Obama Space Team Seeks Public Comment on Space Solar Power White Paper Submitted by SFF

Obama Space Team Seeks Public Comment on Space Solar Power White Paper Submitted by SFF

The Space Frontier Foundation pointed out that President-elect Obama’s transition team has published for public comment a white paper entitled Space Solar Power (SSP) – A Solution for Energy Independence & Climate Change.  The paper was prepared and submitted by the Space Frontier Foundation and other citizen space advocates, and calls for the new Administration to make development of Space Solar Power a national priority.

The SSP white paper was among the first ten released by the Obama transition team.  It is the first and only space-related white paper released by the transition team to date.  With 145 comments thus far, it is already among the top five most-discussed of the 20-some white papers on Change.gov.

Foundation Chairman Berin Szoka called upon all Americans to join the discussion about Space Solar Power at Change.gov:  “For over twenty years, the Space Frontier Foundation has championed Space Solar Power as a world-changing technology that could do more to improve life here on Earth than any space program or commercial space venture ever.  We applaud the Obama transition team’s interest in developing Space Solar Power as a clean energy source that could significantly reduce U.S. dependence on strategically vulnerable energy sources.”

The Foundation was created in 1988 to advocate for the space industrialization and space settlement ideas of Princeton Physicist Dr. Gerard O’Neill’s Space Studies Institute, including Space Solar Power.  The Foundation has testified three times (in 1995, 1997 and 1998) to the U.S. Congress in support of Space Solar Power.  In 2000, the Foundation completed a $100,000 project for NASA on Assessment, Outreach, and Future Research of Environmental and Safety Factors related to Space Solar Power. Most recently, the Foundation has sponsored a public discussion to generate input for the National Security Space Office’s SSP study, published in October 2007, which concluded that SSP had “enormous potential.” The Foundation also published comments on that study.

“Harnessing Space Solar Power is a huge challenge,” Szoka concluded.  “While we support a national initiative for Space Solar Power, we do not support, nor can the taxpayers afford, another massively expensive ‘White Elephant’ government space program.  Only real ‘Change’ in how we pursue national space objectives can make SSP competitive with other energy sources.  We believe the private sector will eventually develop SSP-the only questions are how long it takes and which country will lead.  The government cannot economically develop SSP on its own, but it can assist the U.S. private sector by funding basic R&D, creating the right investment incentives, and buying SSP for its own needs.  Such an unprecedented collaboration between the private and public sectors could build not just another program, but a new, green industry that would create large numbers of high-paying jobs for American citizens.  Someday, well into this century, the SSP industry could even turn America into a net energy exporter.”

(Click at the top right of the iPaper viewer to go to full screen view.)

Space Solar Power (SSP) — A Solution for Energy Independence & Climate Change

68 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    The space programs need to be revisited on an ongoing basis to make sure they have the funding they need to complete their projects. There is so much we don’t know and we’ll never know without the investment.

    Joe Eagle
    Idaho Falls, Idaho
    http://www.idahofallstoday.com

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, it is expensive, but the earth cannot maintain the population growth forever. By going to space, we learn new technologies that benefit us here on earth, and it is my opinion that if we continue to wrestle with the problem, we will find a cost effective way to travel into space.

    Frank L. Mitchell

  • KeyonL says:

    Thanks for sharing this information! President Barack Obama gave his economic address today, and Republican leaders had a few things to say about their ideas regarding the plan. Luckily, everyone agrees that we need a stimulus package, and fast. Too many Americans need a payday loan nowadays just to make ends meet. Not surprisingly, though, House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed that the plan, as proposed, was too expensive. Boehner called for balance, and McConnell suggested that money given to states should be loans instead of grants. To read more about their thoughts on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, check out this article from your payday loan source.

  • Anonymous says:

    my name is ben from http://www.creditcardmall.com. although i am not in the green business, i am green. I think solar power is a fantastic solution , even if its not a complete solutions. I shopped around for my house.

    it would be fantastic to supplement the cost of electricity for solar. less cost in the long run can help people pay down other bills, credit cards, and debt. I have a friend that might start installing it too. I drive a prius to save in gas. I am definitely green thanks…

  • Brent says:

