and reviewing an URSI White Paper on Solar Power Satellites. A solar power satellite (SPS) system uses a satellite to capture power from the sun, generate. ABSTRACT— The concept of placing enormous solar power satellite (SPS) systems in space represents one of a handful of new technological options that. satellite solar power systems, in order to compare the market value of terrestrial The Solar Power Satellite (or "Space Solar Power," SPS) is a concept to collect.
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The Solar Power Satellite has been hailed by proponents as the answer to future global energy security and dismissed by. PDF | Space solar power satellite (SSPS) is a tremendous energy system that collects and converts solar power to electric power in space, and. NASA Technical Paper Solar Power Satellite. System Sizing Tradeoffs. G. D. Arndt and L. G. Monford. Lyudon B. Johtzsou Space Celzter. Houston, Texas.
Space-based solar power SBSP is the concept of collecting solar power in outer space and distributing it to Earth. Potential advantages of collecting solar energy in space include a higher collection rate and a longer collection period due to the lack of a diffusing atmosphere , and the possibility of placing a solar collector in an orbiting location where there is no night. Space-based solar power systems convert sunlight to microwaves outside the atmosphere, avoiding these losses and the downtime due to the Earth's rotation , but at great cost due to the expense of launching material into orbit. SBSP is considered a form of sustainable or green energy , renewable energy , and is occasionally considered among climate engineering proposals. It is attractive to those seeking large-scale solutions to anthropogenic climate change or fossil fuel depletion such as peak oil. Various SBSP proposals have been researched since the early s,   but none are economically viable with present-day space launch infrastructure.
Many renewable energy sources are limited in their ability to affordably provide the base load power required for global industrial development and prosperity, because of inherent land and water requirements.
Based on their Concept Definition Study, space solar power concepts may be ready to reenter the discussion. Solar power satellites should no longer be envisioned as requiring unimaginably large initial investments in fixed infrastructure before the emplacement of productive power plants can begin.
Space solar power systems appear to possess many significant environmental advantages when compared to alternative approaches. The economic viability of space solar power systems depends on many factors and the successful development of various new technologies not least of which is the availability of much lower cost access to space than has been available ; however, the same can be said of many other advanced power technologies options.
Space solar power may well emerge as a serious candidate among the options for meeting the energy demands of the 21st century. James E. Dudenhoefer and Patrick J. Susumu Sasaki.
This is the standard plan for this type of power. Collecting surfaces could receive much more intense sunlight, owing to the lack of obstructions such as atmospheric gasses , clouds , dust and other weather events. A collecting satellite could possibly direct power on demand to different surface locations based on geographical baseload or peak load power needs. Elimination of plant and wildlife interference.
With very large scale implementations, especially at lower altitudes, it potentially can reduce incoming solar radiation reaching earth's surface. This would be desirable for counteracting the effects of global warming. The thinned-array curse preventing efficient transmission of power from space to the Earth's surface. Inability to constrain power transmission inside tiny beam angles.
For example, a beam of 0. The most advanced directional wireless power transfer systems as of spread their half power beam width across at least 0. In addition to cost, astronauts working in GEO geosynchronous Earth orbit are exposed to unacceptably high radiation dangers and risk and cost about one thousand times more than the same task done telerobotically.
The space environment is hostile; panels suffer about 8 times the degradation they would on Earth except at orbits that are protected by the magnetosphere.
Traditional spacecraft thermal control systems such as radiative vanes may interfere with solar panel occlusion or power transmitters. Space-based solar power essentially consists of three elements:  collecting solar energy in space with reflectors or inflatable mirrors onto solar cells wireless power transmission to Earth via microwave or laser receiving power on Earth via a rectenna , a microwave antenna The space-based portion will not need to support itself against gravity other than relatively weak tidal stresses.
It needs no protection from terrestrial wind or weather, but will have to cope with space hazards such as micrometeors and solar flares. Two basic methods of conversion have been studied: photovoltaic PV and solar dynamic SD. Most analyses of SBSP have focused on photovoltaic conversion using solar cells that directly convert sunlight into electricity. Solar dynamic uses mirrors to concentrate light on a boiler.
The use of solar dynamic could reduce mass per watt.
Wireless power transmission was proposed early on as a means to transfer energy from collection to the Earth's surface, using either microwave or laser radiation at a variety of frequencies.
Microwave power transmission[ edit ] William C. Brown demonstrated in , during Walter Cronkite 's CBS News program, a microwave-powered model helicopter that received all the power it needed for flight from a microwave beam. Between and , Bill Brown was technical director of a JPL Raytheon program that beamed 30 kW of power over a distance of 1 mile 1.
NASA diagram More recently, microwave power transmission has been demonstrated, in conjunction with solar energy capture, between a mountain top in Maui and the island of Hawaii 92 miles away , by a team under John C. It includes an introduction to SPS, current research and future prospects. In the s, researchers at NASA worked on the potential use of lasers for space-to-space power beaming, focusing primarily on the development of a solar-powered laser.
