The Caltech Space Solar Power Project (SSPP) launched a demonstrator platform into space on January 3, 2023. The purpose of the platform is to test three key elements of the plan to develop a constellation of modular spacecraft that collect solar power and beam the energy back to Earth:
- DOLCE, which will test the design and deployment mechanisms for a lightweight, foldable structure that supports the solar panels and power transmitters;
- ALBA, testing the efficiency and robustness of different types of photovoltaic (P) cells; and
- MAPLE a flexible array of microwave power transmitters with precise timing control capable of transmitting power precisely and efficiently.
If successful, space solar power would be a pipeline to a constant and practically unlimited supply of energy.