Caltech: Research project on space-based solar energy before real test

As part of a research project for space-based solar energy, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) wants to test the prototype of a satellite in space in two years. The Space Based Solar Power Project (SSPP) is conducting basic research into a process by which solar energy could be continuously converted into electricity and made available anywhere on earth.

In contrast to any other location on earth, satellites would be completely independent of the weather and the time of day. The Caltech research team wants to send the collected energy wirelessly and wirelessly via microwaves to earth, where it could be used as renewable energy to help move away from fossil fuels. The process is known as Space Based Solar Power (SBSP).

The university has been researching it for more than six years, but has only now revealed who, with $ 100 million, will provide much of the funding for it. At that time it was donated anonymously by the multi-billionaire Donald Bren and his wife. So it was about an article in the magazine Popular Science came across the proposal to collect solar energy on a large scale in space and transfer it to earth.

Together with the donors the research team now also presents its planTo launch the prototype of such a satellite in 2023. The satellite, which is equipped with a four-square-meter solar sail, is intended to demonstrate the wireless transmission of energy. Several prototypes have already demonstrated this at Caltech, and now it should also work in space.

The university is not the only one that is currently researching such a process after NASA discontinued its own project for cost reasons after the turn of the millennium. The Naval Research Laboratory of the US Navy launched its own prototype into space last year, and research into such concepts is also being carried out in China. The publicly announced contract of a Californian start-up to supply power from space by 2016 has meanwhile come to nothing.


To home page