Petition: USA Must Lead the Transition to Space-Based Energy

Citizens for Space Based Solar Power has published the following petition, addressed to the President of the United States, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Please go to change.org and sign this petition to send a strong message to the President and to Congress: Take these actions now to transition our nation and the world from dependence on fossil fuels to a virtually unlimited source of clean, sustainable energy.

USA Must Lead the Transition
to Space-Based Energy

Your signature on this petition will have a very real and positive impact on the United States of America and on all future generations of humankind worldwide.

If you doubt this statement, please read on.

The Current Energy Problem

The United States of America faces a looming national energy security threat due to its dependence on a finite supply of fossil fuels.

Humankind worldwide faces an environmental security threat due to its dependence on fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned.

The human desire to improve our standard of living is driving both the United States of America and humankind worldwide to consume more energy per person than ever before.

Worldwide population growth, coupled with increasing energy consumption per person, is increasing the total amount of energy required to sustain humankind worldwide.

There are no terrestrial energy sources, renewable or non-renewable, that can be sustainably scaled to meet the planet’s increasing energy requirements.

The Future Energy Solution

Sustainable, carbon emission free energy from space-based solar power (SBSP) is the solution. Simply put–and challenging to accomplish–SBSP consists of orbiting solar power satellites continuously harvesting the sun’s intense energy in space. The energy is beamed wirelessly to rectifying antennas on the Earth, and then transmitted to existing electrical power grids. Unlike terrestrial renewable energy sources, space-based solar power is nearly infinitely scalable. It is also continuous, so it can supply the planet’s baseload energy requirements.

Space-based solar power is not a new idea. Peter Glaser, an American scientist, obtained U.S. Patent Number US003781647 for SBSP in 1973. Since then, the idea has been studied extensively by NASA, other government agencies, academic groups, private organizations, and individuals. Every technology required for the implementation of SBSP exists, and they are each well understood.

Implementing the Future Energy Solution

Transitioning the United States of America, and eventually, humankind worldwide, to sustainable, carbon emission free space-based energy will require a substantial, coordinated effort, sustained economic investment, and political will. Likely to span the rest of the twenty-first century, commitment to this effort must supersede the short-term nature of two- and four-year election cycles.

*** A CALL TO ACTION ***

Sign this petition and send the following urgent message to the United States Congress, to the President of the United States, and to future congresses and administrations:

Pass and support legislation to ensure national energy security and to protect the worldwide environment by establishing congressionally chartered public-private corporations for space-based energy, space mining, and spacefaring logistics. These corporations shall provide the United States, its allies, and trading partners with sustainable and carbon emission free space-based energy.

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Challenges to Implementing the Future Energy Solution

The United States of America has a proven track record of success with large and difficult challenges, like building a transcontinental railroad, building a national highway system, and creating an extremely successful communications satellite industry.

In 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The following year, the U.S. Congress passed the Space Act and created NASA. In 1961, John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to claim a leadership role in space and land a man on the moon within the decade. In July of 1969, the Apollo 11 spaceflight landed Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon. The Apollo Program went on to send ten more astronauts to walk on the Moon.

Today Japan, China, and India all have active space-based energy development programs.

The main challenges to implementing a successful space-based energy industry can be categorized in three areas.

Technical Challenges

  • Several viable space-based energy concepts have been proposed. The concept for implementation must be downselected through scientific experimentation and prototype testing.
  • The safety of space-based energy, with respect to people, animals, and the environment, must be demonstrated through scientific experimentation and prototype testing.
  • Launch costs to place the required mass of solar power satellites into orbit must be reduced to improve the business case for space-based energy.
  • Advances in commercial launch capabilities, material sciences, robotic assembly methods, and other related technologies must continue to improve the business case for space-based energy.

Economic Challenges

  • The economic effort to implement space-based energy will be substantial, likely requiring a small but significant fraction of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be invested. Initially, a return on that investment will come in the form of new industry and job creation, and spinoff technologies.
  • Sustained investment will likely be required for the remainder of this century.

Political Challenges

  • The commitment to implement space-based energy will likely span the rest of this century. This long-term commitment must supersede the short-term nature of two- and four-year election cycles.
  • A decision must be made as to whether the United States of America will solely take on the challenge of implementing space-based energy, or whether the United States of America will lead a coalition of our allies and trading partners in this effort.
  • Public opinion must be rallied to support the technology of space-based energy, and the economic and political commitments required for its successful implementation.
Resources for Learning More About Space-Based Energy

This is only a small portion of the available space-based energy resources, presented in no particular order. Additional Google and YouTube searches are highly recommended.

