space-based solar power
China intends to use its newly-completed Tiangong space station to test key technologies required for space-based polar power.
While concepts for space-based solar power plants have been around for decades, the economics have not added up. That could be changing with the advent of renewable rockets and advancing in-orbit assembly capabilities.
The European Space Agency will seek funding this fall for a feasibility study of space-based solar power, the latest sign of support for a concept that still faces significant technical and financial challenges.
China's Xidian University has completed what it calls the world’s first full-link and full-system ground test system for space-based solar power.
China is planning solar power generation and transmission tests at different orbital altitudes over the next decade as part of a phased development of a space-based solar power station.
Space-based solar power is an idea that has been studied for decades. But even though the United States was a pioneer in this technology, government interest in taking it from the lab to orbit has been tepid at best. The U.S. military is now trying to revive the effort.
A satellite solar panel designed by Northrop Grumman to harvest energy in space to be beamed back to Earth performed successfully in lab tests, AFRL announced Dec. 21
The National Natural Science Foundation of China has outlined a five-year project for researchers to study the assembly of ultra-large spacecraft.
Hefty technological obstacles remain, but space-based solar power’s potential to provide clean, inexhaustible energy warrants a concerted public research and development effort.