Nuburu awarded NASA contract to develop power beaming technology
Nuburu's blue laser technology could be used to transmit power at lunar or planetary bases, saving on expensive wire transportation costs (Image: Shutterstock/Dotted Yeti)
Nuburu has been awarded a NASA contract to demonstrate the feasibility of power beaming in space using its high-power, high-brightness blue diode lasers.
Power beaming – the point-to-point transfer of electrical energy using light – is a technology that has only recently begun to come of age. It could be used to mitigate the high costs associated with transporting copper or aluminium wires to lunar and planetary bases, or even send power between satellites.
The NASA contract has been awarded through the agency's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme, which funds the research, development, and demonstration of innovative technologies that fulfil NASA’s needs and have significant potential for successful commercialisation.
“Power beaming is one of the only effective and economical solutions to the power management challenges facing NASA and other space operators today,” said Mark Zediker, CEO of Nuburu. “Powered by our Blue Laser technology, the system we are developing will provide a unique solution that dramatically reduces the size and weight of the equipment needed to meet regular mission needs.”
During the initial phase of the project, Nuburu will focus its efforts on establishing the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of its technology. From there, the company aims to create a qualified, commercially viable solution to tackle this ongoing problem and continue to develop innovative space-qualified hardware.
The three-phase process will begin with a six-month idea generation period, followed by a two-year prototype development phase that then leads to commercialisation.
In addition to tackling the core business challenges associated with power transmission, Nuburu’s laser technology could provide visual guidance to astronauts due to the scatter off either the fine regolith powder suspended above the moon’s surface or the Rayleigh Scattering off the Martian atmosphere and thus creating a guided highway across these surfaces. Nuburu’s blue laser power beaming system will also be equipped with a high bandwidth laser communication link, ensuring laser safety and enabling data transmission between widely spaced habitats.