PDA

View Full Version : Space Solar Power Systems (SSPS)



selvaarchi
2015-Mar-16, 02:06 PM
There has been lots of talk on how SSPS will be the future for green energy here on earth. If we have that technology, it can also be used for the moon, Mars etc. One major hurdle has been, moving the energy from up there to down here on earth. We have just taken a small step in that direction.

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/03/15/mitsubishi-completes-ssps-wireless-transmission-test/#more-54871


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has conducted ground demonstration testing of “wireless power transmission,” a new technology presently under development to serve as the core technology of the space solar power systems (SSPS) that are expected to be the power generation systems of the future. With successful completion of the test at the company’s Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, MHI has now verified the viability of long-distance wireless power transmission.

In the ground demonstration test, 10 kilowatts (kW) of power was sent from a transmitting unit by microwave. The reception of power was confirmed at a receiver unit located at a distance of 500 meters (m) away by the illumination of LED lights, using part of power transmitted. The transmission distance and power load mark new milestones in Japan with respect to length and volume of wireless power transmission. The testing also confirmed the performance of the advanced control system technology used to regulate the direction of the microwave beam so that it does not veer from the targeted receiver unit.

selvaarchi
2015-Mar-16, 10:39 PM
Almost the same news as above but instead of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. doing it, it is scientists working for JAXA, Japan's space administration. The news is with a space slant which I tried to give it in the above article :D

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/4336/20150315/scientists-shed-light-beaming-solar-power-space.htm


Researchers in Japan have been working on this technology for years as part of JAXA's Space Solar Power Systems effort. The program's goal is to harness a constant supply of solar energy directly from space using orbital solar farms and then beam that energy for use here on Earth.

Solar power generation in space has many advantages over solar power here on the ground with the constant availability of energy regardless of the weather or time of day being the most notable.

The idea, said the JAXA spokesman, would be for microwave-transmitting solar satellites - which would have sunlight-gathering panels and antennae - to be set up about 22,300 miles (36,000km) from the Earth.

"But it could take decades before we see practical application of the technology - maybe in the 2040s or later," he said. "There are a number of challenges to overcome, such as how to send huge structures into space, how to construct them and how to maintain them."

While this project from JAXA is still closer to science fiction rather than science fact, the lure of an almost limitless supply of energy is too much to ignore and now that researchers have overcome the first hurdle of actually beaming the energy to another location, we could be looking at the future of power generation here on Earth today.

Jens
2015-Mar-17, 01:50 AM
In the second article, I think this sentence is pretty key:


"But it could take decades before we see practical application of the technology - maybe in the 2040s or later," he said. "There are a number of challenges to overcome, such as how to send huge structures into space, how to construct them and how to maintain them."

And I would add, "and how to fund them."...

lpetrich
2015-Mar-19, 11:57 PM
It will be necessary to get launch costs way way way way down for orbiting solar panels to be feasible.

Consider the numbers of a well-known rocket company that brags about its prices: Capabilities & Services | SpaceX (http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities)
$61.2 million to send 13150 kg into low earth orbit (LEO) or 4850 kg into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). This turns out to be

LEO: $4650/kg
GTO: $12600/kg

To get an idea of the state of the art, I looked at the first solar panel that shopping.google.com returned: 300W Polycrystalline | Renogy Store (http://www.renogy-store.com/300W-Poly-p/rng-300p.htm)

Output: 300 watts
Price: $275.99
Weight: 23 kg
Dimensions: 2 m * 1 m * 5 cm

So getting it up into outer space would cost $110 thousand. However, a single Falcon 9 launch could get 570 of these panels into LEO, and they would produce 170 kilowatts of electricity.

Launch Costs - United Launch Alliance (http://www.ulalaunch.com/faqs-launch-costs.aspx) is a bit diffident, with what looks like FUD against SpaceX: "It would be risky to bet on a potential new entrant who is not yet certified, has a history of launch delays, and an overcommitted manifest that they may not be able to deliver on."

But back to our main business. "The full price for a lower-end mission utilizing the Atlas V is $164 million." That rocket can get 9,800–18,810 kg into LEO, about $8,800 - $16,700 / kg.

However, the ULA offers bulk discounts: "The incremental price of a lower-end mission, that is, the cost to the U.S. government to increase the block buy one addition mission, is less than $100 million." That is, $5,300 to $10,200 / kg.

Ariane 5 ECA - Spaceflight101 (http://www.spaceflight101.com/ariane-5-eca.html) has $200 million for 21,000 kg to LEO, about $9,500 / kg.