In it was suggested that power could also be usefully beamed by laser from Earth to space. The SELENE program was a two-year research effort, but the cost of taking the concept to operational status was too high, and the official project ended in before reaching a space-based demonstration.
He proposed using diamond solar cells operating at degrees[ clarification needed ] to convert ultraviolet laser light. Orbital location[ edit ] The main advantage of locating a space power station in geostationary orbit is that the antenna geometry stays constant, and so keeping the antennas lined up is simpler.
Another advantage is that nearly continuous power transmission is immediately available as soon as the first space power station is placed in orbit; other space-based power stations have much longer start-up times before they are producing nearly continuous power. Rectennas would likely be several kilometers across. Lunar Manufacturing, Mining, and Processing Companies The first phase of the proposed project is the assembly of robotic factories on the Moon.
By utilizing a completely automated production and fabrication process there will be a reduction in costs. Robots, computers, electronics and building materials which are not available on the Moon will be transported from Earth.
These industries are dependent on each other as downloaders and partners. They will produce multiple products and have multiple downloaders for their products. In particular, one major downloader and partner is the SPS companies.
These three factories will need electrical power in order to operate. Let us assume that these operations run initially from a very limited nuclear power supply, enough to build the first three SPS systems including three rectennas. Once the SPSs are in orbit they will begin to supply electrical power to the three lunar industries at retail pricing.
The SPS systems will be partially downloadd in advance from the manufacturing company in order to help keep the start-ups burn rate lower for a higher chance of success. Once the SPS systems are produced they will be paid for in full. The Apollo missions found that Lunar soil is composed of useful elements, such as O: The elements for space power station construction materials Fe, Al , for glass reflectors Si, O and for semiconductor devices Si are thus abundant, and small amounts of other necessary elements can be brought from Earth .
This offers a very important opportunity of increasing the potential for successful business start-ups on the Moon.
Lunar Science Habitation For any future human habitations on the moon, a continuous source of power is required. Without this, habitation and development of a viable infrastructure and economy is simply unattainable . Several options have been suggested in the past for supplying power to a lunar habitat including fuel cells powered from solar arrays and a buried nuclear reactor power system.
The problem with the latter is that it is expensive and there is public concern about its safety during its launch and operations.
Regenerative fuel cells, on the other hand, are more promising. In order to use fuel cells on the lunar surface, a recharging mechanism is still required. In addition to a continuous source of power, the lunar inhabitants will require oxygen and water, which are located in the polar regions of the moon where limited or no light is available for surface solar power.
Brandhorst and Little  and Oda and Mori  have suggested using SSP systems to supply power for both the water mission and habitation. This approach facilitates providing power to sequential sites as research priorities shift towards potentially simultaneously beaming power to multiple sites.
A lunar rover, used for exploration, will also require electrical power. One exploration target is the polar craters, where sunlight is minimal to non-existant. Several energy sources have been considered, such as a radioisotope- fueled source e. The radio isotope option has cost implications and consumes part of the limited supply of Pu fuel . Fuel cells are plausible; however; exploration time in the crater will be constrained by the amount of hydrogen and oxygen that can be carried for the fuel cell and the charging time of the battery .
The third option is to beam power to the rover via a SPS. In addition SSP offers more mission flexibility, as stated previously. SSP may be used to create a depot for fueling spacecraft. It would free spacecraft from having to carry power generation and storage other than for backup purposes for peak demand or emergencies . One idea for a transportation supply and material cargo system is to implement SSP architecture in space near the Moon and strategically placed along the route towards Earth and for return.
The SPSs will be able to supply electrical power forming a virtual space electric railway. This could be made possible by aligning the SSPs energy beam with the space train cargo system to supply electrical power for its electric thrusters.
Another company could own the space railway system and pay the SPS company for electric power. Market Summary In-space activities potentially represent a large market that, perhaps, can be served by SSP sooner than terrestrial customers .
However, to narrow the scope of opportunities it is assumed that initial customers include mining, processing, manufacturing, science, and space railway system. To make a space economic system work it is envisioned that all the aforementioned entities will cross-enable one another.
This allows a transition to a high-level economy of scale, facilitating low production and energy costs. More economic activities will drive the prices down for future space market growth. Market opportunities are potentially vast.
Complementary technologies for SSP include: Competing technologies include primary full mission sustaining batteries, and nuclear systems. In addition, innovations in lighter-weight spacecraft, more capable batteries, more efficient solar cells, and more efficient high-frequency transmitter and receiver technologies will affect the future economic value of SSP systems. While the markets opportunities mentioned here are only examples relating to SSP, it is reasonable to envision that many others will indirectly benefits by, creating a very large ecosystem driven by SSP.
The total product demanded will provide an amount to design the SPS around. However, electrical energy production from the SPS must be greater than the amount initially required by customers in order to provide room for growth. Another reason why the SPS must have greater production capabilities is because over time solar panels will wear, which decreases their output efficiency, so an end-of-life solar panel power calculation needs to be taken into account.
