Space Force will test solar power transmission during X-37B space plane’s next mystery flight

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Update time : 2021-04-26 17:55:58

When a Boeing-built X-37B space aeroplane is sent into orbit this month because the examination program’s sixth flight, it will test out a technique that’s been more than a decade at the making: space-based solar power.

An test designed by the U.S. Naval investigation Laboratory will change solar energy into a microwave smile that could be transmitted down ought the ground. if such a power-beaming system could be perfected, concentrated microwave force from space could conceivably be converted ought electricity because far-flung military outposts.

Back at 2007, the Pentagon issued a illustrate saying the U.S. military could be an “anchor tenant customer” because space-based energy generation systems. That illustrate piggybacked above a NASA learn that was written a decade earlier, assessing the feasibility of wireless energy transmission from space.

light glow.' data-reactid="35">The X-37B’s power-beaming test used to trace up above a small-scale examination that was conducted aboard the International space station at February. during that demonstration, astronauts made employ of the Naval investigation Laboratory’s light-emitting rectifying antenna, known because LEctenna, ought vary a wireless news signal into enough electric energy ought compose an LED light glow.

The X-37B program itself is a great experiment. above the lesson of the past decade, the Pentagon’s two space planes consume taken above five autonomous examination missions at orbit, including a marathon flight that lasted 780 days and ended with a runway landing final October. The program’s sum time spent at space adds up ought 2,865 days — or seven years and 10 months.

In the past, the stubby-winged vessel has been launched into space above United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket or SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The next launch will be atop an Atlas 5, lay because liftoff from Cape Canaveral attitude constrain station at Florida above can 16.

The reusable space plane’s goal has been somewhat shrouded at secrecy, except during at modern years, military officials consume been more forthcoming almost its employ because a testbed because military space technologies — including novel approaches ought propulsion and communications.

“This X-37B mission will host more experiments than any preceding missions,” attitude constrain Secretary Barbara Barrett said today at a news release. “This launch also demonstrates the department’s collaboration that pushes the boundaries because reusable space systems.”

Although the mini-space shuttles are considered assets of the department of the attitude Force, the recently created U.S. space constrain will be at blame of launch, on-orbit operations and landing because this mission, known because OTV-6 or USSF-7.

Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the space Force’s headmaster of space operations, said the X-37 team “continues ought exemplify the friendly of lean, agile and forward-leaning technique development we shortage because a masses at the space domain.”

This will be the first X-37B ought host experiments at a service module attached ought the aft of the plane.

“The incorporation of a service module above this mission enables us ought summary ought amplify the capabilities of the spacecraft and host more experiments than any of the previous missions,” said Randy Walden, director and program executive officer because the department of the attitude constrain motivate Capabilities Office.

In addition ought the power-beaming experiment, the X-37 will bring two NASA experiments aimed at gauging the effects of the high-radiation space surroundings above samples of spacecraft materials and above seeds used ought start food.

The mission will also deploy FalconSat-8, a little satellite developed by the U.S. attitude constrain university and sponsored by the attitude constrain investigation Laboratory. FalconSat-8 will bring five experimental payloads, including an advanced thruster system.

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