On March 2, 2016, the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and USAID director held a competition to uncover the very best ideas for improving planet Earth. Of over 500 ideas submitted, six teams were selected to present their vision for the future. The Space Solar Proposal Team won four of seven awards: Innovation, Presentation, Collaboration, People’s Choice.
Here is the winning D3 Space Solar Proposal (D3SSP) Presentation, presented by Dr. Paul Jaffe, Electronics Engineer and Integration and Test Section Head, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory:
Learn more about this winning proposal at the D3SSP website. There, you will be able to read about:
A friend of mine just sent me a copy of the invitation to the May 22 AIAA Atlanta Dinner Meeting, where Darel Preble, president of the Space Solar Power Institute, is going to present “Space Solar Power – A Strategic Overview”.
I hope many of my former co-workers attend the dinner and learn about the potential of space-based solar power to be a game-changing technology in our energy future. In a partnership with Georgia Tech, Lockheed Martin seems like such a good fit for leading the United States in the commercial development of space-based solar power. They build rockets and satellites, do very large scale systems development and integration, conduct research green energy technologies . . . and they like to make money!
Lockheed Martin should be a charter member of the proposed public-private Sunsat Corporation, and lead the way to our energy future. There certainly is precedent for such a venture, e.g. the Railroad Act of 1862 and the Communications Satellite Act of 1962. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait until 2062 to see a Sunsat Act come to fruition.
The dinner meeting will be at Scalini’s, one of my favorite Atlanta-area Italian restaurants!
NASA’s new overarching goal should be to lead the joint public-private development and deployment of space-based solar power as a baseload power source. It’s a goal that would encompass many other technologies (non-rocket launch methods, AI-based robotic assembly in space, mining of lunar and NEO resources, lunar base operations, energy conversion and transmission methods, etc.) and inspire young people get advanced educations and be a part of making the planet a better place for everyone, much like the Apollo program did.
The unique aspect of NASA adopting space-based solar power as an overarching goal is that the long-term result would be a revenue positive system owned and operated by the United States of America. We would become a net exporter of clean, virtually unlimited energy.
Prohibitive launch costs are cited as the primary roadblock to space-based solar power today. Let’s come up with an elegant solution, such as a mass driver launch system initially powered by terrestrial solar power and eventually powered by the first space-based solar power satellite. It’s a positive upward spiral. The more power available, the more payload put in orbit and assembled into additional satellites resulting in more power available … and repeat. Once such a self-proliferating system harvests more energy than it uses, the excess energy can be directed into existing or new distribution grids.
I am very pleased to learn about your involvement in the energy future of our planet. I agree that clean, affordable and available energy is the overriding issue for the future development and well being of the entire human race.
My wish is that you will take a serious look at space-based solar power. I believe it can be a game-changing base load power source. When funded, developed and deployed at the required scale, space-based solar power addresses your requirements for zero carbon emissions, ease of distribution, relatively small earth footprint and zero waste generated.
Uranium is a finite resource, though longer range than conventional fossil fuels. Space-based solar power can provide energy to the earth until the sun burns out.
The website Citizens for Space Based Solar Power is one of many places to begin a review of the current state and potential for space-based solar power. You could be the voice this technology has been seeking.
European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) subsidiary Astrium is seeking to scale up ground based demonstrations by getting public agencies and corporations interested in funding an orbital demonstration project. The company is projecting having a 10-20KW demonstrator in orbit, perhaps on the International Space Station, within five years. Astrium engineers are focusing on using infrared lasers to beam the collected energy back to the surface instead of the more traditional microwave beam approach.
This isn’t the first time Aviation Week & Space Technology has reported on space-based solar power, but it is the first time in a while and it may signify an up-tick in activities around the world.
I’ll make my plea once again … U.S. government agencies and private corporations must get on the space-based solar power development path soon or we will be left playing catch-up once again. It seems to me that Lockheed Martin Corporation is the perfect United States’ answer to EADS-Astrium’s efforts on the European continent.
STRATFOR’s founder and CEO George Friedman discusses the push for space-based energy infrastructure after EADS, Europe’s largest space company, announces plans to launch a test satellite with solar panels. Friedman also predicted that space-based solar power will be the planet’s primary source of energy sometime in the next 100 years in his latest book by the same title … “The Next 100 Years”.
This 18 minute TEDx London presentation by Peter Sage of Space Energy presents current information on just about every aspect of Space Based Solar Power. Although my usual sources have been quiet lately, apparently there is a lot still going on towards launching this game-changing and unlimited source of clean, available baseload power.