Space Solar Power Being Considered at High Level

nss_logoWASHINGTON, DC (NSS PR) — The National Space Society (NSS) congratulates the “Space Solar Power D3” team on making it to the winners circle in a Department of Defense (DOD) competition to find promising new technology ideas that could simultaneously advance diplomacy, development and defense. Space Solar Power (SSP) is among only six winners out of 500 entries for the DOD’s first innovation challenge for the D3 (Diplomacy, Development, Defense) Summit.

The SSP team proposal is titled “Carbon-Free Energy for Global Resilience and International Goodwill.” Their team has won the opportunity to present to the highest-level gathering of the three departments that are primarily responsible for U.S. foreign policy.

Winning proposal briefings will be made Wednesday, March 2 to representatives of the Secretary of Defense, the Vice Joint Chief of Staff, DOD senior leaders, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the U.S. Department of State. The presentation will happen at the State Department and a live stream can be found at http://video.state.gov/live.

Space Solar Power gathers energy from sunlight in space and transmits it wirelessly to Earth. SSP can solve our energy and greenhouse gas emissions problems and provide large quantities of energy to each and every person on Earth with very little environmental impact. This will be the first time that space solar power is briefed at such a high level.

The space solar power D3 team includes members of the Air Force’s Air University, the Naval Research Lab, Northrop Grumman, NASA, the Join Staff Logistics and Energy division, DARPA, the Army, and the Space Development Steering Committee. NSS wishes them the best of luck in their presentation on March 2.

D3 team member Col. M. V. “Coyote” Smith, a professor at Air University’s School of Advanced Air and Space Power Studies, states: “When you think about what could advance U.S. diplomacy, development, and defense objectives simultaneously, what could be better than creating a source of global, constant green energy? Energy is going to be a $21 Trillion industry. Imagine if American industry was supplying green energy to the billions of people in the developing world. The studies suggest that could mean five million new high tech jobs in satellite manufacture and launch. The world of 2050 might require as much as 55 terawatts of energy. The Space-Based Solar Power resource is huge, many times the global requirement, with about 330 terawatts waiting to be tapped in Geostationary orbit alone.”

Smith continued: “A government-led demo would be the first step to retire the technical risk with commercial companies following quickly. The demo itself would have a strategic effect on our aerospace industry–generating about $5 Billion for satellite design and manufacture and another $5 Billion for the launch industry. We estimate the demo alone would generate approximately 171,000 new jobs.”

Smith added: “We’re not the only one in the game. In fact, at the moment, we’re behind in what we believe is the only space race that really matters. The Chinese have an increasingly robust program. So do the Japanese. Europe, too. But not the U.S. The Chinese proponents have it right that this is the most ambitious space project in history, and that Space-Based Solar Power will trigger a new industrial revolution and determine who will be the global leader. Space-Based Solar Power is not a competition in which we can afford to come in second.”

“Space Solar Power may be the answer to both the energy crisis and climate change,” said Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the NSS Executive Committee. “We have worked for many years to place SSP on the national and international agendas, including working with India’s former President Dr. APJ Kalam to begin a US-India collaboration. NSS is fighting for a prosperous hopeful future for all of humanity.”

In December, NSS leaders Mark Hopkins, Dr. Feng Hsu who is chairman of the NSS Space Solar Power Committee, and Dr. Don Flournoy who runs the International SunSat Design Competition that brings forward the best new ideas in SSP, traveled to China. There they met with Chinese leaders and their renewable energy and space solar power experts to establish a new initiative, the International Consortium for Space Solar Power Research and Development. NSS is also working with Space Canada to support the International SunSat Design Competition.

“We at NSS firmly believe,” says Dr. Feng Hsu, “that SSP is a viable and potentially permanent solution to address many humanity’s top challenges regarding environmental, economic or even global geopolitical issues.” He added, “SSP certainly deserves attention by the world community at the highest level. The time for a full-scale SSP demonstration and R&D program has been long overdue since the 1979 NASA-Department of Energy studies, and the time has now finally arrived for the U.S. government and the space and energy industries to take concerted actions in support of SSP.” Feng concludes, “I have no doubt that if we in the U.S. continue to ignore the great idea of harnessing the Sun’s energy in a massive and unparalleled scale from space, we will risk being left further behind by the next technological and industrial revolution to be brought about by cheap, clean and abundant energy from space!” “National Security demands that America fund SSP research,” said Hopkins. NSS has created the world’s largest online library on SSP at nss.org/ssp.

About The National Space Society (NSS): NSS is an independent nonprofit educational membership organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen’s voice on space, with over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. To learn more, visit www.nss.org. Biographies for the Hopkins quote can be found at www.nss.org/about/bios/hopkins.html.

