‘Concepts for beaming solar energy from satellites to Earth via radio waves aim to revolutionize the market for clean and sustainable power.
If successful, they would open up the colossal energy industry to the space sector while potentially helping connect around 700 million people estimated to be without access to electricity.
But while space-based solar power (SBSP) principles have been around for decades, the economics for power plants that would need to span thousands of meters in orbit have not added up.
That could now be changing with the advent of renewable rockets and advancing in-orbit assembly capabilities.
The latest SBSP concepts also envisage modular structures in geostationary orbit (GEO) ranging from about two million to 10 million kilograms.
While still enormous, the original NASA Solar Power Satellite reference system from the late 1970s was not modular and had a proposed mass of about 50 million kilograms. That’s over seven thousand times more mass than the heaviest commercial satellite ever launched to GEO.‘
Co-Chair on the Space Energy Initiative, Martin Soltau, and John Worthy, partner at Fieldfisher Technology and Outsourcing Group, feature in this article from SpaceNews Magazine, discussing the next phase of the SEI and what needs to happen next to make this technology a reality.