The research engineers from the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering may just have found a breakthrough in harnessing solar power in space. Project Suaineadh was an important experiment conducted last month that demonstrated how large structures can be built on a light-weight spinning web. Under this space web experiment, the engineers launched a rocket from the Arctic Circle to serve as a platform for solar panels to collect the energy and allow it to be transferred back to earth through microwaves or lasers.
Dr. Massimiliano Vasilem who is leading this research team says that after the success of project Suaineadh, now they are looking at the reflectors needed to collect the solar power. Therefore, the current project called as SAM (Self-inflating Adaptable Membrane) is testing a cellular structure that can inflate through nanopumps in the vacuum of space after it is deployed. This ultra-light, inflated material will act as a solar concentrator to collect the sunlight and project it on solar arrays.
University of Strathclyde research engineers are trying to develop innovative solutions for the structural elements and new solutions for orbit and orbit control. Their project is in collaboration with NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) study led by Dr John Mankins of Artemis Innovation and also involves American researchers, and a Japanese team, led by Professor Nobuyuki Kaya of the University of Kobe, a world leader in wireless power transmission.
We all know that space is an abundant resource of collecting solar power and transmitting it wirelessly to remotest of areas regardless of the time of the day or indeed the weather conditions. Hence, we are looking forward to more and more of such projects.
Via: University of Strathclyde