SPACE SOLAR POWER
Meeting Tomorrow’s Energy Needs Today
The National Security Space Office Sponsored Study on Space-Based Solar Power
An Opportunity to Meet Humanity’s Energy, National Security,
Environmental and Economic Development Needs
October 10, 2007 – A National Security Space Office (NSSO) led study group has been investigating Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) as a way to reduce American dependence on foreign-oil as well as a solution to the possibility of global warming for the last several months. Today, the NSSO-sponsored group published the study results.
The Space Frontier Foundation fully supports ALL of the recommendations of this SBSP study report. The big news of this study is that the Pentagon may become an early and major customer for wireless power transmission from space at a much higher price than what the average American pays for power in their homes. This totally changes the economic and business case for SBSP.
The report indicates that the Pentagon is interested in SBSP for multiple reasons. Strategically, creating a new and totally renewable source of energy – that is available to all people – could prevent major wars in the coming century over the planet’s dwindling energy resources. Tactically, in a decade or two, SBSP could save the lives of American men and women in war zones. Right now, Americans are dying to protect fuel convoys in Iraq – convoys that are delivering kerosene for electrical generators in forward bases.
The study report, which was sponsored by and prepared for the Director of the NSSO, concludes “space-based solar power presents a strategic opportunity” for America that “merits significant further attention on the part of both the U.S. Government and the private sector.” The study report also states “SBSP requires a coordinated national program with high-level leadership and resourcing commensurate with its promise, but at least on the level of fusion energy research or International Space Station construction and operations.”
The Space Frontier Foundation, which has opposed many other federally-funded space programs as being wasteful and/or ineffective – strongly supports a new national SBSP initiative for the U.S. Government to finance and to incentivize the private industry investment SBSP. The Foundation is calling on the U.S. Congress to finance SBSP at least at the level of fusion energy research, and to give American SBSP companies the same loan guarantees that it currently gives to the nuclear power industry in order to close the SBSP business case.”
The SBSP study report also finds that “although SBSP holds great promise to deliver clean and renewable energy to all nations of the world, the potential environmental impacts of the various systems and mitigation options to minimize those impacts require greater study.” For this reason, the study report recommends “the U.S. Government … must study the potential environmental impacts of the various approaches early enough to help make effective choices between the various technical alternatives.”
The Space Frontier Foundation plans to hold the U.S. Government to its promise to adopt a green engineering approach. We also will host a SBSP conference in July 2008 in Washington, D.C. At this conference we will bring business, government, environmental, policy and technology professionals together to discuss and promote the advancement of this breakthrough technology.
Click here to download this NSSO-sponsored SBSP Study Report (.pdf report).
Click here to download the Foundation’s official views on the key recommendations in the report.
Click here to download a 1-page cover letter from the head of the NSSO announcing the results.
For more information on the Space Frontier Foundation’s plans to support SBSP, including the 2008 SBSP conference in Washington, D.C., contact Margo Deckard at 937-376-8737 or mardeckard at aol.com.
The SBSP Report received extensive press. Below are links to various media coverage:
May 30, 2008 – CNN’s Lara Farrar reports from London in her article How to harvest solar power? Beam it down from space! that the concept to beam solar power from satellites is gaining new global momentum. She quotes Foundation Board member Charles Miller: “The conditions are ripe for something to happen on space solar power,” said Charles Miller, a director of the Space Frontier Foundation, a group promoting public access to space. “The environment is perfect for a new start.” And: “The country that takes the lead on space solar power will be the energy-exporting country for the entire planet for the next few hundred years,” Miller said.
October 12, 2007 – MSNBC’s Alan Boyle has an article on the SBSP Report: Power from space? Pentagon likes the idea – Frontline soldiers could use energy beamed from orbit, study says. “The issue here is not technology, OK?” said Charles Miller, who was a contributor to the study. “You could figure out how to do space solar power in the ’70s. [But] you couldn’t close the business case in the ’70s. You couldn’t close it in the ’90s. How do you close the business case? That is the No. 1 question to be answered.”
October 11, 2007 – Brian Berger reports on Space.com in his article, Report Urges U.S. to Pursue Space-Based Solar Power, that “Charles Miller, one of the Space Frontier Foundation’s directors, agreed public funding is vital to getting space-based solar power off the ground. Miller told reporters that the space-based solar power industry could take off within 10 years if the White House and Congress embrace the report’s recommendations by funding a robust demonstration program and provide the same kind of incentives it offers the nuclear power industry.”
October 11, 2007 – Frank Morring, Jr. reports on AviationWeek.com that, “NSSO Backs Space Solar Power – Collecting solar power in space and beaming it back to Earth is a relatively near-term possibility that could solve strategic and tactical security problems for the U.S. and its deployed forces, the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office (NSSO) says in a report issued Oct. 10.”
October 10, 2007 – NASAWatch: Space Solar Power Interest On The Rise
October 10, 2007 – SpaceRef.com comments on the SBSP Study Report in it’s article: New Space Solar Power Organization Announced. “The Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy Will Pursue Recommendations of New NSSO-Led Study – Study Concludes Space Solar Power Could Deliver Clean, Renewable Energy for Planet, But Requires a Coordinated National Program of Investment.”
October 10, 2007 – PhysicsForums.com: “Space-Based*Solar*Power, As*an*Opportunity*for*Strategic*Security – Looks like we may have solutions here.”
October 10, 2007 – Arthur Smith has extensive coverage on Alternative Energy Action Network: “I attended a very interesting event in the National Press Club’s “First Amendment Lounge” this morning in Washington D.C. It was mainly an announcement and discussion of a new report on space solar power, published by the U.S. Department of Defense National Security Space Office. The morning also included the announcement of a new Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy consisting of a number of prominent space organizations that have committed to ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of the report.”