    Lots of expectations are waiting for Obama to fulfill. Our country has a lot of problem and he has promised the people about the change that will make our country better. Just in case President-elect Barack Obama’s stimulus plan fails, we still have payday loans to help during those times we are struggling to make ends meet. He calls it the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” The focal point of this plan is job-producing projects that can get started quickly. In addition, he says he is going to provide assistance for middle and low-income families, who are the ones who typically take out payday loans, and provide debt relief for students. He plans to do this through a form of tax cuts and he plans to invest in infrastructure such as bridges, roads and water mains. We’re going to need a huge dose of that stimulus plan to at least stabilize the U.S. economy in this deepening recession. If this plan succeeds, the number of people turning to payday loans will decrease and prosperity will be restored.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think solar polar will become the standard when it becomes afforadble to the masses.

    http://www.squidoo.com/homemade-solar-energy

  • Anonymous says:

    SSP power is a fantastic idea. People talk about renewable energy sources, and beaming in solar energy from space would certainly be the ticket, as there’s no exclusivity rights, no multinational cartels governing its export, and it doesn’t increase the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The bump that the NASA budget would have to receive in order to do it would be mind-boggling however, and with the amount of private interests in the energy industry, I just don’t see it happening for some time. I sincerely hope that it does, because the way the world has been working in the last century has got to change.

  • Anonymous says:

    Solar power is a technology that the world MUST acquire at what ever price it takes to make it cost effective for the end user. As most people know our space program has brought many of our latest advancements in a multitude of fields into existence. Hopefully a workable solar power system that can be employed world wide will not be an exception to the rule. Trading Forex Reviews.Com – http://www.tradingforexreviews.com/

  • Anonymous says:

    While the idea of wireless transmission of usable power isn’t new (Tesla had an idea for wireless transmission of A/C if memory serves) this would be a giant step forward, and if we can ever afford to get it up and working would be tantamount to getting cold fusion to work. (Well, almost) The supply is virtually unlimited (solar energy from space? yeah, that is most definitely a renewable source), so demand would only be a problem as far getting the compatible technology installed worldwide. However, a good deal of above posters are correct as in it is far too expensive right now. There is no amount of payday loans that would cover it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Really interesting and good to see that Obama is into this and spending time and effort on these kinds of things. I really enjoy reading about anything related to solar power and space so this is great to see!

    It’s also very cool to know that it’s already one of the top five most-discussed white papers on Change.gov website.

    Great post

    Chris Clark
    http://www.chrisaclark.com

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m very impressed that the government is making more of an effort to be transparent and listen to the people. At this time in our lives it just seems like thats the only way we’re going to pull what is seriously starting to look like a full blown depression. I’m not trying to scare anyone but if you look at the amount of personal debt a lot of people have both in terms of their personal level of debt, credit card debt and mortgages, we’re living a lifestyle we can’t finance.

      I’m really hoping this is a trend in which the government aims to open up transparency and help everyone get involved.

    • AlexisE says:

      America’s middle class families are caught in an unprecedented crunch. Despite a growing economy, their incomes have remained stagnant or flat. And because prices for big ticket items such as housing and health care have gone through the roof, families are not able to put away a rainy day fund. Instead, middle class families have had to take on more debt to maintain their basic needs and, as a consequence, have been unable to save. Borrowers of payday loans just don’t live up to the stereotype of them – most of them are middle class. The fact is that more and more people of middle income are turning to payday loans because of a sudden crunch in the budget, and they need a credit solution that they consider to be better than the normal routes of going to bank, or credit cards, or just paying the overdraft fees, and they’re doing it all over America, from Pennsylvania, to Indiana, and out to California. After the recent bank and credit collapse, who can blame people for looking to payday loans instead?

    • Anonymous says:

      We as consumers in today’s economy are directed and guided by our “experts” who manage our loans and rules of these loans.

      Perhaps they should reconsider the rules in lending, and for those who are stuck in the rut of unsecured debt with interest rates that keep them in the rut should consider debt settlement.

      http://www.practicaldebtsolutions.com has shown me they have the intergity to get me the help I needed

  • Anonymous says:

    The vision of space solar is interesting in theory. I can’t see how the development costs would have an acceptable ROI. we certainly have not exhausted the potential of solar,wind,wave power right here on earth!

    • Anonymous says:

      Obama has promised alot to change the economy, infrastructure, energy, job and health sector of the country. With the current market situation and what looks like to carry on till February 2010. Will Obama succeed to accompolish his promises. Another one year of this recession is going to break alot of people financially and also health wise. Already we have seen job cuts in each and every sector, what will the scene be by the time good times come again.