D3 Space Solar Proposal – 2016 multi-agency proposal for the U.S. to begin a space-based solar power program

Spacefaring Institute – Dedicated to transforming America into a true, commercial spacefaring nation

Space Solar Power Institute – A non-profit corporation organized to educate the public about space solar power

Space Solar Power Workshop at Georgia Tech – A volunteer workshop researching the details of space solar power

National Space Society – Space Solar Power Resources – A curated library of space solar power related books, articles, studies, websites, videos, and other resources

The Case for Space Solar Power – 2014 book by John C. Mankins that recounts the history of space-based solar power and lays out a path forward for its implementation

Citizens for Space Based Solar Power – A space-based solar power advocacy blog, with the goal of educating fellow citizens and influencing public opinion in favor of this game-changing technology

 

*** ONCE AGAIN, A CALL TO ACTION ***

Sign this petition and send the following urgent message to the United States Congress, to the President of the United States, and to future congresses and administrations:

Pass and support legislation to ensure national energy security and to protect the worldwide environment by establishing congressionally chartered public-private corporations for space-based energy, space mining, and spacefaring logistics. These corporations shall provide the United States, its allies, and trading partners with sustainable and carbon emission free space-based energy.

SBSP – A Solution to the Carbon Crisis

Can space-based solar power solve the carbon crisis? The business model in this video shows how SBSP could be scaled to meet planetary energy needs with zero carbon emissions.

  • The business model presented was developed by Keith Henson.
  • The video was produced by Mafic Studios, Inc.
  • The script was written by Lt. Col. Peter Garretson, Keith Henson, and Kris Holland.
  • Narration was done by Jay Aaseng.

USAF Will Defend Our Satellites

It is an age-old reality that nations must be prepared to defend their assets. This reality is the same in space, where communications, weather, Global Position System, and eventually, solar power satellites provide critical services, and must be defended.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the GPS IIF-12 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Feb. 5, 2016. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance) CC BY-NC 2.0

Winston Beauchamp, the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space, and the director of the Principal Defense Department Space Advisor Staff said of the USAF’s commitment, “We have an obligation to provide, not just space resiliency capabilities for our defense space, but for this global commons.”

Thank you, Mr. Beauchamp, and your USAF colleagues, for having America’s back around the world, and in space.

Read the complete story at AirForceTimes.com

Boeing TV Spot – “You Just Wait”

… solar satellites provide Earth with unlimited, clean power …

I literally fell off the couch when I heard these words coming from my television yesterday. I replayed this Boeing TV spot several times, with goosebumps on my arms. For the first time, I was hearing the game-changing idea of space-based solar power on national television, as a future reality.

The Boeing Company is celebrating their first 100 years in July of 2016. Congratulations on their upcoming anniversary, and on their innovative outlook for the next 100 years that includes space based solar power!

D3 Space Solar Proposal

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:

  • Problem Background & Potential Impact
  • The Big Idea
  • Ideal End State
  • Five Critical Next Steps
  • Proposed Metrics
  • Resource Requirements
  • The Proposal Team

You can also join in the discussion on the D3 Space Solar Proposal Public Group on Facebook.

SBSP Article on HuffPo / Times of India

Reaching For The Sun (fair use)

In a March 9, 2016 article, Reaching For The Sun: Space-Based Solar Power Could Be The Answer To Climate Change, Namrata Goswami writes about the D3 Space Solar Proposal that won several top prizes for for the best ideas to advance U.S. Diplomacy, Defense and Development at the March 2, 2016 D3 Summit held in Washington, D.C.

About the idea of space-based solar power, Goswami writes:

Could this idea be as revolutionary as the Wright Brothers’ paper plane that gave us modern aviation? Perhaps!

In the rest of the article, Goswami does a good job of explaining the fundamental principles behind space-based solar power, and then she goes on to talk about Japan, China, and India already being heavily invested in the development of space-based solar power.

As noted in a 2008 C-SBSP post, 21st Century Space Race, our nation is once again behind, and once again in a position to catch up. It is a race we must lead, and if not win outright, at least cross the finish line arm-in-arm with our friends and allies.