NRL Conducts First Test of Solar Power Satellite Hardware in Orbit


Image of the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module (PRAM) with a 12-inch ruler for scale. The hardware is the first orbital experiment designed to convert sunlight for microwave power transmission for solar power satellites. (Image Courtesy of U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

Posted: June 01, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Naval Research Laboratory engineers launched PRAM, the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module, aboard an Air Force X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle on May 17 as part of a comprehensive investigation into prospective terrestrial use of solar energy captured in space.

“To our knowledge, this experiment is the first test in orbit of hardware designed specifically for solar power satellites, which could play a revolutionary role in our energy future,” said Paul Jaffe, PRAM principal investigator.

The 12-inch square tile module will test the ability to harvest power from its solar panel and transform the energy to a radio frequency microwave.


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