This month, the European space company Astrium will test the feasibility of an infrared laser-based transmission system in Germany. "We are simply looking to demonstrate transfer of power by laser in an eye-safe wavelength, says Matthew Perren, the head of innovation at Astrium. "We're trying to transmit power at wavelengths that our eyes are not sensitive to, so that you can safely walk through the beam or accidentally look at it." In 2016, the company plans to launch a preliminary satellite, outfitted with 500-square-foot solar panels, that will transmit a few kilowatts of power to a ground-based receiver. By 2020, Astrium says, it will be running a satellite that can provide 10 kilowatts, enough to power 10 single-family homes.