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NUBURU Contracts with NASA to Trial Blue Laser-Based Power Beaming

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NUBURU will demonstrate the feasibility of using its blue laser technology for power beaming in space following an award from NASA through the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding initiative. NUBURU said it will create a qualified solution that mitigates the high costs associated with transporting copper or aluminum wires that are critical to provide power to lunar or planetary bases in remote locations.

During the initial phase of the project, according to NUBURU, the company will focus on establishing the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of its technology. The company plans to then create a commercially viable product to tackle bottlenecks associated with existing high costs as well as size and weight requirements for the equipment needed for power beaming deployment on the moon and Mars.

Power beaming does not require the transport of mass, which means that energy can be sent almost instantly via the method. Though efforts from agencies including NASA, as well as industry, have reported the feasibility and safety of laser power beaming on Earth, initiatives remain ongoing to bring laser power beaming toward practical implementation in space as a solution for power delivery and management. In March, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory completed its launch of the Space Wireless Energy Laser Link (SWELL) experiment. The yearlong experiment aims to demonstrate laser power beaming in space as part of the scheduled U.S. Department of Defense Space Test Program H9 mission to the International Space Station.

In addition to tackling the core business challenges associated with power transmission, NUBURU said that its laser technology can 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. The company’s blue laser power beaming system will be equipped with a high-bandwidth laser communication link, ensuring laser safety and enabling data transmission between widely spaced habitats, NUBURU said.

NASA’s SBIR program funds the research, development, and demonstration of technologies that fulfill the agency’s needs and have significant potential for successful commercialization. This three-phase process begins with a six-month idea generation period followed by a two-year prototype development phase that then leads to commercialization.

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2023
Businessspaceaerospace & defenselaserspower beaminglaser power beamingoptical power beamingNuburuNASASBIR awardoptical communicationSpace & Defense Systemsblue lasersenergyoptical power deliveryIndustry News

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