I couldn't find any numbers for the Russian Soyuz rocket, or for Chinese or Indian rockets.

VQkr
2015-Mar-20, 01:08 AM
The raw materials for solar panels exist in abundance outside of earth's gravity well. Such a system economically viable in the future could result from a mix of increasing energy prices, decreased launched prices, and development in remote manufacturing technology to allow large solar arrays to be built from in situ resources.

Large transmission and receiving arrays are needed for orbital transmission distances of microwaves because of the theoretical minimum amount of scattering at long wavelengths.

cjameshuff
2015-Mar-20, 01:35 AM
If you are supplying Earth, the reason to put the solar panels into orbit is to achieve an efficiency gain over having them on the ground, and for it to be worth doing you need it to cost less than building a few times as many solar farms. If you're already mass producing solar panels in orbit, this may well be the case. If you have to ship them up from Earth, it seems far less worth doing.

However, a major potential use for this technology is to supply power to spacecraft such as orbital tugs running on VASIMR or high power ion drives, where there is the much more significant benefit of reducing power system mass. Being able to reduce the amount of mass you have to apply delta-v to during normal operation is worth quite a bit. There is also the potential for supplying power to operations on the moon or asteroids. You don't have to compete with Earth-bound power production in these cases.

lpetrich
2015-Mar-20, 02:17 AM
The raw materials for solar panels exist in abundance outside of earth's gravity well. Such a system economically viable in the future could result from a mix of increasing energy prices, decreased launched prices, and development in remote manufacturing technology to allow large solar arrays to be built from in situ resources.
Yes indeed, but you'll need to get initial extraction, refining, and fabrication facilities into place. One will have to land them on the Moon or else get them to some asteroid.

Now see if you can find a process for refining metal silicates to extract their metals and their silicon. I ask that because most of the Solar System's rocky material is various metal silicates, and also because I haven't been able to find any process for doing so myself.

Obtaining metal oxides or other such compounds will be OK, especially for the more reactive metals. It's relatively easy to proceed from there, and some processes for doing so have been in commercial service for a long time.

lpetrich
2015-Mar-20, 02:22 AM
However, a major potential use for this technology is to supply power to spacecraft such as orbital tugs running on VASIMR or high power ion drives, where there is the much more significant benefit of reducing power system mass. Being able to reduce the amount of mass you have to apply delta-v to during normal operation is worth quite a bit. There is also the potential for supplying power to operations on the moon or asteroids. You don't have to compete with Earth-bound power production in these cases.
In such cases, it would be *much* easier to set up the solar panels on the spot rather than have them orbit several hundred km away. One won't need to aim a beam at a receiver.

cjameshuff
2015-Mar-20, 03:22 AM
In such cases, it would be *much* easier to set up the solar panels on the spot rather than have them orbit several hundred km away. One won't need to aim a beam at a receiver.

It's not easier. Solar panels need to be in the sun to work. You can limit yourself to equatorial areas and import huge battery banks to cover the shaded periods, or to a small region around the poles where you can reach constant sunlight, or you can use a rectenna array that is no harder to set up than a solar collector array (and likely less sensitive to dust or other surface contamination), collecting beamed power from a satellite that's always (or nearly always) in full sun. Additionally, a solar power satellite could switch its delivered power to various locations as needed. Using beamed power could considerably simplify the logistics and improve operational flexibility compared to ground based solar power.

galacsi
2015-Mar-20, 07:58 PM
Space solar power is attractive in theory but I can see several problems when doing a detailed examination.
First the losses and the cost of transmission : Yes your satellite is always in full sun but You have to transform your electric power into radio waves (losses and cost) ,beam them to the ground (losses and cost) and receive them and transform them back into electrical power (losses and cost).
Two , what do you do with an old space solar facility ? there is already a problem of space debris ,it could get much worse with old decaying SSPSs. Conclusion : you have to budget the demolition and or recycling from the beginning .This cost is huge.
And if a SSPS is struck by a meteor how do you prevent the full Kessler syndrome ?
And finally , there is the problem of dependency : Countries will not be willing to depend on an infrastructure upon which they will have no control on it and so fragile.
Think solar event , economic pressure or sanctions and alas war.

Glom
2015-Mar-21, 07:08 AM
The best part is it is easy to convert to a death ray.

cjameshuff
2015-Mar-21, 11:40 AM
The best part is it is easy to convert to a death ray.

