Space-based solar power

solar power satellitesolar power satellitesSpace Solar Powersolar-power satellitesorbital power-beaming satellitesPowersatsatellite microwaveSpace Solar Power Satellitesfrom the space stationsleave the panels in orbit
Space-based solar power (SBSP) is the concept of collecting solar power in outer space and distributing it to Earth.wikipedia
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Peter Glaser

In 1973 Peter Glaser was granted U.S. patent number 3,781,647 for his method of transmitting power over long distances (e.g. from an SPS to Earth's surface) using microwaves from a very large antenna (up to one square kilometer) on the satellite to a much larger one, now known as a rectenna, on the ground.
Glaser's areas of professional activity have included solar and arc imaging furnaces, high temperature research, solar power satellites, solar heating and cooling, photovoltaic conversion, rural electrification systems using renewable resources, lunar surface missions, commercial space power, remote sensing, extra-vehicular activity on the Moon, launch site selection, space station habitation module appliances, advanced space transportation devices, space-based sensor systems to identify carbon dioxide-induced climate changes, space station portable contamination detectors, spacesuit gloves and boot soles, extravehicular dust protection, power relay satellites, and high-altitude long-endurance aircraft using wireless power transmission.

Rectenna

In 1973 Peter Glaser was granted U.S. patent number 3,781,647 for his method of transmitting power over long distances (e.g. from an SPS to Earth's surface) using microwaves from a very large antenna (up to one square kilometer) on the satellite to a much larger one, now known as a rectenna, on the ground. The collecting satellite would convert solar energy into electrical energy on board, powering a microwave transmitter or laser emitter, and transmit this energy to a collector (or microwave rectenna) on Earth's surface.
Since the 1970s, one of the major motivations for rectenna research has been to develop a receiving antenna for proposed solar power satellites, which would harvest energy from sunlight in space with solar cells and beam it down to Earth as microwaves to huge rectenna arrays.

Microwave

microwavesmicrowave radiationmicrowave tube
In 1973 Peter Glaser was granted U.S. patent number 3,781,647 for his method of transmitting power over long distances (e.g. from an SPS to Earth's surface) using microwaves from a very large antenna (up to one square kilometer) on the satellite to a much larger one, now known as a rectenna, on the ground. The collecting satellite would convert solar energy into electrical energy on board, powering a microwave transmitter or laser emitter, and transmit this energy to a collector (or microwave rectenna) on Earth's surface. 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.
NASA worked in the 1970s and early 1980s to research the possibilities of using solar power satellite (SPS) systems with large solar arrays that would beam power down to the Earth's surface via microwaves.

Space debris

orbital debrisspace junkdebris
Large objects, such as solar-power satellites, are especially vulnerable to collisions.

Reason (short story)

ReasonThe ProphetReason" (short story)
In 1941, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published the science fiction short story "Reason", in which a space station transmits energy collected from the Sun to various planets using microwave beams.
Powell and Donovan are assigned to a space station which supplies energy via microwave beams to the planets.

John C. Mankins

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. Mankins.
John C. Mankins is a former NASA physicist known for his work on space-based solar power.

Renewable energy

renewablesrenewable energiesrenewable
SBSP is considered a form of sustainable or green energy, renewable energy, and is occasionally considered among climate engineering proposals.

Solar energy

solarsolar-poweredsolar powered
A considerable fraction of incoming solar energy (55–60%) is lost on its way through the Earth's atmosphere by the effects of reflection and absorption.

Sustainable energy

clean energygreen energygreen electricity
SBSP is considered a form of sustainable or green energy, renewable energy, and is occasionally considered among climate engineering proposals.
Research is ongoing in space-based solar power, a concept in which solar panels are launched into outer space and the energy they capture is transmitted back to Earth as microwaves.

Self-replicating machine

Clanking replicatorself-replicatingself-replicating machines
This 1980s SPS concept relied less on human presence in space and more on partially self-replicating systems on the lunar surface under remote control of workers stationed on Earth.
The future development of such technology is an integral part of several plans involving the mining of moons and asteroid belts for ore and other materials, the creation of lunar factories, and even the construction of solar power satellites in space.

