Orbital Composites And Virtus Solis Join Forces For Space-Based Solar Power Mission


Advanced manufacturing startup Orbital Composites has announced a partnership with Virtus Solis Technologies to conduct a space-based solar power demonstration by 2027. This collaboration aims to pave the way for a “megawatt-class” solar power installation in space by 2030, signifying a significant advancement in renewable energy.

Key Takeaway

The collaboration between Orbital Composites and Virtus Solis Technologies aims to demonstrate the practicality of space-based solar power as a reliable and perpetual energy source, marking a significant milestone in renewable energy development.

Exploring Space-Based Solar Power

Space-based solar power (SBSP) has long been an intriguing concept. With the sun emitting an abundance of energy, proponents of SBSP argue that it offers continuous and plentiful energy collection, free from the constraints of the day-night cycle and land use limitations experienced by ground-based solar power systems.

The joint mission by Orbital Composites and Virtus Solis Technologies is poised to tackle the challenges associated with SBSP. The endeavor involves the deployment of expensive solar panels in medium Earth orbit, followed by their robotic assembly into large arrays. This ambitious project will also showcase Orbital’s robotic in-space assembly capabilities, presenting a unique set of technical hurdles.

Unlocking a New Source of Clean Energy

The vision behind this collaboration is compelling, as it seeks to unlock a new source of abundant clean energy for Earth. Virtus Solis Technologies plans to deploy its 1.65-meter solar tiles in medium Earth orbit, where they will be assembled into large arrays using robotic technology. The companies are targeting a highly elliptical orbit known as a Molniya orbit, ensuring that at least one satellite remains within view of a ground station at all times.

Once the solar power is collected, it will be converted to microwaves and transmitted to the ground. Upon reaching the ground, the transmitted energy will be converted to electricity, ready for integration into the power grid or for direct use.

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