Typical designs use a phased array transmitter with the elements synchronized to a reference beam transmitted from the target location. No reference beam means no phased array, and no power beam. Additionally, there are physical limitations on how small a spot a transmitting array of a particular size can focus down to, and typical designs use power levels that are similar to those of sunlight. So converting into a "death ray" would require building a new transmitting array of several times the size, with an on-board phase reference to allow formation of a beam focused on uncooperative targets.

publiusr
2015-Mar-28, 07:42 PM
Some SPSS demonstrators would be nice in the meantime.

selvaarchi
2015-Mar-31, 01:27 AM
Some SPSS demonstrators would be nice in the meantime.
You might get that sooner then you expected :cool:

China is now showing interest in that technology.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/30/c_134109115.htm

Li Ming, vice president of the China Academy of Space Technology, says, "China will build a space station in around 2020, which will open an opportunity to develop space solar power technology."

The space station could surport experiments on the key technologies of constructing space solar power station, Li says.

ravens_cry
2015-Apr-01, 09:19 PM
We'd really have to bring down launch costs for this to be viable, not least because they'd have to be constantly replaced as photovoltaic solar panels lose efficiency over time. Still, it would be a great market for the 'big dumb booster' type rocket.

selvaarchi
2015-Apr-21, 12:53 PM
A US commercial company is sponsoring research with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI).

With all these initiatives going on, perhaps we might have to wait decades before we see practical application of the technology ;)

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/prnewswire-space-news.html?doc=201504201000PR_NEWS_USPR_____LA84363&showRelease=1&dir=0&categories=AEROSPACE-AND-SPACE-EXPLORATION&andorquestion=OR&&passDir=0,1,2,3,4,5,6,15,17,34


Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has signed a sponsored research agreement with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). Under the terms of the agreement, Northrop Grumman will provide up to $17.5 million to the initiative over three years.

publiusr
2015-Apr-25, 07:25 PM
I would love to see SLS launch a demonstrator. If ISS is abandoned--the Truss at least needs to become a SPSS spine.

cjameshuff
2015-Apr-26, 05:21 PM
I would love to see SLS launch a demonstrator. If ISS is abandoned--the Truss at least needs to become a SPSS spine.

It's heavier than it needs to be, shorter than it could be, it's not equipped with the wiring and connectors needed, it places constraints on their design and expansion, brings in international legal and political complications, and it's in an inconvenient orbit. They would be better off with something new...maybe incorporating something like SpiderFab:
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Hoyt_2012_PhI_SpiderFab.pdf

7cscb
2015-Apr-26, 08:52 PM
Re.: Spiderfab. I read the pdf a while back. It all makes sense to me. I wonder if there has been any progress.

tor escort
2015-May-30, 04:27 PM
I can see space based solar power coming into exsistance as early as 2020. I was watching a programme on tv a few months ago about new clean green energies. I think it was caltech that said they were planning on doing this. The solar energy would be beemed down to earth via microwaves, it is supposed to be very safe.

selvaarchi
2016-Jun-14, 01:24 PM
NASA is now working to develop advanced structures for high power solar arrays that are stronger, lighter, and package more compactly for launch.

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/06/10/nasa-working-advance-solar-array-technology/


This technology investment furthers the agency’s deep space exploration goals and aids the commercial communications satellite industry, the provider of direct-to-home television, satellite radio, broadband internet and a multitude of other services.

The Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) is one of the options eyed by NASA that could power an advanced solar electric propulsion spacecraft that makes possible such endeavors as the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission—plucking a multi-ton boulder from an asteroid’s surface, and then maneuvering that object into a stable orbit around the moon for human inspection and sampling.

Tapping into ROSA technology allows the conversion of sunlight into electrical power that drives the ion thrusters of a solar electric propulsion spacecraft. ROSA is expected to enable a number of space initiatives and is a cost-saving plus to transport cargo over long distances beyond the Earth.

publiusr
2016-Jun-17, 09:47 PM
It's heavier than it needs to be, shorter than it could be, it's not equipped with the wiring and connectors needed, it places constraints on their design and expansion, brings in international legal and political complications, and it's in an inconvenient orbit. They would be better off with something new...maybe incorporating something like SpiderFab:
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Hoyt_2012_PhI_SpiderFab.pdf

Spiderfab looks like a very busy design. With ISS, the dog still wagged the tail. That large, masive shuttle orbiter gave you stability the tiny spiderfab bots just won't have.