Many factors play a role in determining how to price the electrical power. First the value of each company including the SSP Company is extremely high, given the situation of the start-ups occurring , km , miles from Earth, located on the Moon, and the nature of the complexity never before fully attempted at this magnitude.
Because there has been nothing like this before, there are no market reports to suggest accurate predictions. More analysis on this lunar ecosystem needs to be conducted as most references relate to the Earth and not the Moon. A prospective provider would supply electrical power to customers and download SPSs and rectenna systems from the manufacturing entity.
In turn, the manufacturing company would download material from the processing industry, and the processing industry would download raw substance from the mining industry. The science habitat would be a separate entity that will only be involved in the downloading of electrical power. The complete science habitat and rover will be sent from Earth to the Moon. The price of SPSs would decrease proportionally to the number of units built and it can be assumed that the price is one order of magnitude lower than the case if the satellite is built and launched from the Earth .
Facilities costs were not considered.
Ground power storage and other facility costs are borne by the end-users. However, possible partnerships with lunar energy storage companies may exist, but they are not part of this analysis. These numbers come from , referencing a niche Earth market.
The cost values are summarized in Table 1. It is noteworthy that transporting materials from the Lunar surface into orbit takes less than five percent of the energy needed to do so from Earth .
Once the train is launched in to space, the SPS can feed the electric thrusters on the cargo transporters. Another option is to have a ground antenna system transmit energy to the cargo rail train to fuel its electric thrusters instead of having the rail train launch from a rocket.
Roughly kW of power is assumed to be needed to run a single manufacturing facility, based on data presented by . Selected data from  is shown in Table 2. It is assumed that the mining and processing operations require the same amount of electrical power for operations. Thus a total of about 1 MW of electrical power required by these three industries.
Roughly 40KW of usable energy is required to support a moon base . Another 40KW is needed for a next generation rover that could be used for lunar exploration . The transportation industry including launch, cargo shipments in the Earth-Moon system and space tourism also needs some amount of electrical power.
No number at this time can be reliably estimated for the power requirement of the transportation industry. Because of so many unknowns it is difficult to determine a price for the electrical power service today.
In the terrestrial power market, electrical transactions take place under specific supply contracts between two parties including between the generators and their distributors, marketers, and end-users.
It may be that to facilitate up-front investment financing of SSP, a contract market would best ensure adequate capital for the initial operating years. A contract market is based on the trading of futures which are contracts that obligate the seller to provide a commodity or other asset to the downloader at an agreed-upon date . As SSP matures and the number of operators increases, PoolCo arrangements may become attractive to customers to secure long-term contracts to protect them from the risks of major price fluctuations .
This will serve as a model for the restructured electric industry that combines the functions of an international organization of standardization and a power exchange . In its least flexible form, a PoolCo also prohibits direct transactions between downloaders and sellers i.
Further investigation of power demand from industries, the cost of building an SPS, and the life expectance of a SPS must be undertaken to develop a more robust economic model. Legality, Risk, and Financing One challenge for SSP research and development is to demonstrate the ability to deliver an acceptable return on investment ROI to funding entities and an acceptable unit cost to the end-user . The vast financial undertaking could benefit from both public and private investment.
SSP will benefit from active private interest, both in the power generation enterprise and through commercial exploitation of the technologies created. The ownership and financing of an SSP firm can be a commercial venture.
Some have suggested it should be restricted to a role for government . Careful consideration must be given in this effort and the benefits and risks of any potential arrangement must be seriously considered, as the initial precedent may be difficult to disrupt. Two major subtasks exist for the investment organization. First, it must attract public investment in the infrastructure and engineering of the core systems. Without this the essentials of safety, quality and efficiency are at risk.
The maturation rate and operating costs of these technologies will affect the future economic value of SSP in terms of estimated willingness to pay for a unit of power. The critical importance of power in space activities increases risk aversion in the case of customer acceptance of SSP. Innovation in lighter-weight spacecraft, more capable batteries, and increasingly efficient solar cells and their future operating costs will also affect the SSP value proposition .
National and international policy must be considered, as it is in this area that SSP may face it greatest challenges. For SSP to advance beyond the realm of theory, support is required at the international policy level — where issues of cost and benefits, sustainable development, international law, and geopolitical impact must be assessed .
SPS by its very nature relies on resources that belong to no specific nation. Just as space is recognized as unclaimed and un- claimable territory, so, too, maybe power from the sun.
No single nation or authority can claim it, nor dictate policy on its use . Further considerations include challenges to the security of equipment in space e. Woodell  suggests integrating technical and scientific expertise into the political arena to facilitate the policy development process.
By doing this several benefits are foreseen. Social Impact Since there are many different concepts for SSP, and many complex metrics, it is difficult at this time to provide an accurate general analysis of their social impacts.
It should be possible to determine this during the feasibility assessment phase, when specific systems are defined for evaluation.