10/08/2023

Satellite Applications Catapult Launches new Partnership with Space Solar to meet the Energy Needs of the 21st Century

For over 10 years, the Satellite Applications Catapult has been helping businesses across the nation harness the power of space technology to improve lives here on Earth. Today, the Catapult announces its most ambitious endeavour to date – a new partnership with Space Solar to tackle one of mankind’s biggest challenges – the need for reliable and sustainable energy at scale whenever and wherever you need it.

The Sun provides access to long-term, reliable clean energy, and a solar power collecting station placed in orbit can generate power practically 100% of the time. This will provide the affordable, continuous and scalable baseload energy needed to resolve current energy challenges and meet future energy needs. The sun and space can power us all into a sustainable future.

Space Solar, a spinout from the Catapult, has been operating since April 2022. During this time, working with the founders, we have put in place an experienced board of directors, established a strong management team and kick-started the development programme for the first fully operational Gigawatt scale space-based solar power system, CASSIOPeiA.

Space Solar represents a new leap forward in ways of working between industry, government and the investment community to use the unique environment of space to tackle some of mankind’s biggest challenges. After the emergence of the ‘New Space’ paradigm over the past 15 years, with major advances in technology miniaturisation and reductions in cost, we are now entering a new era where we can create large scale infrastructure in space that will make major contributions to a sustainable future on earth. Energy is just the start.

The company is now focusing on the rapid delivery of this programme, including the completion of its first wireless power demonstrator. This is an important step in their 12-year delivery plan, which also includes a major demonstration of Megawatt scale power beamed from space by 2029 – in just six years’ time.

This partnership between Space Solar and the Catapult, which will be delivered through provision of technical expertise and other support, confirms the commitment of both organisations to realising the potential for space-based solar power. And this is just the beginning. In the coming weeks and months Space Solar will be announcing new partnerships which will further strengthen the commitment behind this endeavour.

As the programme develops, Space Solar is expected to create a whole new sphere of activity across the UK and in partner nations, supporting the energy sector’s migration to net-zero, and providing energy security for all.

Martin Soltau, Co-CEO of Space Solar said: “Our mission is to create an era-defining solar energy source from space. It’s a bold goal which has excited the industry, investors and caught the public imagination. Today our business begins its next step, and we would like to thank the Catapult for its support, and its ongoing input into our success. It is through strong partnerships that we will make space-based solar power a reality and the Catapult has been and continues to be our biggest supporter.”

Lucy Edge, Satellite Applications Catapult acting CEO said: “Space-based solar power is a vital new technology, which has been independently assessed as both technically and economically feasible thanks to recent reductions in launch costs. Space Solar has the potential to become one of the most important companies in the UK and perhaps, the world. Its vision to solve future global energy needs is powerfully relevant in the face of rapidly growing demand, and the Space Solar solution is the most commercially viable solution in development today.”