ROSA looks to be the way to go--as per the post above: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/roll-out-solar-array-technology-benefits-for-nasa-commercial-sector
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40499.0

Scale up for SLS and attach to either end of ISS truss segments. If nothing else, you can do higher power experiments.

selvaarchi
2016-Jun-28, 02:45 PM
The latest Space Review has an appeal to the American government to invest in SSPS but most of the examples given are military based. No mention in the article itself of what is happening else where. In the comments someone said what the Europeans did, but nothing of Japan of China.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3015/1


The United States has demonstrated a history of innovation and leadership in aerospace development that began with the Wright Brothers and the establishment of the space program at NASA. As the world’s premier aerospace developer, the US is well positioned to lead the development of space-based solar power. Doing so could establish new industry for the US and decrease our military’s annual $20 billion energy bill.9

The urgency of this matter should drive Congress to require the Air Force Space Command to develop both laser and microwave wireless point transfer (WPT) SBSP. Laser SBSP should be considered because of the immediate impact that it can bring to space-based assets and potential for terrestrial military operations. By demonstrating laser SBSP capabilities, the US will ignite the appetite for microwave SBSP systems capable of significantly more power distribution tailored for permanent power grid infrastructure support. With current proposals provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), laser SBSP could be implemented in five years. It is imperative that the US develop and collaborate new policies, both domestically and internationally, that support the demonstration of WPT SBSP not with the aim of weaponizing space, but to build a more prosperous world for future generations.

publiusr
2016-Jul-01, 08:15 PM
I just wish Dwayne Day would quit dumping on the concept.

selvaarchi
2016-Dec-26, 03:06 AM
NASA did some studies on it in the late seventies but dropped it in 1982.

http://spaceflighthistory.blogspot.my/2016/12/energy-from-space-department-of.html


The DOE/NASA SPS studies continued until after President Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981. The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) published a review of work performed since 1976 in August 1981. It was based in large part on three OTA-sponsored workshops: one on alternatives to the DOE/NASA SPS system design; another on public opinion of Solar Power Satellies; and the last on competing energy technologies, such as coal-fired power plants and nuclear fission reactors. Despite the OTA's generally favorable (though cautious) assessment of the viability of the SPS concept, the Reagan White House saw fit cease funding the DOE/NASA SPS studies in 1982.

selvaarchi
2017-Mar-02, 09:30 PM
China's desire for space based solar power is to meet their power requirements from non polluting sources. This article indicates that China has already invested over one billion US dollars on land based solar power and it meets less than 1% of their current requirements. The land area used for one solar farm is so huge that it can be seen from space.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.universetoday.com/133930/cant-see-great-wall-china-space-can-see-giant-solar-farm/amp/

"The solar farm with the current distinction of being the largest in the world — as of February 2017 – is the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China. These new images from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite show the farm’s blue solar panels prominently standing out on the brown landscape of the western province of Qinghai, China. Reportedly, the solar farm covers 27 square kilometers (10.42 square miles), and consists of nearly 4 million solar panels.

You can see in the image below from 2013 that the farm has been growing over the years. The project has cost the amount of 6 billion yuan ($889.5 million)."

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

Grey
2017-Mar-03, 04:42 PM
I'm perplexed by the following paragraph, regarding the 1% figure.


China wants to shed its title of the biggest polluter in the world and is now investing in clean, renewable energy. It has a goal of producing 110 GW of solar power and 210 GW of wind power by the year 2020. That sounds like a lot, but in a country of 1.4 billion people that relies heavily on coal, it amounts to less than 1 percent of the country’s more than 1,500 gigawatts of total power generation capacity, says Inside Climate News.But 320 GW isn't 1% of 1,500 GW. It's 21%, a substantial fraction. Even just the 110 GW from solar would be over 7%. Going to the original article from Inside Climate News (https://insideclimatenews.org/news/24052016/solar-energy-27-gigawatts-united-states-one-million-rooftop-panels-climate-change-china-germany) that they're citing for this figure, it looks like the 1% figure is coming from China's installed solar capacity as of the end of 2015, which was 43.2 GW. But that's still wrong, since 43.2 GW is almost 3% of 1500 GW.

So it seems like the author is trying to make even this huge investment in solar energy seem trivial, when in fact it appears that China is making a significant reduction in their reliance on coal, and has a serious commitment to doing more in the near future.

publiusr
2017-Mar-03, 10:44 PM
A solar sunshade that is also part of SPSS allow cooling ad power generation--if large enough

Mirror advance that can help
https://www.extremetech.com/computing/162322-mit-creates-the-first-perfect-mirror


"These perfect mirrors could also lead to breakthroughs in solar power, lasers, fiber optic networks, or just about anything that involves the reflecting or capturing of light."

selvaarchi
2017-Mar-03, 11:00 PM
I'm perplexed by the following paragraph, regarding the 1% figure.

