SSI Space Manufacturing 14: Space Solar Power and Energy Systems

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Session 6: Space Solar Power and Space Energy Systems
Chair: Dr. Philip K. Chapman

Space Solar Power – Achievable Within a Generation?
John Mankins, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC

Towards an Early Profitable Powersat
Al Globus, San Jose State University Research Foundation

Impact of Lunar Volatiles: New Opportunities for Exploration and Infrastructure Development on the Moon
Edward McCullough, McCullough Innovations & Consulting

Making it Happen
Dr. Philip K. Chapman, Consultant, Energy and Astronautics


Space Solar Power – Achievable Within a Generation?
John Mankins, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC

— Early concepts for SBSP systems were on a massive scale — BOF!
— 100 square kilometers (5 kilometers x 20 kilometers)
— Stupendously large supporting infrastructure — two-stage, fully reusable rocket that would dwarf the U.S. space shuttle in a project that would make Apollo look small
— Enormous in-space platforms to assemble the SPSP
— Formal efforts on plan ended in US in 1980 — technology research continued
— Numerous advances have occurred in technology to make the satellites smaller, more efficient and affordable
— Instead of a massive single plan, a roadmap was developed for incremental steps
— 2000 – National Research Council said that SBSP was technically feasible but would it be economically viable?
— Work began to fall off in US around 2003 (lack of interest by Bush, focus on VSP) but work continued both domestically and internationally
— Fundamentally new roadmap that involves international efforts
— Preliminary analysis: SBSP could be possible within 10-15 years within a finite amount of money
— Could be paid for with a Jim Webb Space Telescope class investment by various governments to get a prototype system into orbit
— Key next steps to do end-to-end studies and then tests on components and systems

Towards an Early Profitable Powersat
Al Globus, San Jose State University Research Foundation

— Power sat designs were too big requiring a kilometer-sized antenna in orbit and 10-km sized receiving station on the ground
— methods for improved power beaming to solve these problems
— LaserMotive 1 km tether climber – achieved 10 percent efficiency, 25 percent is possible today, could get it up to 40 percent
— A number of other improvements exist to make SBSP systems feasible and profitable

Making it Happen
Dr. Philip K. Chapman, Consultant, Energy and Astronautics

If we make energy more expensive in the U.S. to encourage alternative energy, business will move to other countries which will drain jobs away and increase more carbon emissions into the atmosphere
— Solar Power: .3 percent of U.S. energy in 2009, would rise to .8 percent by 2035 — not nearly fast enough
— Terrestrial solar power has too many limits and costs to be practical for a large amount of our energy needs
— Present SBSP not as a competitor to terrestrial solar but as an enhancement/partner for it
— Do not claim that SBSP is a solution to global warming – SPSP is a “no regrets” approach to problem, more effective than regulation and no penalty if global warming turns out to be a serious threat

Q&A Session

Air Force Col. Michael “Coyote” Smith joined the group

Q: Is Solaran likely to put up a space power satellite within 5-6 years as announced with PG&E agreement?

Mankins: probability is “vanishingly small” that they can deliver by 2016. The deal is important because it establishes some key price points that were above the $0.05/kWh being used as a baseline. The contract itself is important.

Comments:

Col. Smith: The cost of energy is not just measured in dollars but in lives. Beam power to forward bases in Aghanistan. Fuel now needs to be shipped through Pakistan and the convoys are being attacked, drivers killed.

  • http://libriz.multiply.com melba fernandez

    Space Solar Power available by next generation? awesome!…..then perhaps the power could be transmitted to Earth for domestic and industrial users… then we can stop the diggings for oil and coal …….. AND we wont be needing to have to face the dangers of utilizing nuclear power for our industries and homes…ummmm pretty optimistic but feasible…..? I’d like to think Yes, it is.

  • http://googal MANGESH D

    this project is such very nice concept, but it is more massive,
    but it can become our need in future.