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Caltech to Launch Space Solar Power Technology Demo into Orbit in January

01-03-23

In January 2023, the Caltech Space Solar Power Project (SSPP) is poised to launch into orbit a prototype, dubbed the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD), which will test several key components of an ambitious plan to harvest solar power in space and beam the energy back to Earth. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT Harry Atwater Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino SSPP

Beaming Clean Energy From Space

10-26-22

Once considered science fiction, technology capable of collecting solar power in space and beaming it to Earth to provide a global supply of clean and affordable energy is moving closer to reality. Through the Space-based Solar Power Project (SSPP), a team of Caltech researchers is working to deploy a constellation of modular spacecraft that collect sunlight, transform it into electricity, then wirelessly transmit that electricity wherever it is needed—including to places that currently have no access to reliable power. "This is an extraordinary and unprecedented project," says Harry Atwater, Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science; Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director, Liquid Sunlight Alliance. "It exemplifies the boldness and ambition needed to address one of the most significant challenges of our time, providing clean and affordable energy to the world." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights MedE MCE Harry Atwater Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

Student-Led Lunar Architecture Team Named Finalist in NASA Competition for Second Consecutive Year

04-12-22

Caused by collisions from asteroids, comets, and other astronomical objects, lunar craters give our moon its characteristic pockmarked façade. These craters hold the materials necessary for building sustained human settlements on the moon. Accessing the materials inside lunar craters is no easy task. NASA seeks new ways of getting around the moon that do not rely on wheels. The agency's Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge asks university teams to go beyond wheeled rovers and create new solutions to the problem of traversing lunar craters. A team of more than 30 Caltech undergraduates in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science is among seven 2022 BIG Idea finalists. [Caltech story]

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Space Solar Power Initiative

04-28-15

Caltech and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a $17.5 million sponsored research agreement for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). The initiative will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission. "The Space Solar Power Initiative brings together electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers in the type of profound interdisciplinary collaboration that is seamlessly enhanced at a small place like Caltech... We are working on extremely difficult problems that could eventually provide the world with new, and very cost-competitive technology for sustainable energy,” said EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] [Northrop Grumman Release]

Tags: APhMS EE energy research highlights GALCIT Harry Atwater Ares Rosakis Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

Four Caltech Professors Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

02-05-15

Professors Harry AtwaterMorteza GharibGuruswami Ravichandran, and Robert Grubbs have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Atwater was elected for contributions to plasmonics. Professor Gharib was elected for contributions to fluid flow diagnostics and imagery, and engineering of bioinspired devices and phenomena. Professor Ravichandran was elected for contributions to mechanics of dynamic deformation, damage, and failure of engineering materials. Professor Grubbs was elected for developments in catalysts that have enabled commercial products.

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Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT MedE MCE Harry Atwater Guruswami Ravichandran Morteza Gharib National Academy of Engineering Robert Grubbs Dan Goebel Graeme Stephens Vigor Yang