But 320 GW isn't 1% of 1,500 GW. It's 21%, a substantial fraction. Even just the 110 GW from solar would be over 7%. Going to the original article from Inside Climate News (https://insideclimatenews.org/news/24052016/solar-energy-27-gigawatts-united-states-one-million-rooftop-panels-climate-change-china-germany) that they're citing for this figure, it looks like the 1% figure is coming from China's installed solar capacity as of the end of 2015, which was 43.2 GW. But that's still wrong, since 43.2 GW is almost 3% of 1500 GW.

So it seems like the author is trying to make even this huge investment in solar energy seem trivial, when in fact it appears that China is making a significant reduction in their reliance on coal, and has a serious commitment to doing more in the near future.
It looks like the percentages used in the article are wrong. As you say they are much higher for renewable energy especially solar.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

joema
2017-Mar-04, 06:11 PM
I'm perplexed by the...1% figure....

In 2016, China consumed 4.36 billion tons of coal equivalent primary energy, or 121 quadrillion BTU or 35,494 terawatt hours:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-energy-idUSKBN14G1V4
Converter: http://extraconversion.com/energy

In electrical consumption alone, China consumed 5,919 terawatt hours, which is 16.6% of their total primary energy consumption. But since final energy consumption is typically about 32% less than primary, a better comparison of China's electrical to final total energy consumption would be 5919/24136 terawatt hours or 24.5%: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption

China's goal of producing "320 GW" of solar and wind power by 2020 is likely "nameplate capacity", or the momentary maximum generation capacity. The typical capacity factor for solar farms is about 29%, and wind farms 48%. The article said 110 GW solar which would equate to about 110*.29 = 31.9 GW, and 210 GW wind, which would equate to 210 * .48 = 100.8 GW, or a total of 31.9+100.8 = 132.7 GW actual generating capacity, which for one year would be 1162 terawatt hours -- IF that article was correct about the "320 GW" number, and IF China's solar/wind plants could achieve those capacity factors. IF all that was correct, 1162 terawatt hours would be 1162/5919 = 19.6% of China's annual electrical consumption and 1162/24136 = 4.8% of total energy consumption.

However the article said 320 GW was merely "a goal". In 2016, China's total actual electrical generation from solar power was 66.2 terawatt hours, which is 66.2/5919 = 1.1% of their total electrical consumption.

As of 2016 the nameplate capacity of China's wind turbines is 149 GW: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_China. In 2015 China actually generated about 186 terawatt hours of wind energy, or about 180/5919 terawatt hrs, or about 3.1% of their total electrical consumption: http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/wind/the-hunt-for-chinas-missing-wind-energy, http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/09/08/data-chinas-new-power-demand-met-wind-solar-last-year/

So in the 2015/2016 timeframe, China's combined solar + wind generation totaled about 66.2 + 186 = 252.2 terawatt hours, which is 252.2/5919 = 4.2% of total electrical consumption. Their combined solar+wind generation relative to total final energy consumption was roughly 252.2/24136 terawatt hrs = 1%.

selvaarchi
2017-Jun-20, 01:16 AM
An article in this week's Space Review urging the USA to construct a SSPS.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3266/1

"A national program in space-based solar power (SBSP) could do more for solving climate change than the Paris Accord ever could. SBSP is the advanced energy source that “shovel ready,” is fully renewable, produces no greenhouse gasses, is not intermittent, has 24-hour availability, could be made-in-America and could scale to all global demand six times over. Within a generation, we could transform our society to abundant clean energy, enable a $300-trillion global economy, create five million new jobs, drive all carbon emissions to zero, and then have spare energy to suck carbon out of the air."

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

Jens
2017-Jun-20, 03:20 AM
I personally am a supporter of space-based electricity generation, but one issue that has to be dealt with is the fact that a lot of carbon will be released from the production and launching of the systems.

Noclevername
2017-Jun-20, 03:36 AM
I personally am a supporter of space-based electricity generation, but one issue that has to be dealt with is the fact that a lot of carbon will be released from the production and launching of the systems.

