Space Solar Power Initiative Established by Northrop Grumman and Caltech

Northrop Grumman's Joseph Ensor (left) and Caltech's Ares Rosakis (right) shake hands as part of the recent SSPI commemoration event held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

Northrop Grumman’s Joseph Ensor (left) and Caltech’s Ares Rosakis (right) at the SPI commemoration event held at Caltech

A new academic and industry partnership aims to design a space-based solar power system to generate electric power that is cheap enough to compete with grid-connected fossil fuel power plants. Northrop Grumman Corporation is sponsoring a team from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to develop the technology. The private security company will provide up to $17.5 million to support the university’s work over the next three years. The project, called the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI), focuses on three key areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics, ultralight deployable space structures, and phased array and power transmission.

Caltech’s Division of Engineering and Applied Science is building specialized laboratory facilities to support a team of electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers. The team of 50 will work together to build prototypes and conduct experiments to find innovative technology for new kinds of sustainable energy. “The potential breakthroughs from this research could have extensive applications across a number of related power use challenges.” said Joseph Ensor, vice president and general manager, Space Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems, Northrop Grumman.

Source: Northrop Grumman

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