The Use of Solar Power in the Space Age

Solar power is a fantastic way to harness the energy from the sun and use it to power our own homes and businesses. More and more people are going to companies like this solar panels Cheltenham based company to get their homes powered by solar energy, as it is not only a more environmentally friendly option but also can save you money on your energy bills too.

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However, solar technology is not new – it has been used for decades by spacecraft, and has helped to power various spacecraft and satellites, as well as the international space station. Of course, hooking up to a power supply is not possible in space, so a spacecraft needs to be able to generate its own power if it is going to spend a long time outside of earth’s atmosphere.

In 1958, the USA launched the satellite Vanguard I and this was the first spacecraft that was launched into space that used solar power. It was a tiny object, but successfully used solar panels to power its range of instruments.

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The Russian Soyuz spacecraft also successfully utilised solar power throughout their missions in the 1960s – whilst in the USA, they moved away from solar power, with none of the manned missions, Mercury, Gemini or Apollo utilising solar power.

However, the shift back to solar is now something that is happening once again and Elon Musk’s SpaceX programme is now making the most of the power of the sun once again to power the American space transport vehicles.

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