      P.S.
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  • Anonymous says:

    Yes agreed harnessing Space Solar Power is a huge challenge however we must all be vigilant about the perils of not seeking these types of solutions to the energy needs of the future. In Australia we are only finally starting to take up Solar Power in House Design in a main stream way, hard to believe in a country like ours like just not a mandatory part of new Home Design.

    Victor Wallace http://www.visualsupercomputing.com

    • Anonymous says:

      A space based solar array, if we can get it to work and pay off, would likely mean a new Space Race – a race to get more solar arrays in space than the other guys. Well, at least this space race would be the one to benefit the human race with abundant, available, energy. Let’s just hope that this kind of technology doesn’t fall into the hands of the wrong kind of private people, or that it doesn’t become a black hole for public spending – I think we’ve had enough of bailing out failed corporations for now.

  • Anonymous says:

    The concept sounds very outlandish and if such technology was ready to go would it not be a good start to beam around electricity on the ground first efficiently and make less energy transmission loses.
    I still think that developing a more efficient solar cell is more viable. superb blog.
    please visit this blog too. http://www.obama-climate-change.com

    • Anonymous says:

      SSP is a great idea, but sadly, the technology needed to make it operational is not available as of yet. None the less, it’s great to hear that the first steps are being taken and hopefully someday in near future we may actually start harnessing the free energy that’s there for the taking.
      On the other hand, I would prefer to see our new president focusing on not so distant future and start using the technology that already exists. Solar power can be harnessed from the ground and so can wind power. New electric cars are becoming better and better every year and are already nearly as good as the normal, petrol driven vehicles (just check out what Toyota is doing and compare that to the US automotive industry). If our president’s attention, and with it the nation’s attention, would turn to these technologies, we could start saving our planet today. – Andrew Oke, http://www.dp-db.com/off-grid-living

  • Anonymous says:

    Such a dramatic shift would require, among other things, satellite technology that’s still in the early testing stages and substantially lower costs to launch satellites into orbit. But if the incoming administration wants to explore such options, for the first time it would link unmanned space exploration with ways to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. Sell timeshare A private space shuttle program should also be fully operational to provide regular maintenance to these solar power “spations” (~ Stations in Space and not Terrestrial), as a safe governance situation to keep it running longer then a few decades and take cautions to not see the whole world become exclusively dependent of a few flying panels which lifetime will be restricted.

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s precisely ideas like this that really need to be pushed onto the desks of legislators in order to get our country’s energy policy back on track. Even if a huge spaceborne solar power system isn’t the ultimate answer, it’s great that the new administration is considering projects of that sort. Innovative thinking is one of the keys to exiting this recession.

  • […] Space Frontier Foundation Advancing NewSpace The Space Posted by root 1 day 34 minutes ago (http://spacefrontier.org) 66 responses to obama space team seeks public comment on space solar power white paper submitted by sff all rights reserved powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | space frontier foundation advancing newspace the space […]

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  • BerinSzoka says:

    Show your support for Space Solar Power by signing our SSP Petition on Facebook today!

  • jkrukin says:

    With all the public attention on matters of the environment, energy, and resource depletion, I’ve long maintained that the space community needs to connect space with these issues in a reasonable manner. This is the only way to develop space advocates among those who don’t care about or see any value in traditional space exploration. – Jeff Krukin (www.jeffkrukin.com)

  • SebastienRequier says:

    Congratulations for all the work done do far !
    Let’s hope there’ll be enough budget for research and that it won’t take more then 30 years to have something fully operational and mass-produced. Side-effects studies included.

    A private space shuttle program should also be fully operational to provide regular maintenance to these solar power “spations” (~ Stations in Space and not Terrestrial), as a safe governance situation to keep it running longer then a few decades and take cautions to not see the whole world become exclusively dependent of a few flying panels which lifetime will be restricted.

  • gaetano marano - ghostNASA.com says:

    .

    sorry, but, the Space Solar Power is TOO expensive, as explained (with detailed evaluations) in this ghostNASA article:

    http://www.ghostnasa.com/posts/038sspdebunked.html

    .

  • Anonymous says:

    As aware as I am of the cost effectiveness of space solar power I fill that continued research in the field is a good thing, and the new solar film or plastic a solar medium about the thichness of a credit card and could be placed on the outer edges of high rise windows is the answer to urban power grid problems.
    Also I would like to say a couple of months ago I built my own solar panel for about 300.00 dollars, It saving me a fortune. I cant beleve everyone is not doing this. I highly recommend this to anyone thinking of living off the grid or just trying to save money!