If we develop the tech to do most of the production in space using ISRU then the carbon cost goes away. 3D printing by robots using regolith, that sort of thing. It means that we would need to establish an orbital infrastructure, which would also be useful for other kinds of space construction. Radio telescopes, optical reflectors, sunshades, solar sails, solar furnaces and eventually spacecraft, factories and habitats.

Jens
2017-Jun-20, 04:37 AM
If we develop the tech to do most of the production in space using ISRU then the carbon cost goes away. 3D printing by robots using regolith, that sort of thing. It means that we would need to establish an orbital infrastructure, which would also be useful for other kinds of space construction. Radio telescopes, optical reflectors, sunshades, solar sails, solar furnaces and eventually spacecraft, factories and habitats.

I agree that that would be the ideal way to do it, but I think it would take a while to get there. In the paper they say it could be achieved within a generation, so I assume they are thinking of starting using earth-based resources.

Noclevername
2017-Jun-20, 07:16 AM
I agree that that would be the ideal way to do it, but I think it would take a while to get there. In the paper they say it could be achieved within a generation, so I assume they are thinking of starting using earth-based resources.

A generation can be a long time in the tech world. We haven't even seen the full results here on Earth of all the manufacturing advances that are maturing now.

selvaarchi
2017-Jun-20, 07:47 AM
A generation can be a long time in the tech world. We haven't even seen the full results here on Earth of all the manufacturing advances that are maturing now.
China might take as longer or longer as their plans call on using the moon and its resources to manufacture the solar cells. As it stands they only plan manned flights to the moon in the mid to late 2020s.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

lpetrich
2017-Jun-20, 02:20 PM
But as I'd pointed out earlier, that will only be feasible if one can get launch costs *way* down.

In post 4, I'd considered some solar panels that cost about $0.9/watt. Sending them into low Earth orbit at SpaceX's advertised costs will require $360/watt.

On the Earth, solar panels must be overbuilt to overcome intermittency, and a rough estimate is a factor of 4 (2 for day-night cycle, 2 for a fixed panel). But even that pushes costs up to $3.6/kg, about 1/100 SpaceX's cost.

selvaarchi
2017-Jun-20, 02:44 PM
I started this thread with an article that Japan had successful transmitted power over 500 meters. That was just over two years ago. Anyone has any idea how this technology has developed?

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

antoniseb
2017-Jun-20, 04:36 PM
I think that SSPS programs will have to wait until we clean up the debris in orbit. Those panels are huge targets.

cjameshuff
2017-Jun-20, 09:56 PM
But as I'd pointed out earlier, that will only be feasible if one can get launch costs *way* down.

In post 4, I'd considered some solar panels that cost about $0.9/watt. Sending them into low Earth orbit at SpaceX's advertised costs will require $360/watt.

On the Earth, solar panels must be overbuilt to overcome intermittency, and a rough estimate is a factor of 4 (2 for day-night cycle, 2 for a fixed panel). But even that pushes costs up to $3.6/kg, about 1/100 SpaceX's cost.

Note that it's not just the cost of the panels, you also have to include the savings in long distance power transmission and large scale energy storage that ground based solar power involves. But even with that, I don't think large scale SBSP will ever be built using panels launched from the ground. Even if launch costs ever get low enough for it to be cheaper than ground-based solar, they'll get low enough to permit large scale colonization and industrialization of the solar system quite a bit sooner, and then it'll be cheaper to just build the panels in orbit.

This isn't going to happen immediately, but it might happen faster than you think. Consider that the first Industrial Revolution took less than a century, and the second spanned only a few decades.

Jens
2017-Jun-20, 10:29 PM
This isn't going to happen immediately, but it might happen faster than you think. Consider that the first Industrial Revolution took less than a century, and the second spanned only a few decades.

It's a strange comparison, because both of the revolutions you're talking about involved an existing market. In the present case there isn't any market waiting.

Noclevername
2017-Jun-21, 05:24 AM
It's a strange comparison, because both of the revolutions you're talking about involved an existing market. In the present case there isn't any market waiting.

No market for electrical power?

Jens
2017-Jun-21, 09:04 AM
No market for electrical power?

cjameshuff said was, "Even if launch costs ever get low enough for it to be cheaper than ground-based solar, they'll get low enough to permit large scale colonization and industrialization of the solar system quite a bit sooner, and then it'll be cheaper to just build the panels in orbit." So I took it to mean he was saying that the new revolution would be large-scale colonization and industrialization of the solar system. I was arguing that there is no market that will push companies to move into space. So it's a bit off the topic of space solar cells, but I was responding to that post. Please take a look at post 40 and see what you think. Perhaps my interpretation was wrong.

