Astrobotic Project Focuses on Wireless Power Transfer on the Moon

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA will a project by Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh to develop wireless transmission for power systems whose mechanical connections would be prone to getting clogged with lunar dust.

The space agency selected the project for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The phase I grant is worth up to $1250,000 over six months.

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Mitsubishi Completes SSPS Wireless Transmission Test

Mitsubishi wireless power transmission system. (Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)
Mitsubishi wireless power transmission system. (Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)

TOKYO, March 12, 2015 (MHI PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has conducted ground demonstration testing of “wireless power transmission,” a new technology presently under development to serve as the core technology of the space solar power systems (SSPS) that are expected to be the power generation systems of the future. With successful completion of the test at the company’s Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, MHI has now verified the viability of long-distance wireless power transmission.

In the ground demonstration test, 10 kilowatts (kW) of power was sent from a transmitting unit by microwave. The reception of power was confirmed at a receiver unit located at a distance of 500 meters (m) away by the illumination of LED lights, using part of power transmitted. The transmission distance and power load mark new milestones in Japan with respect to length and volume of wireless power transmission. The testing also confirmed the performance of the advanced control system technology used to regulate the direction of the microwave beam so that it does not veer from the targeted receiver unit.

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Astronauts Experiment With Wireless Power Transfer on ISS

ISS_SPHERES_Mike_Hopkins
Astronaut Mike Hopkins Checks Out SPHERES-RINGS

In the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory, NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, Expedition 37 flight engineer, conducts a session with a pair of bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. Surrounding the two SPHERES mini-satellites is ring-shaped hardware known as the Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System, or RINGS. SPHERES-RINGS seeks to demonstrate wireless power transfer between satellites at a distance for enhanced operations.











NSS to Announce “Ground-Breaking” Wireless Space Solar Power Findings

PowerSat's plans for beaming energy from space

NSS PR — Washington, D.C. — The National Space Society (NSS) will hold a press conference on November 14, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to announce the findings of a ground-breaking space solar power study conducted by the prestigious International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).

“With space solar power technology, energy can be collected from space and transmitted wirelessly anywhere in the world,” said Mark Hopkins, the leading Executive Officer of the National Space Society. “This technology could be the answer to our energy crisis. We look forward to sharing the results of the IAA’s study, and exploring the potential that space solar power has for creating thousands of green energy jobs,” he added.

This event is free and open to the public. Members of the press are encouraged to attend.