Shown here, from left to right: Amolak Badesha, Orbital Composites co-founder and CEO, Virtus Solis investor Dave Jackson, Virtus Solis CEO John Bucknell and Cole Nielsen, Orbital Composites co-founder and chief technology officer.

BALTIMORE – Silicon Valley startup Orbital Composites and Michigan-based Virtus Solis Technologies announced plans Feb. 1 to conduct a 2027 space-based solar power demonstration.

The demonstration is destined for medium-Earth orbit, where Earth’s atmosphere will not interfere with “continuous solar power generation,” according to the news release.

Amolak Badesha, Orbital Composites co-founder and CEO, declined to comment on the cost of the planned demonstration.

“We’re on a mission to harness space for renewable energy, contributing to global decarbonization efforts and widening access to affordable, clean electricity,” Badesha said in a statement. “Our partnership with Virtus Solis is a significant stride towards pioneering sustainable space-based technologies.”

Space-Based Demonstration

The 2027 mission is designed to showcase critical power-generation technologies including in-space assembly of solar panels and transmission of more than one kilowatt to Earth. The news release calls the 2027 mission “a precursor to large-scale commercial megawatt-class solar installations in space by 2030.”

Virtus Solis, founded in 2019, intends to deploy 1.65-meter solar tiles in a medium-Earth Molniya orbit. Through robotic assembly, Virtus Solis intends to build expansive arrays.

Virtus Solis CEO John Bucknell said that the combination of his company’s architectural innovation combined with Orbital Composites’ advanced manufacturing expertise would “unlock a future of limitless, sustainable power, both in space and on Earth.”

“The success of the pilot plant will validate the practicality of [space-based solar power] as a reliable and perpetual energy source,” Bucknell said in a statement.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...