Noclevername
2017-Jun-21, 11:05 AM
Ok. Different context.

IMO predicting the market is a bit like playing the ponies, but there are a million horses running at once.

cjameshuff
2017-Jun-21, 11:30 AM
It's a strange comparison, because both of the revolutions you're talking about involved an existing market. In the present case there isn't any market waiting.

...a substantial fraction of things there was a market for at the end didn't even exist at the start. The revolutions weren't just fulfilling the needs of an existing market, they were creating new markets, many of which couldn't be foreseen at the start. And in fact some of the markets that would be served by space industry do already exist, and yes, electricity is ultmately one of them. Another would be propellant for management of asteroid debris and satellite deployment services, and while it's not enough to justify asteroid mining on its own, export of platinum group metals back to Earth can be a profitable side business for asteroid mining.

lpetrich
2017-Jun-23, 03:53 AM
Note that it's not just the cost of the panels, you also have to include the savings in long distance power transmission and large scale energy storage that ground based solar power involves.
Why not work out the numbers? Like what I've done in this thread.

cjameshuff
2017-Jun-23, 04:10 AM
Why not work out the numbers? Like what I've done in this thread.

Because if all that multiplies the cost of ground based solar by a factor of 10, the cost of launching them is still an order of magnitude too expensive to be competitive. As I said, I don't think it'll ever be done that way, beyond perhaps some small scale demonstrators or special purpose applications. I was just pointing out that your numbers left out some significant costs on one side.

Jens
2017-Jun-23, 04:39 AM
...a substantial fraction of things there was a market for at the end didn't even exist at the start.

Could you give me an example of what you mean? I'm thinking that we might be working on a slightly different idea of market. I guess that you are referring to the industrial revolution and then the IT revolution, but I'm not sure exactly what you mean by market.

I was thinking more in terms of the fact that airplanes allowed many more people to travel than before, so in one sense you could say they created a new market, but you can also say that people were already traveling, by ship, so they replaced ships as a new way to serve that market.

cjameshuff
2017-Jun-23, 10:22 PM
Could you give me an example of what you mean? I'm thinking that we might be working on a slightly different idea of market. I guess that you are referring to the industrial revolution and then the IT revolution, but I'm not sure exactly what you mean by market.

I was thinking more in terms of the fact that airplanes allowed many more people to travel than before, so in one sense you could say they created a new market, but you can also say that people were already traveling, by ship, so they replaced ships as a new way to serve that market.

No, I am referring to the introduction of steam power for mining and manufacturing in the mid 1700s and inexpensive steel, standardization of components and machinery, and rapid growth of steam transport in the 1800s.

Steam engines themselves are an obvious example...at the beginning, nobody would even consider using such expensive and ineffective gadgets to do any kind of work. They became a vital component of any sort of manufacturing operation. They made the petroleum industry possible, and everything it supplies and powers. Gas service, for lighting or other household uses, and the gas-powered devices that required it. Cement and anything using it. Anything using cheap steel...everything from bicycles to locomotives, to towers and skyscrapers and everything involved in constructing them. Mass market fiction wouldn't exist without cheap paperback books. Telegraphy and eventually electrification were also made possible by the industrial revolution. Innumerable items of international trade that were impractical to transport before steam. All the many other things that were part of the rapid growth of productivity and economic activity that define the revolutions.

Jens
2017-Jun-26, 12:08 AM
No, I am referring to the introduction of steam power for mining and manufacturing in the mid 1700s and inexpensive steel, standardization of components and machinery, and rapid growth of steam transport in the 1800s.

Steam engines themselves are an obvious example...at the beginning, nobody would even consider using such expensive and ineffective gadgets to do any kind of work. They became a vital component of any sort of manufacturing operation. They made the petroleum industry possible, and everything it supplies and powers. Gas service, for lighting or other household uses, and the gas-powered devices that required it. Cement and anything using it. Anything using cheap steel...everything from bicycles to locomotives, to towers and skyscrapers and everything involved in constructing them. Mass market fiction wouldn't exist without cheap paperback books. Telegraphy and eventually electrification were also made possible by the industrial revolution. Innumerable items of international trade that were impractical to transport before steam. All the many other things that were part of the rapid growth of productivity and economic activity that define the revolutions.

