SunSat Creator Peter Glaser Passes
Foundation Calls for Renewed Space Solar Power R&D
Silicon Valley, CA – The Space Frontier Foundation notes with sadness the passing of a pioneer of the space settlement community and a globally famous space technologist, Dr. Peter Glaser. In his tribute, the leaders of the Foundation called on policymakers for a renewed American investment in space-based solar power collection, transmission, and utilization technologies.
Dr. Glaser is best known for inventing the space solar power satellite concept in 1968. The SSP (SunSat) concept is based on the fact that in space, unfiltered sunlight can be collected 24 hours a day, converted into electricity and beamed to receiving antennas where it is needed on the Earth with no environmental consequences.
“Dr. Glaser believed in a human future of abundance and hope driven by the use of the unquenchable energies of the Sun. He worked his whole life to share and realize that vision with the rest of us,” said Foundation President James Pura. “He predicted the need for a major new energy source for the Earth back in the 1960s, and saw space offering answers to the challenges we face today. Dr. Glaser did all this before my generation was even born. Now we need to act to help realize his dream.”
A naturalized U.S .citizen born in Czechoslovakia, Dr. Glaser was part of the team that helped put the Apollo 11 Lunar Reflector on the Moon’s surface, served on many Boards and Committees of the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council, and was a Fellow of both the AAAS and AIAA. He was editor of the Journal of Solar Energy and an editor/contributor for several solar/space energy journals and publications, publishing over 800 papers during his long career. Following his development of the idea of space solar power, he received a patent on the concept in 1973.
“Dr. Glaser, along with the late Gerard K. O’Neill, was a founding intellectual pioneer of the space settlement and development movement that began in the 1970s and is today manifest in the NewSpace revolution led by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bob Bigelow,” said Foundation Chair Jeff Fiege.
Today, space solar power is part of many plans to open the frontier of space. As the cost of going into space drops and ways are found to harvest space resources, the idea of building solar power generating platforms in space makes more economic sense, first for in-space applications and later as a terrestrial energy source.
“Right now humanity faces the largest challenge since we began to walk upright in the form of what might happen to the climate of our planet” said Foundation Co-Founder Rick Tumlinson. “We are talking about a threat that is as big as the planet. One of the tools that might help us survive and at the same time open the universe to future generations is developing the means to harvest the light of the sun in space to power the Earth’s economy. Dr. Glaser gave us that gift. We owe him a debt of thanks.”