Quantum Energy for Space

UAH-P-11010-Quantum Energy for Space

Docket: UAH-P-11010


One of the factors that ended the space shuttle program was the soaring cost of lifting a large amount of mass into orbit in a short time.

Researchers at UAH have designed a strategy for collecting solar energy, transforming that energy to coherent light, and delivering that coherent light in forms useful for propulsive thrust, as needed within near Earth space.

There is a long development path to realizing cost reductions. The spacecraft designer does, however, gain access not only to the precision in space and time permitted by quantum phenomena, but also other capabilities. One novel capability is the potential to generate optical energy densities eighteen orders of magnitude higher than that of ambient sunlight.

The proposed spacecraft configurations also offer means of delivering energy continuously to other spacecraft seeking to accelerate to orbital velocity near the edge of space. This means of providing energy continuously from space to an ascending spacecraft over an extended period of time might eventually be useful in reducing the cost of lift to orbit.


  • Space Shuttle program


  • Reduces fuel consumption
  • Energy efficient
  • Alternative revenue stream from the bio-butanol byproduct


  • State of Development: Proof of concept
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented