SPACE SOLAR POWER
Meeting Tomorrow’s Energy Needs Today
Project Manager (2001-2007): Margo Deckard
Project Manager (2008-2010):Taylor Dinerman
There are 6 billion human beings inhabiting this living world. Six billion humans who place demands on this Earth. Humans who want the Western standard-of-living and who justifiably want all the conveniences of modern life. A fundamental challenge in this century is how to provide for the world’s growing energy needs. In meeting this challenge, it is vital that we protect the Earth’s fragile biosphere. Space Solar Power, or SSP, may be part of the energy solution. SSP could be an environmentally friendly economical energy producing technology that simultaneously promotes the human realization that the Earth is an open system and the human settlement of space.
SSP as a space-based energy system isn’t a new idea. The idea has been around since 1881. In that year Nikola Tesla addressed the American Institute of Electrical Engineers about his attempts to demonstrate long-distance wireless power transmission over the surface of the Earth. Tesla said, “Throughout space there is energy. If static, then our hopes are in vain; if kinetic – and this we know it is for certain – then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheel work of nature.”
The idea took on its present form in 1968, when Peter Glaser formalized the idea of SSP as a source for continuos power generation for the Earth’s future energy needs. Glaser’s basic idea was that satellites in geosynchronous orbit would collect energy from the Sun. The energy would be converted to radio waves and beamed to a receiving site on the ground. The ground antenna would then reconvert the radio waves to electricity for power consumption.
In the Space Frontier Foundation’s credo, we clearly commit to protect “the Earth’s fragile biosphere” and to bring about a better life for the human race by “utilizing the unlimited energy and material resources of space.” With these goals in mind, the Foundation has committed to an SSP Campaign. Albert Einstein once said that “Our thinking creates problems which the same level of thinking can’t solve.” Well, Albert, not only our thinking, but also our actions. We must look out of the box to solve the problems of nonrenewable energy and the human impact on Earth. Please join us in supporting this promising technology.
Currently, the major project of the Campaign is a public outreach grant funded by NASA. The goal of the 9-month project was to reach out to the environmental community to inform them of SSP and give them a forum to address SSP issues. The environmental community consists of academics, industry, advocacy groups, and general enthusiasts. The objectives of the 9-month project included (1) an introduction of the concept of SSP as a space-based energy source for the Earth to this environmental community, (2) the assessment of the environmental community’s concerns about SSP impact, and (3) the development of a framework for which to address the benefits and concerns raised by the environmental community. We hope this project will be one of many successful endeavors by the campaign.
Update February 28, 2001—The Space Frontier Foundation, ProSpace, and FINDS sponsored a Senate Roundtable on Space Solar Power. The Roundtable was held in the Space Subcommittee Hearing Room, Room 2325, in the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington D.C. CLICK HERE to read the report.
Update October 10, 2007: CLICK HERE for information or to download The National Security Space Office Sponsored Study on Space-Based Solar Power.
Solar Power Satellites: A Space Energy System for Earth
Glaser, Peter, Frank P. Davidson, and Katinka Csigi
John Wiley & Sons, 1998.