China: The Long March 9 and Long Term Planning

President Kennedy Addresses Congress May 25, 1961
(Photo from NASA Commons on Flickr)

China plans to use a new super heavy-lift rocket currently under development to construct a massive space-based solar power station in geostationary orbit.

by Andrew Jones in June 28, 2021 Space News

The American four-year political cycle dissipates tremendous amounts of energy and opportunity like so much waste heat. Right, wrong or indifferent, when the first acts of every new administration are to undo the efforts of the previous administration in some made-for-television show of power and bravado, truly important projects like space-based solar power (SBSP), which require long-term planning and commitment, may literally never get off the ground for the citizens of the United States.

Without the authority to enter into international treaties, the private sector probably can’t implement SBSP on its own. Without the incentive to plan and execute outside of the four-year political cycle, the government probably can’t implement SBSP on it’s own.

Does logic suggest that a public-private partnership will be required to develop and implement SBSP for Americans? Do we have to rely on Congress to create that partnership? Spurring Congress to that meaningful action might fall on the shoulders of all Citizens for Space Based Solar Power.

Read the full Space News article:
China’s super heavy rocket to construct space-based solar power station

AFRL SSPIDR – Space Power Beaming

Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research Project (SSPIDR)

Earth Day 2021 was celebrated with the highlighting of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) efforts to test, develop and implement space-based solar power to eliminate current supply chain risks and provide power directly to U.S. expeditionary forces.

The now ubiquitous Global Positioning System (GPS) was originally developed for military applications and has evolved into a multi-use system that is used every day by the general public. The development of space-based solar power is sure to follow a similar path into peacetime use by the entire planet.

SSPIDR is a series of Integrated Demonstrations and Technology Maturation efforts at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate to address space-based power collection and transmission capabilities.

https://afresearchlab.com/technology/successstories/space-power-beaming/

Space-based solar power won’t be just a sci-fi dream forever, if things go according to the U.S. Air Force’s plans.

https://www.space.com/space-based-solar-power-air-force-sspidr-project

Space Solar Power has been internationally recognized as a foundational capability in need of development.

https://ladailypost.com/earth-day-feature-beaming-solar-power-from-satellite-array/

Space Security and Space Solar Power

ISS030-E-020039 (26 Dec. 2011) — This busy night time panorama was photographed by one of the Expedition 30 crew members from the International Space Station on Dec. 26, 2011. Comet Lovejoy streaks through the star-filled sky just to the right of center. The land mass is the coast of Chile, looking southeast, with several coastal cities in the capital city region near Santiago. A 28-mm focal length was used to record the image.

“I have often suggested that given humanity’s increasing and irreversible dependence on outer space for daily human needs, space will either be safe for all or for none.”

Nayef Al-Rodhan

The future of space based solar power is dependent on solving technical, financial and political issues. Could the security of outer space end up being the most difficult issue of all? Perhaps the collective need of all humankind for a virtually unlimited source of clean energy can be the catalyst for geopolitical agreement on a peaceful use of outer space.

What will space security look like in 2021?

The article, published in The Space Review and linked above, summarizes the current positions of the United States, our allies and our competitors in outer space. In a rather ominous summary, the author asks if space will ultimately be safe for all … or for none.

Is Space Solar Power Headed for Cislunar Space?

STS097-376-019 (7 December 2000) — A close-up view of the P6 solar array on the International Space Station (ISS), backdropped against the blackness of space and the Earth’s horizon. The P6 solar array is the first of eight sets of solar arrays that at the completion of the space station construction in 2006, will comprise the station’s electrical power system, converting sunlight to electricity.

C-SBSP has long believed that space-based solar power (SBSP) hardware should be manufactured in space, away from the deep gravity well of Planet Earth. Perhaps a cislunar application for SBSP will provide the impetus needed for the United States to develop the required space-based mining / refining, space-based manufacturing and space-based assembly technologies.

AFRL Ponders Solar Power Beaming for Lunar Patrol Sat

The article, published in Breaking Defense and linked above, explains how a novel satellite might just be an early consumer of space-based solar power.

Power Beaming & Space Solar Innovation by Dr. Paul Jaffe, PhD

Move energy, not mass.

This hour-long presentation by Dr. Paul Jaffee, PhD, of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory on July 30, 2020 is a comprehensive look at the past, present and future of power beaming and space based solar power. Power beaming is an integral part of space based solar power, and also has standalone terrestrial and space-based applications.

This video was livestreamed by the Homeland Defense & Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC). The original podcast and links to additional resources highlighted by Dr. Jaffe may be found at:

https://www.hdiac.org/podcast/power-beaming/

Space Solar Power Demo Headed for Orbit on X-37B OTV

The sixth mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is scheduled to launch on May 16, 2020. As reported by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, aboard will be an experiment from the the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory will transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could then be transmitted to the ground. Link to the full U.S. Space Force article is below.

Hat tip to Elisa Shebaro for posting this article on her FB page and letting us know!

Encapsulated X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle for United States Space Force-7 mission (Courtesy of Boeing)

Here’s a link to an additional “X-37B’s Next Mission To Demo Space-Based Solar Power” article from the Breaking Defense website:

LEctenna on ISS

Hearing NASA Astronaut, Jessica Meir say “space-based solar power arrays … incredible option in the future providing clean energy to power the world.” in this video (@3:14) from onboard the International Space Station literally brought me to tears.

As you all know, I’ve been an advocate of SBSP for years, just trying to make other citizens aware of this gamechanging clean energy technology.

Hat tip to Elisa Shebaro for posting this video on her FB page!

NASA 2020: A Year of Action

A good summary of NASA programs in 2020 and beyond. Still no mention of space-based solar power, but it’s good to see plans for the Artemis program moving forward. The establishment of a lunar base will provide a foundation for the development of lunar mining and manufacturing operations that could support a space-based solar power effort.

Happy Artemis Day – 12/09/2019

From the NASA Explore newsletter:

On Monday, Dec. 9, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine showed off the Space Launch System’s 212-foot-tall rocket core stage that will send our first Artemis mission to space. The core stage, built at America’s “Rocket Factory” – NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility – in New Orleans, is the largest we have produced since the Apollo Program.

The milestone marks a new chapter in the Artemis story as we work to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.