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SOLAR POWER SATELLITES:

A VISUAL INTRODUCTION

Prepared by:
Ishita Bhatt
(15MEE03)

Outline
Background
Advantages over earth based solar power
Problems
Present scenario
How it will work
SPS 2000
Issues
Conclusion
Reference

How does it look like?

Background
Czech-born physicist/engineer Peter Glaser
outlined the concept in a brief article in the
esteemed
journalSciencein
November
1968, and was awarded a patent for his
invention on Christmas Day 1973.
In October 1976, the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) and NASA began a threephase, four-year joint study of the SPS
concept.

Glaser had noticed that a satellite in


geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), 35,786
kilometers above the equator, would pass
through Earths shadow for only a few minutes
each year. It was well known that a satellite in
equatorial GEO moves at the same speed the
Earth rotates at the equator (1609 kilometer per
hour).

Glaser also understood that electricity did not


have to travel through wires; it could be
beamed from a transmitter to a receiver.
Glaser mixed these three ingredients and
came up with a satellite in equatorial GEO
that would use:
solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity
convert the electricity into microwaves, and
beam the microwaves at a receiving antenna
(rectenna) on Earth.
The rectenna would turn the microwaves
back into electricity, then wires would carry it
to the electric utility grid.

Idea gained momentum during the Oil


Crises of 1970s, but after prices stabilized
idea was dropped

US Department of Energy research program 19781981

Advantages over Earth based


solar power
More

intense sunlight
In geosynchronous orbit, 36,000 km
(22,369 miles) an SPS would be
illuminated over 99% of the time
No need for costly storage devices
for when the sun is not in view
Only a few days at spring and fall
equinox would the satellite be in shadow

Continued
Waste

heat is radiated back into

space
Power can be beamed to the location
where it is needed, dont have to
invest in as large a grid
No air or water pollution is created
during generation

Problems

Issues identified during the DOE study

Complexity30 years to complete


Size6.5 miles long by 3.3 miles wide
Transmitting antenna mile in
diameter(1 km)

Costprototype would have cost $74 billion


Microwave transmission
Interference with other electronic devices
Health and environmental effects

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1980s to Present

Japanese continued to study the idea of SPS


throughout the 1980s
In 1995 NASA began a Fresh Look Study
Set up a research, technology, and investment
schedule
Paired with a rectenna a couple of kilometers across,
such an SPS would contribute five gigawatts to
the U.S. electricity supply. DOE estimated that 60
such satellites with a total generating capacity of
300 gigawatts could contribute meaningfully to
satisfying projected U.S. electricity demand in the
2000-2030 period.
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How it will work?


The
Space
Freighter pictured
in
the
Boeing
painting was, as
its name implies,
meant to serve as
the main cargo
launcher for SPS
construction.
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As beam builders and


astronauts
completed
truss
work
sections,
automated OTVs would
begin to deliver rolls of
solar cell blankets to
the SPS work-site

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Despite
extensive
reliance
on
automation, the 30year
SPS
project
would require the
presence of nearly
1000 astronauts in
space at all times.
Most would be based
in GEO.
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More than 50 square


kilometers of solar cell
blankets
would
be
spread
over
the
trusswork of each SPS
in this way. The end
result of this intensive
human and machine
labor is depicted in
idealized
form
immediately below.

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SPS 2000

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Details
Project
in
Development
in
Japan
Goal is to build a
low
cost
demonstration
model by 2025
8 Countries along
the equator have
agreed to be the
site of a rectenna

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Continued

10 MW
power

satellite

delivering

microwave

Will not be in geosynchronous orbit,


instead low orbit 1100 km (683
miles)
Much cheaper to put a satellite in
low orbit
200 seconds of power on each pass
over rectenna
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Power to Mobile Devices


If microwave beams carrying power could
be beamed uniformly over the earth they
could power cell phones
Biggest problem is that the antenna would
have to be 25-30 cm square

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Low Orbit
Communications

industry proposing
to have hundreds of satellites in low
earth orbit
These satellites will use microwaves
to beam communications to the
ground
Could also be used to beam power

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Continued
Since

a low orbit microwave beam


would spread less, the ground based
rectenna could be smaller
Would allow collectors on the ground
of a few hundred meters across
instead of 10 kilometers
In low orbit they circle the Earth in
about every 90 minutes

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Issues
Would require a network of hundreds
of satellites
Air Force currently track 8500 man made
objects in space, 7% satellites
Would

make telecommunications
companies into power companies

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Reliability

Ground based solar


only works during
clear days, and must
have storage for
night
Power can be
beamed to the
location where it is
needed, dont have
to invest in as large a
grid

A network of low orbit


satellites could
provide power to
almost any point on
Earth continuously
because one satellite
would always be in
range
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Legal Issues
Who will oversee?
Environmental Concerns
International

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NASA
Funding the research
In charge of space flight for the United
States
Would be launching the satellites and
doing maintenance

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FCC
Federal Communications Commission
The FCC was established by the
Communications Act of 1934 and is
charged with regulating interstate and
international communications by radio,
television, wire, satellite and cable.

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Environmental
Possible health hazards
Effects of long term exposure
Exposure is equal to the amount that
people receive from cell phones and
microwaves
Location

The size of construction for the rectennas


is massive

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International
Geosynchronous
satellites
would
take up large sections of space
Interference
with communication
satellites
Low orbit satellites would require
agreements about rectenna locations
and flight paths

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Conclusions
More reliable than ground based
solar power
In order for SPS to become a reality it
several things have to happen:
Government support
Cheaper launch prices
Involvement of the private sector

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Refernces

Web resources:
http://www.spacefuture.com/power/sps2000
.html

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Thank you

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