Space Solar Power Mission on Course

19 January 2010 (Last Updated January 19th, 2010 18:30)

Europe's biggest space company EADS Astrium said it is seeking partners to fly a demonstration solar power mission in orbit. The company said the satellite system would collect the Sun's energy and transmit it to Earth via an infrared laser, to provide electricity. Space solar

Europe's biggest space company EADS Astrium said it is seeking partners to fly a demonstration solar power mission in orbit.

The company said the satellite system would collect the Sun's energy and transmit it to Earth via an infrared laser, to provide electricity.

Space solar power has been a subject of discussion for more than 30 years. However, there have always been question marks over its cost, efficiency and safety, reports the BBC.

But the company said it believes the technology is close to proving its maturity.

“In order to implement a solution, of course, we would need to find partnerships and to invest, to develop operational systems,” EADS chief executive officer Francois, told BBC News.

Those partnerships could comprise space agencies, the EU or national governments and even power companies, Auque is reported to have said.

The amount of energy falling on photovoltaic cells placed in orbit is considerably greater than the same solar panels positioned on the Earth's surface.

In space, the incidence of light is unaffected by clouds, dust or the filtering effects of atmospheric gases.