- An October 2007 report to the National Security Space Office called "Space-Based Solar Power As an Opportunity for Strategic Security" (available here). Strange maybe, but at least DoD is an interested party with money!
- Japan has been testing SPS technology including power-beaming and plans to have an SPS in space by 2030 (JAXA concept picture shown).
- A new organization called SSAFE (Space Solar Alliance for Energy Future) was announced last fall by NSS. SSAFE is a coalition of 13 research and space advocacy groups advocating investments in space-based solar power. NSS also has an extensive on-line library of books and other materials on space based solar power.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Solar Power Satellites
The basic idea of solar power satellites (SPS) has been around since 1968, but with high and rising energy costs and with improvements in solar photovoltaic technology, the idea seems to be getting more attention now. There was an opinion piece in the New York Times last week that outlined the basic ideas of SPS, noting that the required technologies all exist now, and that with lighter and higher efficiency solar cells, the mass of an SPS could be much less than the monster systems envisioned in the seventies. The ISS could be used for testing some SPS technologies in space (even though it is in low Earth orbit and therefore doesn't stay over one point on Earth as a real SPS would presumably do from GEO). There are other promising developments: