The U.S. Space Force, is scheduled to launch the sixth mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6) on May 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory will transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could then be transmitted to the ground.
Patrick Tucker reports:
A 1-square-foot solar panel will try to convert solar radiation to regular DC current and then into microwaves and sent via cable to a box to measure, a first in space, said Paul Jaffe, an electronics engineer at the Naval Research Lab. The experiment could pave the way for much larger solar arrays that might someday generate enough power to send useful amounts to the ground (if funding continues.)
The mission will deploy the FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory to conduct several experiments on orbit. The FalconSat-8 is an educational platform that will carry five experimental payloads for USAFA to operate.
Two National Aeronautics and Space Administration experiments will be included to study the results of radiation and other space effects on a materials sample plate and seeds used to grow food.
The X-37B program completed its fifth mission in October 2019, landing after 780 days on orbit, extending the total number of days spent on orbit for the spacecraft to 2,865 – or seven years and 10 months.
SOURCES- Defense One, Space Force
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com