Arthur D. Little

Arthur D. Little, Inc.Arthur D. Little, IncArthur D. Little Company
Glaser then was a vice president at Arthur D. Little, Inc. NASA signed a contract with ADL to lead four other companies in a broader study in 1974.

Wireless power transfer

Wireless energy transferwireless power transmissionwireless power
Since wires extending from Earth's surface to an orbiting satellite are neither practical nor feasible with current technology, SBSP designs generally include the use of some manner of wireless power transmission with its concomitant conversion inefficiencies, as well as land use concerns for the necessary antenna stations to receive the energy at Earth's surface.
Proposed applications for this type are solar power satellites, and wireless powered drone aircraft.

Asteroid mining

space miningminingmining asteroids
Asteroid mining has also been seriously considered.
In response, it has been suggested that platinum, cobalt and other valuable elements from asteroids may be mined and sent to Earth for profit, used to build solar-power satellites and space habitats, and water processed from ice to refuel orbiting propellant depots.

Solar cell

solar cellsphotovoltaic cellphotovoltaic cells
GaAs is more commonly used in multijunction photovoltaic cells for concentrated photovoltaics (CPV, HCPV) and for solar panels on spacecrafts, as the industry favours efficiency over cost for space-based solar power.

In situ resource utilization

in-situ resource utilizationISRUin-situ
The main advantage he envisions is construction largely from locally available lunar materials, using in-situ resource utilization, with a teleoperated mobile factory and crane to assemble the microwave reflectors, and rovers to assemble and pave solar cells, which would significantly reduce launch costs compared to SBSP designs.
In its original form, known as the solar power satellite, the proposal was intended as an alternate power source for Earth.

Gerard K. O'Neill

Gerard O'NeillO'NeillGerard K. O’Neill
Gerard O'Neill, noting the problem of high launch costs in the early 1970s, proposed building the SPS's in orbit with materials from the Moon.
A few months later he heard Peter Glaser speak about solar power satellites at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Keith Henson

Henson, H. KeithKeith
From 2007 on, Henson worked independently and with others on the problems of global energy supply and affordable cost, particularly on power satellites for space-based solar power.

ISM band

ISM2.4 GHz13.56 MHz
For example, the 1978 NASA SPS study required a 1-km diameter transmitting antenna, and a 10 km diameter receiving rectenna, for a microwave beam at 2.45 GHz.
NASA has studied using microwave power transmission on 2.45 GHz to send energy collected by solar power satellites back to the ground.

Stationary High Altitude Relay Platform

SHARPUTIAS SHARP
Brown looked for applications of the technology, working on both solar power satellites (SPS) and the High Altitude Powered Platform (HAPP) concept.

Shimizu Corporation

ShimizuGreen FloatShimizu Construction
The Shimizu Corporation use combination of lasers and microwave for the Luna Ring concept, along with power relay satellites.

Colonization of the Moon

Moon baselunar basemoonbase
Launch costs from the Moon are potentially much lower than from Earth, due to the lower gravity and lack of atmospheric drag.
A third possibility would be to leave the panels in orbit, and beam the power down as microwaves.

Lunar space elevator

lunar elevator
Some proposed techniques include the lunar mass driver and the lunar space elevator, first described by Jerome Pearson.
Lunar deposits of silicon, which could be used to build solar panels for massive satellite solar power stations, seem particularly promising.

Thinned-array curse

Thinned array cursesparse array
Because of the thinned array curse, it is not possible to make a narrower beam by combining the beams of several smaller satellites.
The thinned array curse has consequences for microwave power transmission and wireless energy transfer concepts such as solar power satellites; it suggests that it is not possible to make a smaller beam and hence reduce the size of a receiver (called a rectenna for microwave power beaming) by phasing together beams from many small satellites.

Luna Ring

The Shimizu Corporation use combination of lasers and microwave for the Luna Ring concept, along with power relay satellites.
*Space-based solar power