  • wilsonti says:

    I am sorry to say that your vie that Space Solar Power is to expensive it a very narrow vision.

    Do you think that the world is going to be able to Contine to produce power on the scale it is today without investing in technology at some point?

    The fact that President Barack Obama has chosen to look at this matter shows the commitment towards the future. Even if the current economic climate dictates that the project is to expensive this should be no reason to discontinue research and development for the future.

    What price are you willing to put on your car or electric supply to your home?

    Even if you covered the entire surface of the United States with wind farms you would not be able to realize even a quarter of the potential of the SSP scheme.

    Therefore, is it still to be expensive? What price do you place on freedom?

     

  • Judy-Hutchins says:

    Well, the technology is still pretty new. I know google has invested in a solar powered panel array down by New Mexico in the hopes that we can make energy from solar viable. Even if the technology is expensive it still is improving and will therefore keep getting cheaper. On top of that President Obama is going to start up alternative energy research (Unlike what Bush did by killing any funding for it) again and get us to be less dependent on foreign oil.

    Judy Hutchins

  • William Watson says:

    Andy Pasztor reports from Wall Street Journal

    When it comes to outer space, President-elect Barack Obama’s aides have been close-mouthed on such big questions as when to retire the Space Shuttle and whether to speed up plans for manned flights to the moon.

    But the idea of turning solar power generated by orbiting satellites into electricity that can be used on the ground recently showed up on the Obama transition Web site, http://www.change.gov. The notion has been kicked around in international academic and scientific circles for years — and it’s now posted on part of the site that lets members of the public throw up ideas for comment — something Team Obama calls “your seat at the table.” The space-based energy proposal links to a Pentagon-sponsored feasibility study and outside recommendations on how to launch such an initiative.

    Beaming solar power from space back to Earth using lasers or microwaves is still a far-out idea, requiring advances in technology and cost reductions that are far from certain and, in any case, likely to take decades to develop. There are legions of skeptics, and Obama transition officials haven’t officially embraced the solar-power initiative.

    But some transition team members are known to look favorably on the general idea. A spokesman for the transition didn’t respond to email requests for comment.

    Such a dramatic shift would require, among other things, satellite technology that’s still in the early testing stages and substantially lower costs to launch satellites into orbit. But if the incoming administration wants to explore such options, for the first time it would link unmanned space exploration with ways to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

    Real-world tests are many years away, and even rudimentary efforts are likely to cost billions of dollars, according to space experts. Still, the idea was broached in 2007 by various military space officials, the Space Frontier Foundation and others.

    Obviously much more complicated and expensive than conventional electric generation, power from space would be intended for emergency situations and remote locations where ground generating equipment doesn’t exist or has been damaged by natural disasters. In the case of the military, proponents argue such space-generated power could save lives by avoiding setting up ground-based alternatives in combat zones.

    The concept of using lasers to connect satellites to the ground may have a science-fiction connotation, but European and American scientists have shown the feasibility in laboratories for years. The Pentagon won’t confirm widespread industry reports that it already has tested some prototype laser links between orbiting satellites. By 2020 or so, the military’s internal plans project using lasers to zap data at high transmission rates from satellites in space to various ground receivers.

    Before the latest mention of the issue on the Web site, it generated support as well as criticism among space scientists and inside the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    Proponents see it possibly reinvigorating exploration of the heavens and bolstering public support for a brand new NASA mission. Opponents, on the other hand, consider the idea a diversion from the agency’s goal of returning astronauts to the Moon and eventually beyond.

    Charles Miller, a private space consultant and former board member of the Space Frontier Foundation, was part of the group that passed on the foundation’s recommendations to transition officials. If the U.S. decides to tap solar power generated in space and NASA takes the lead, according to Miller, the agency “would have a very clear and powerful mission to deliver benefits” to taxpayers. Such a dramatic policy shift, he said, could help stem erosion of public support for NASA.

    Governments in Japan, India and China have taken cautious, early steps to advocate or pursue such measures. A detailed 2007 study distributed by the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office raised the profile of the discussion, partly because such power potentially could help supply electricity to armed forces in dangerous or remote locations. Another possible goal is to provide power to hospitals or public facilities in areas hit by storms, earthquakes or other natural disasters.

  • Anonymous says:

    With all the public attention on matters of the environment, energy, and resource depletion, I’ve long maintained that the space community needs to connect space with these issues in a reasonable manner. This is the only way to develop space advocates among those who don’t care about or see any value in traditional space exploration

  • Anonymous says:

    In response to Gaetano’s comment above, I agree that Space Solar Power is very expensive. A big part of Obama’s campaign was to stress the importance of cutting government programs/processes that are not efficient and/or do not work. Let us all hope that nothing in the space program is cut from the national budget, as these programs are vital in this age globalization.

