Solar Power Satellites Issue – Online Journal of Space Communication

This Issue #16 – Solar Power Satellites is the most comprehensive set of articles I have seen in one place addressing all aspects of space-based solar power.

“In this issue, the Journal advances the proposition that the next generation of satellite services will be to gather sun’s energy in space and to deliver it to earth as a clean and sustainable source of electrical power. In the 21st century, the need for alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity has become so great that space is now a real option.”

Ralph Nansen, author of ENERGY CRISIS: Solutions from Space, and former Manager of the Solar Power Satellite Program for The Boeing Company is the guest editor for this edition of the Online Journal of Space Communication.

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Space-Based Solar Power Radio Interview

My first exposure to the media as a self-appointed advocate for space-based solar power happened on December 28, 2007 on Dot Blum’s Atlanta radio show, Bright Spot. After many nights of preparation, the hour went by quickly and a few more citizens have now heard about space-based solar power and its potential to lead the way to energy independence for America and our allies.

If you missed the live broadcast of the show, you can listen to it right here! I would be grateful for your comments and suggestions on this interview.

Space-Based Solar Power Interview

If you have visited C-SBSP recently, you might wonder if I have taken a sabbatical. On the contrary, I have been studying and preparing to be interviewed about space-based solar power on Dot Blum’s Atlanta radio show, “Bright Spot”. The show will air live on Friday, December 28, 2007 from 3 to 4 p.m. on AM 1620 and will be available a few days later on the station’s website, www.radiosandysprings.com. Below is a list of questions I will attempt to answer and do justice to the cause of space-based solar power.

Space-Based Solar Power Interview Questions

  • Why is energy independence for our country so important?
  • What is space-based solar power?
  • How does space-based solar power compare with other energy sources?
  • Are you saying we should focus only on space-based solar power?
  • What are the main hurdles to developing and deploying space-based solar power?
  • Who should be responsible for developing space-based solar power?
  • Who should be the first customers for space-based solar power?
  • Are there other reasons you believe we should be developing space-based solar power?
  • Where to you see space-based solar power over the next 100 years?
  • What made you decide to become an advocate for space-based solar power?
  • Why did you start the website “Citizens for Space Based Solar Power”?
  • What information is on the website “Citizens for Space Based Solar Power”?
  • What do you want other citizens to do to support space-based solar power?

Response to SBSP Questions

In response to some questions about the feasibility and environmental impact of space-based solar power in a recent Tech Support Forum thread, I posted the following:

Thanks for taking the time to raise some good questions about space-based solar power. Here’s an attempt to provide a reasonable response and additional resources:The feasibility study released by the NSSO addressed these questions which others were asking, too. I agree that hope is not a plan, which is why I believe we need to encourage our political leaders to organize a well defined, long-range plan to acheive energy independence. SBSP offers a long-term solution to fossil fuels, the burning of which release a tremendous amount of CO2. To risk stating the obvious, our fossil fuel reserves are finite and will eventually run out.

The SBSP Study Group found that “to the extent the United States decides it wishes to limit its carbon emissions, SBSP offers a potential path for long-term carbon mitigation.” On page 14 of the study, the supporting statement is:

“Studies by Asakura et al in 2000 suggest that SBSP lifetime carbon emissions (chiefly in construction) are even more attractive than nuclear power, and that for the same amount of carbon emission, one could install 60 times the generating capacity, or alternately, one could replace existing generating capacity with 1/60th the lifetime carbon emission of a coal‐fired plant without CO2 sequestration.”

While energy will probably never be “cheap” again, I think the goal should be “affordable” … and available to everyone.

As far as efforts to develop additional capabilities in space, such as low cost and reliable access to space, in a recent Space Review article, Taylor Dinerman stated “Any dramatic change in the cost of access to orbit will have huge effects on the world’s military and economic balance of power. The US cannot afford not to be the nation where that breakthrough is made.”

I can’t agree more.