Image depicts Space Solar Power Incremental and Demonstrations Research (SSPIDR) project to beam solar power from space to Earth. SSPIDR consists of several small-scale flight experiments that will mature technology needed to build a prototype solar power distribution system.
Credit: Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

A U.S. military space plane is being used to flight validate how best to gather the Sun’s energy for power beaming from Earth orbit. In mid-March, the classified mission of the U.S. Space Force X-37B robotic space plane winged past 300 days in Earth orbit.

Also known as Orbital Test Vehicle-6, the craft carries what is called the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module Flight Experiment, or simply dubbed as PRAM-FX.

PRAM-FX is a Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) experiment that’s investigating transforming solar power into radio frequency (RF) microwave energy. PRAM-FX is a 12-inch square tile that collects solar energy and converts it to RF microwave power.

For more details, go to my new SPACE.com story:

“Space-based solar power getting key test aboard US military’s mysterious X-37B space plane…and some preliminary results are already in” at:

https://www.space.com/x-37b-space-plane-solar-power-beaming

 

Leave a Reply