    AJ Feinberg (www.feinbergalban.com)

  • Anonymous says:

    Solar Panel is a source of energy of the future. i have read that if we could get all of the energy the sun produces per second, we could power any city for a million thousand years.
    Source:earth4forenergy.com

  • Anonymous says:

    The Middle Class Task Force, which is headed by Vice President Joe Biden, this task force will be an important vehicle to assess new and existing policies across the board. Obama created a Middle Class Task Force to create more jobs, and better paying jobs to bolster the shrinking American middle class, and return it to a state where the average Joe doesn’t have to worry about whether he needs a payday loan or not. Obama is all about the people who find themselves in need of a payday loan. A mighty task, but the message of Obama has always been, “Yes, We Can.” Hopefully, we can with the aid of a payday loan if we need one

  • Arian A says:

    What’s more important about this is the guts of President Obama to continue his plans though not all of us are in favor tho him. And this program is a big challenge for him. However, being aware government issues, the TARP program has been a long time debate. Wells Fargo got part of funds from this program in order to put on an employee soiree. After taking criticism for throwing this company bash, the company has suspended all such future activities. But, CEO John Stumpf, taken to task in the press, has stated that the functions aren’t a big deal; they’re for regular hardworking employees and not for executives. A company party might be good for morale, but not using the payday loan given to them by the public.

  • Anonymous says:

    It is important to calculate the cost of giant projects like this. Although it would seem to save money to run things off of solar power it is not yet actually cheaper. It is very expensive and many think that the finances would be better spend on helping families in these hard economic times.

    There are a lot of people using payday loans and cash advances out of sheer desperation. This money could be better spent on educating people on how to better manage their finances. Many don’t even know what installment loans are and how they are the smartest choice for short term financing. (See http://installmentloans.info ) Although space exploration and solar powered space stations and crafts are a good idea, it may not be the right time to spend that type of cash.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    have read that Space Power Association . org has tested this
    concept in Hawaii with successful results . If we pursue this
    strategy , we’ll no longer need coal burning electricity plants ,
    nuclear power electricity plants , or hydro-electric dams , and
    be able to enjoy the benefits of dirt-cheap , pollution-free
    electricity for our homes , businesses and cars . We can
    start using material from the Moon and passing asteroids to
    construct Solar Power Satellites and place them in
    geosynchronous orbit . America can be a world leader ,
    supplying dirt-cheap , pollution free energy to every country
    on Earth !
    Cordially , Jfhadden@canada.com

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  • Anonymous says:

    Solar power is important and hence it is the need of the hour to go ahead with such program…

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  • Anonymous says:

    Due to my lack of knowledge about this particular technology, I’m not really in a position to comment about its viability. What I can say, though, is that pursuing and researching a potentially world-changing technology is about the best thing this country can invest in, especially right now. It may not have immediate payoffs and take us out of a recession, but an investment in time, money, and publicity is all it would take for the government directly. When looking at the facts about solar energy, whether in space or on Earth, there is really no reason it shouldn’t be well developed and viable for everyone in the very near future.

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  • Anonymous says:

    Every president has goals and visions before he takes office. President Obama has to balance saving the economy with initiatives that will strengthen us in the long run. I believe that energy policies are the future of making us more secure economically – hopefully the solar energy plans will come about as well as as plans that utilize algae.
    Hopefully the Stimulus plan and the housing affordability plan will get us stabalized so that we can start making true growth.
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  • Anonymous says:

    America’s middle class families are caught in an unprecedented crunch. Despite a growing economy, their incomes have remained stagnant or flat. And because prices for big ticket items such as housing and health care have gone through the roof, families are not able to put away a rainy day fund. Instead, middle class families have had to take on more debt to maintain their basic needs and, as a consequence, have been unable to save. Borrowers of payday loans and bank accounts just don’t live up to the stereotype of them – most of them are middle class. The fact is that more and more people of middle income are turning to payday loans because of a sudden crunch in the budget, and they need a credit solution that they consider to be better than the normal routes of going to bank, or credit cards, or just paying the overdraft fees, and they’re doing it all over America, from Pennsylvania, to Indiana, and out to California. After the recent bank and credit collapse, who can blame people for looking to payday loans instead?