  • Gary Church

    Then laugh away. Enjoy.

  • Gary Church

    Can’t help you. Do your own homework.

  • Kapitalist

    So why did US presidents send their best to die meaninglessly in that desert? Just completely insane. No relation whatsoever with any real US interests. And it has now lead to totally humiliating defeat. You lost. Now a winner is telling you how you could win. But most of the listeners seem to be not so interested in winning, they rather want to keep on losing. Until they regret it, but then it is as late as when the gates closed behind you in Auschwitz. You will vote Trump. You will! I’m telling you.

  • TomDPerkins

    The cost to gain access to LEO with a Falcon 9 is currently $2,100/lb.

    That’s the number.

  • Gary Church

    Uh-huh.
    Your buddies will probably nod in approval but that is not the reason I continue to contribute (or try) to these forums.

    When people are interested in space they come to these sites and they do read the comments. What they read on most of them is libertarian rants and NASA hate and are interested no more.

    I expect a few notice me getting abused for making sense and do not give up completely. The NewSpace mob is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. Worse than both Shuttle disasters.

  • Larry J

    The ISS didn’t cost that much to assemble. That cost is what it took to do the R&D for the modules, launch them, and to operate the ISS over a period of years. In addition, the ISS is a poor model of what I’m describing. Just about every part of the ISS except perhaps some of the connector nodes is different. Being intended for use by humans, they had to be man-rated (very expensive) and provide for things like life support that are unnecessary on an SSP satellite. What I’m proposing are identical modular pieces, each sized to the capabilities of available or soon to be available boosters. For example, using the currently published numbers for a Falcon Heavy, each module could have a launch mass of 21,200 kg. The modules get launched into GTO and use on board electric thrusters to finish the job of inserting themselves into GEO. This will take several months per piece. Once they’re at the proper GEO location, they rendezvous and attach themselves to other pieces. This might be in a line or some other configuration that allows for each connections and free view of the sun.

    As for their operational life, GEO communications satellites are routinely designed to last for 15 years and many have operated for longer than that. The main reason why they aren’t designed to last longer is technological obsolescence. This would be less of an issue for an SSP than for communications satellites because the technology isn’t likely to evolve as quickly. Gallium Arsenide solar arrays already decay much slower than the old silicon solar cells. Plus, modular pieces can be either removed or left in place with they fail. The failure of any one or more modules isn’t likely to cause the whole system to fail. Instead, the system will degrade gracefully.

  • Larry J

    You obviously have not listened to anyone who had to drive down highways lined with IEDs. A tanker truck is very vulnerable to explosives. If you believe they’re harmless, you’re seriously misinformed.

  • Gary Church

    That’s the infomercial. Your tax dollars at work supporting the poster child for corporate welfare.

  • Larry J

    I read O’Neill’s books. He used the idea of building solar power satellites as a means to justify his real desire of building gigantic space colonies. His ideas were elegant but they depended on building mass drivers and the supporting infrastructure on the moon. In addition, you’d need to launch all of the infrastructure to build the satellite components in space. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) wasn’t around back then and can significantly reduce the equipment needed to build some satellite components. However, it isn’t suitable (at least not yet) for things like microchips and probably not for solar cells (if that’s the technology you’re using). Mass production of satellite modules and launching them on mostly reusable boosters like the Falcon Heavy would likely be far less expensive than building all of that lunar and space station infrastructure.

  • roflplatypus

    I have a feeling this goes against the Outer Space Treaty…

  • Kapitalist

    The veterans need to learn what destructive politics turned them into veterans. For nothing in return. The US has never been more of a loser than it is today. You want more of the same which fails?

    Come on America. Get free again. You, and only you in the world, have what it takes to rebuild a free civilization. I’m an atheist, but I do not go to sleep anymore without praying that God Bless America. Because that is my only hope for a survivable future. No one else will do it.

  • TomDPerkins

    “NASA hate”

    You mean the bunch that killed 17 astronauts with bad program management in design and criminal negligence in *ahem* execution?

    Imagine some people don’t think unicorns walk their halls distributing immaculate fairy dust.

    NASA has had for 40 years the technology to lower the cost to access to LEO the same way SpaceX is doing now, but NASA couldn’t get it done. It’s far past time for NASA as pork distributor to get out of the way, and just order access to space the way you pay Fedex for a delivery.

  • Gary Church

    “The US has never been more of a loser than it is today.”

    I suspect the regulars here will agree with me, despite my being a critic of NewSpace, that you need to STFU.

