own capabilities but also laying the foundation for a brighter, cleaner future for generations to come.”

The successful testing of HARRIER not only represents a world first in space-based solar power technology but also paves the way for the development of CASSIOPeiA as the most capable and affordable Solar Power Satellite design to date. With its hyper-modular design, versatility in orbit options, and incorporation of High Concentration PhotoVoltaics (HCPV) for enhanced efficiency, CASSIOPeiA promises to revolutionise the way we harness solar energy from space.

Space Solar remains committed to its mission of providing a sustainable and reliable energy solution for the world. Through groundbreaking innovations like HARRIER and CASSIOPeiA, Space Solar is driving towards a future where clean, renewable energy is accessible to all, paving the way for a safer and more secure world.