Daily Finance has an interview with Solaren’s Director of Energy Services Cal Boerman about the California start-up’s plans to launch a space-based solar power satellite.
Daily Finance: What has changed over to make space-based power technically feasible today? Have there been any breakthroughs that have made this possible?
Boerman: Actually, not really. The technology is fairly well developed. if you look at today’s communications satellites, they have solar cells that generate the electricity they need. These satellites convert the electricity into radio waves, then signal to your home to your television. That’s what DirecTV does. Except unlike them, we don’t throw away the center part of the beam where all the energy is located. They only want to signal around the edges. So there is no novel technology development required. It’s an engineering problem. Our challenge is to make the surface areas a little bigger and lighter but not to develop a key technology that makes or breaks the project. What we have done differently is keep the weight of our satellites down. Unlike other projects, we won’t have to build them in space. That’s a big difference.
How many launches will it take to the get the whole system up and orbiting?
We can do it with a small number of launches, only four. To get that, we had to come up with a design that was lightweight and innovative. We’re still using a big rocket….
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