  • Kapitalist

    @Magnumpushdagger:disqus
    So you are incompetent enough to not knowing how to define your
    WORD NUMBER ONE:
    “environment”

    So you just don’t know. You are now telling us that you don’t not know what an environment is.

  • TomDPerkins

    If you pay a full fare for an adult (375$, 299 pounds) just under the weight limit, and then also a child on a plane (375$, 70 pounds), no one thinks of it as the cost per pound going up by 4 and a quarter fold. You are buying the seat, it costs what it costs, what you put into it is your business.

    If you want a vehicle developed to your spec (Falcon 9 instead of the original Falcon 5), you can expect to pay for that change in plans.

    Still far cheaper then NASA/ULA/Congress is scamming the country out of for the next bird likely never to fly–and if it does not more than five times–the SLS.

  • TomDPerkins

    When W left office, Iraq was stable and we had lost no people there for months. For ideological reasons Obama threw that victory down the drain. If this seems unbelievable to you, consider the Democrats did the same thing with the Republic of Vietnam–it’s the second time they have made sure the US lost a won war for purposes of internal politics.

    Strange but true.

  • Gary Church

    “-launching them on mostly reusable boosters like the Falcon Heavy would likely be far less expensive than building all of that lunar and space station infrastructure.”

    There are likely city sized lava tubes under the surface we can move right into. If not we can make them with H-bombs- and also use those same bombs to lift immense loads off the surface. There is certainly no shortage of plutonium and weapons grade uranium- we can’t get rid of the stuff.

    Factories on the Moon are the only practical solution. O”Neill and his people crunched the numbers and the rocket equation and the laws of thermodynamics mean those numbers have not and will not change. If you go to page 23 of this paper you will see the energies involved and it should all become clear to you. Or maybe not.

    http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbiac/Lunar_resources_review_preprint_accepted_manuscript.pdf

  • Kapitalist

    Well, incompetent generals COULD MAKE IT DANGEROUS if they really wanted and tried all they could. And they evidently did.

    But a competent commander would not do that, would not suffer such humiliating defeats. In the past, US commanders didn’t do that much. Running trucks across IEDs on desert roads across Iraq and Afghanistan really doesn’t sound like a good idea. Why is today’s US gov even doing that stuff? Are they stupid or are they evil. Nothing good has come out of it, has it? So pick one out of stupid of evil.

  • Gary Church

    Go ahead and keep filling up the page. So productive and meaningful.

  • Gary Church

    I ain’t a 737. No matter how much the space clown wannabes want to it to be so they can take their space station vacation.

    And the SLS is the antithesis of the NewSpace LEO business plan so it is no surprise at all that it must be damned at every mention.

  • Kapitalist

    @TomDPerkins:disqus
    That’s bad. That’s really bad. Believing that Iraq was “stable” when Bush left the White House. Your misconception is so very far from reality that it can only keep on failing and defeating the US. Stupid persons like you are the worst enemy the US has today.

  • Gary Church

    Quality space talk. Doug needs to discipline his problem children.

  • TomDPerkins

    “I(t[sic]) ain’t a 737”

    But it will be, which is good, because it has to be for us to become a spacefaring species not restricted to one planet.

    Rocket we can’t afford to use for the purpose may as well not be built for it in the first place.

  • Kapitalist

    You are promoting the SEP thruster, which could achieve many greater things than solar panels in space. Please let me ask you to argue for the solar electric thrusters, please do. It just lacks relevance to enough to me to support this space solar beam to Earth crazy thing. You’re mixing some good ideas with some lousy ideas. I hope you’ll sort it out and move on at what actually works in order to get us all out of here.

  • Kapitalist

    And you too!
    Fill it up with your unexplained “words”.
    Can’t you explain what the word “environment” means? Have you already failed beyond the point of doing even that???

  • Gary Church

    Screaming cheap, reusable rockets, the propellant depot miracle, retiring on Mars, etc. etc.

    This is NewSpace dogma everyone is completely familiar with.

    Some of us know enough not to believe it while others choose to for whatever reason or condition.

    You are just posting another SpaceX advertisement- one more to add to the thousands that have been poured onto these forums over the years.

  • Gary Church

    Well done! Ayn Rand is smiling in her grave.

  • TomDPerkins

    Nothing of which demonstrates that liquid fuel rockets to LEO need to be more than several hundred dollars per pound–down to several tens of dollars per pound in very large quantities–in orbit access costs.

  • TomDPerkins

    No counterargument possible or even attempted.

  • TomDPerkins

    “Believing that Iraq was “stable” when Bush left the White House.”

    No one was shooting at us and no one was needing to be shot by us. I do not think you have a meaningful criteria for “stable”.

