NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed technology that uses inductive power transfer (IPT) for wireless power interfaces between spaceflight elements (such as the payload, vehicle, and pad). Current spaceflight systems require traditional hardwire connections for power interfaces. This introduces risk of failure due to such factors as bent pins and contact contamination, as well as other disadvantages.
IPT enables power interfaces that do not require physical access or interconnection. It also provides power interfaces that are more reliable and safer than traditional, hardwire connections. IPT also enables contamination-proof interfaces for terrestrial and non-terrestrial applications. The external support equipment includes a rectifier module, DC voltage regulator, and 208-Volt/480-Volt contactor or inverter for primary supply. The IPT device has no moving parts to wear out; the PSA's unit is encased in stainless steel. It is water- and oil-tight and there is no maintenance required.
The IPT transmitters/receivers are used for a wide range of power interfaces, including (but not limited to) pad to launch vehicle, vehicle to payload, launch vehicle stages, spacesuit to suit “ports,” and power supplies and equipment deployed on extraterrestrial surfaces.