Robert Laine, Astrium’s chief technology officer, acknowledges however that there are still some big challenges to be overcome.
“Today, we will be limited in power by the size of the laser we can build. That’s a prime limitation,” he said.
Demonstrator (EADS Astrium)
The concept would need to be proven with a demonstration mission
“On the receive side, the conversion of this infrared energy into electricity – that’s something which is progressing very fast and we are working with the University of Surrey [in the UK] to develop converters.
“The principle is to get a very high efficiency of conversion of the infrared [laser light] into electricity. If we achieve 80% then it’s a real winner.”