Artist’s impression of a solar power satellite
Credit: European SPS Tower concept



The European Space Agency has opened a new call for ideas for space-based solar power – on the lookout for novel system concepts for applications on Earth, the Moon, or Mars.

“The potential of this concept to contribute to long-term sustainable energy is very high,” explains ESA Engineer Advenit Makaya, who is leading the hunt for ideas.

“Not only would it generate clean energy, it would also be very flexible – it could be integrated into power grids on Earth, but also used for exploration missions,” Makaya explains in a statement regarding the call for ideas.

Credit: ESA

Open space innovation

This call for ideas is the latest to be run by the Discovery element of ESA’s Basic Activities on the Open Space Innovation Platform.

As with all calls for ideas run by ESA Discovery, the most novel ideas will be invited to submit a full proposal for a system study, early technology development activity, or co-funded research.

Moon rovers could be powered using solar power satellites, even during the lunar night.
Credit: Fernando Gandía GMV

Wanted: concepts, methods, technologies, ideas

For this Campaign, ESA is specifically looking for new ideas in any of the following categories:

— Novel system concepts for space-based solar power stations for applications on Earth, the Moon, or Mars.

— Novel subsystem concepts or technologies with the potential to substantially increase the technical or economic feasibility of space-based solar power, with regards to any of the points listed in the section above.

— Novel methods of scaling and integrating space-based solar power into energy grids.

— Novel ideas that use the opportunities offered by in-space construction (use of in-space resources, elimination of launch constraints in terms of e.g. mass, size, structural requirements, volume, etc).

— New concepts for precursor in-space demonstrations.

Further information

This Campaign is open for submissions by participants registered in one of ESA’s Member States, Associate Member States or Cooperating States.

The call is open until October 30th, with more information found here:

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