  • TomDPerkins

    Even if it did, why should we care about that dead letter?

  • Gary Church

    Hmmm. You are defying logic now. Nothing has been demonstrated yet and advertising and P.R. aside, there is no reason to expect the price to go down.

    The NewSpace crowd has convinced themselves it is all true but that does not make it so.

  • Gary Church

    Unicorns was not much of an “argument” to start with. Thanks for the comic relief.

  • TomDPerkins

    Q.E.D. Gary Church cannot do math.

  • roflplatypus

    “Oops our beam slipped and we fried North Korea”

  • Gary Church

    Your “math” is just advertising. Stop branding others like a 9th grader.

  • Hug Doug

    What part of it?

  • TomDPerkins

    Tell it these people:

    Grissom
    Chaffee
    White

    Ramon
    Clark
    Chawla
    Brown
    Anderson
    McCool
    Husband

    Scobee
    Smith
    Resnik
    Onizuka
    McNair
    McAuliffe
    Jarvis

    Only orbit related deaths included.

    That and $8,000/lb to LEO in launch costs is how “old space” rolls.

  • Gary Church

    You are disgusting.
    Nobody can tolerate that kind of B.S. without calling you what you are. Without NASA there is no SpaceX- the Musk worshipers always resort to the lowest kind of jackassian sensationalism if they cannot silence critics.

    A despicable malicious juvenile game you are playing.
    Shame on you.

  • Hug Doug

    SSP would not be able to deliver that much power in a concentrated area.

  • windbourne

    if you are talking about the hawaii beaming, iIRC, wasn’t it less than 20% transmission?

  • TomDPerkins

    I’m not trying to silence you. I want you loud and proud.

    “Take off your engineering hat and put on your management hat.” That’s NASA, and it killed 18 people with that attitude. That’s what’s disgusting.

    Never using it’s technology to lower the cost of access to space is merely the result of politics as usual–which thankfully ends when the government gets out of a job it shouldn’t have in the first place.

    You are one of the last men, per Nietzsche. Unable to be ashamed of yourself.

  • TomDPerkins

    No, I think it was the Rockwell (?) job in Death Valley.

    I’m trying to remember from over twenty years ago.

    Unless I’m thinking of the article in Omni, which would be over 35 years ago.

  • TomDPerkins

    It’s profitable cost charged far below the “cost plus” market.

  • Gary Church

    Anyone can see the two faced game you are playing. Disgusting. I have zero respect for the NewSpace mob exactly because of this kind of garbage.

  • TomDPerkins

    I only have one face, saying I have more is you playing games.

    I know of no reason I should have any respect for your opinions. You can’t do math.

  • Gary Church

    The NewSpace LEO business plan is exactly the same as the Shuttle, it is just in a cheapier, nastier package. The shuttle was a do-everything-pay-for-itself-cargo-bay-of-dreams and the hobby rocket is no different.

    There is no cheap.

    The demi-god you worship is sucking at the NASA taxpayer tit while you shout from the mountaintops the opposite is true- which makes you a liar. Your blathering about some epic struggle between NASA pork and libertarian idealism is…..garbage.

    Your insults show you to be just another NewSpace cyberthug without an ounce of credibility or integrity. A deluded sycophant living in a fantasy world. Add that up and look at your one face in the mirror.

  • Larry J

    Your grasp on how the military operates seems pretty weak. FOBs need electricity. To get that, the most reliable source is to use diesel generators which need fuel. Getting fuel to the FOBs was expensive and dangerous, especially if you depended on trucks.

    My son and many of my coworkers served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. They’ve told me about how IEDs were a pervasive threat because they were so cheap and easy to make. They were also hard to detect. It isn’t a matter of incompetent generals, it was the matter of enemies intelligently using asymmetric warfare against us. Try getting off of your high horse and listening to some people who’ve been there and done that, or are you too stupid or evil to do so?

  • Larry J

    Space solar power isn’t currently commercially viable but it could have other purposes. It isn’t a weapon of mass destruction, it’s a source of power to remote areas. It’s too expensive (today) to compete with existing power plants but can be cost effective in places where electricity infrastructure doesn’t exist.

  • Larry J

    Lava tubes may or may not exist on the moon. To the best of my knowledge, none have been found. Using nuclear weapons on the moon is almost certainly a non-starter for a couple reasons. One is that existing treaties that the US is a party to prohibit the use of nuclear weapons in space. The other reason is that residual radiation from the nuclear explosions might make the created holes uninhabitable for quite some time. I think Bigelow’s idea of landing an inflatable module on the moon and covering it with regolith for shielding is a better way to go.