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Space Based Solar Power
Great article!

I also went and read Maury's article, since he scoffed at your post.  But I don't think your post is scoff-worthy, and I think Maury overstates his conclusions.  He's comparing space solar to pretty much the best possible terrestrial solar — Nevada, and finding that solar cells in Nevada deliver more power over their lifetime by about a factor of 2.

But (1) a factor of 2 isn't always a deal-killer for a system that has other advantages, such as continuous, reliably supply; and (2) this factor of 2 might easily be made up for (or surpassed) by newer solar cell technologies that don't degrade so quickly from radiation damage, as suggested by the thin-film solar cell physicist in his comments.  So, despite Maury's scorn, SBSP is still worth considering.

A couple of thoughts on your piece...

Quote:Practical experiments related to SBSP have taken place, for example in Japan.  This involves the beamed transmission of energy over a distance of over fifty metres.

We've done a lot better than that; in 2008 power was beamed over 92 miles from island to island in Hawaii (reference).

Quote:If SBSP is to move forward, experiments in space are needed to prove the technology involved. An example of this could be a power satellite, somewhat smaller than the eventual structure at only 50 metres in diameter, being placed in geosynchronous orbit and beaming down power to a collecting station on the surface below.

Is that even possible?  My understanding was that antenna size was pretty much dictated by the distance over which you need to transmit (and the spot size you're willing to accept at the receiving end).  I thought this pretty much required km-scale antennas in GEO.

Perhaps a good way to do a smaller-scale demonstration might be a LEO powersat.  It's constantly moving over the surface of the Earth, of course, but you could beam power for a few minutes at a time, making an effective demonstration.

One other idea I've seen (and which we've incorporated into High Frontier) is the use of beamed power in space.  So you have your big powersat in some sunny orbit, with lots of solar panels and the infrastructure to maintain them; and this beams power to space stations and habitats that need it, and want to avoid that extra bulk.

Joe Strout
Lead Developer, High Frontier


Messages In This Thread
Space Based Solar Power - ProjectIon - 12-06-2016, 03:09 PM
RE: Space Based Solar Power - JoeStrout - 12-07-2016, 12:19 PM
RE: Space Based Solar Power - ProjectIon - 12-09-2016, 01:48 PM
RE: Space Based Solar Power - Pye-rate - 12-09-2016, 06:34 AM
RE: Space Based Solar Power - JoeStrout - 12-09-2016, 04:05 PM

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