China working on wireless charging for rockets
As wireless charging technology improves, small electronic devices such as mobile phones and electric toothbrushes can now be charged without any direct access to a power source.
China's space scientists are now exploring ways of using the same wireless charging systems in rocket design.
According to Liu Fei, the project manager at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, dozens of devices in any rocket, including the control system and telemetry, still need to be connected with the power sources by cable.
"Cables weighing hundreds of kilograms form a huge network with a wide variety of hidden dangers and a multitude of potential problems," Liu said.
Transceivers on each battery and device will create a highway for transmission of both data and power.
Liu noted that compared with small electronic products, wireless power supplies and information transmission in rockets are a very much more complicated business.
"One battery needs to supply power to all devices through electromagnetic induction, but each device has a different working mode. Our task is to reduce interference for better reliability and security," Liu said.
According to CALT, once the wireless technology is mature, the weight of a rocket will be reduced by at least one hundred kilograms, which means an extra hundred kilograms of payload.
"We have completed the ground tests and expect to use the wireless technology within two years while expanding into other fields such as robotics and satellites," Liu said.