Maybe I should have used "need" or "want" instead of "market." I can sort of go through your examples to illustrate what I meant to say. Steam engines were revolutionary, but they are a way of gaining mechanical energy from nature, which is what farm animals did before that. So people already wanted energy, and they got it in a more powerful way. For lighting, people used to use things like candles or wood fires. And yes, steel and cement helped to make bigger buildings, but shelter is something that humans have always sought. And telegraphy is a form of communication, replacing older ways of doing it. Transportation is similar. Similarly, we like to say that we colonized the world and created new markets, but actually there were already people living in those places, and early explorers conducted trade with those people and made a profit from it.

In space, there is nobody living there, so nobody to trade with in the first place. And even though we have efficient electric power, there is very little incentive to deploy it there, since there's nobody there to use it. So I see the situation as quite different.

Similarly, we haven't colonized Antarctica or the top of mountains or the ocean floor, despite it being possible.

Noclevername
2017-Jun-26, 12:51 AM
Similarly, we haven't colonized Antarctica or the top of mountains or the ocean floor, despite it being possible.

We haven't wanted to.

Jens
2017-Jun-26, 12:57 AM
We haven't wanted to.

Yes, and we probably haven't wanted to because there isn't much reason to want to. It's a great place to look for ice cores.

Noclevername
2017-Jun-26, 01:55 AM
But SSPS is not in that boat. People want electrical energy. Where we disagree is in how to get it.

If launch costs and space construction methods get cheap enough, a 24/7 flow of high power could be enticing. Perhaps even enough to expand the market.

publiusr
2017-Jul-01, 06:34 PM
SPSS will also use tech that might help Bstarshot--DESTAR, asteroid mitigation, sunshades, etc.

Where ground based systems must compete with NASA for funding--DoE money can go into NASA.

Even if, say, fusion is had--powersats can be transformed into huge solar electric tugs to--I don't know--move ISS and other heavy objects outward.

SPSS can get votes from space state leaders who may not vote for ground based systems.

selvaarchi
2017-Nov-04, 09:51 AM
China might be the first country to build a SSPS.

http://www.ecns.cn/m/voices/2017/11-03/279560.shtml

"China is expected to be the world's first country to build a practical solar power station in space, as long as it keeps investing in research and development, according to Li Ming, a research fellow from China Academy of Space Technology.

"China's entered the top ranks in research of space solar power after decades of research which has significantly narrowed the gap with other leading countries," Li Ming told Science and Technology Daily on Wednesday."

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

selvaarchi
2018-Dec-10, 12:39 AM
China might be the first country to build a SSPS.

http://www.ecns.cn/m/voices/2017/11-03/279560.shtml

"China is expected to be the world's first country to build a practical solar power station in space, as long as it keeps investing in research and development, according to Li Ming, a research fellow from China Academy of Space Technology.

"China's entered the top ranks in research of space solar power after decades of research which has significantly narrowed the gap with other leading countries," Li Ming told Science and Technology Daily on Wednesday."

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

Over a year from the last post, China is taking steps to advance their ambitions.

http://www.cctvplus.com/archive/20181208/8097742.shtml#!language=1


China launched on Thursday its first experimental base project for space solar power stations.

The base is set to be located in Bishan District of Chongqing Municipality in the country's southwest.

The Chongqing University, China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and the Xidian University jointly signed the cooperation deal with the Bishan District government at a forum on space solar power station technologies.

The aim is to research into space-based solar power (SBSP), that is, to collect solar power in outer space and then transmit it to the earth.

"I think it's quite necessary to build the basic experimental base for space solar power stations in Chongqing. We hope the base will contribute fundamentally to space stations and space solar power stations in the future," said Bao Weimin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

publiusr
2018-Dec-11, 12:08 AM
SPSS can double as a sunshade, and can help things like DESTAR and STARSOT, solar electric tugs.

Ground based solar might disturb desert habitants. The reflective backing could reflect more light to Earth--if the Sun dims--and block it as the Sun eventually gets brighter.

This has to be humanities longest commitment

selvaarchi
2019-Feb-19, 02:30 AM
Bloomberg on "China Wants to Build the First Power Station in Space"

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-18/china-wants-to-build-the-first-power-station-in-space


Scientists have already started construction of an experimental base in the western Chinese city Chongqing. Initially, they plan to develop a smaller power station in the stratosphere between 2021 and 2025, a 1 megawatt-level solar facility in space by 2030, and eventually larger generators, according to the state-backed Science and Technology Daily.

publiusr
2019-Feb-22, 09:13 PM
We should respond similarly
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3656/1

selvaarchi
2019-Mar-01, 05:56 AM
China is now testing out designs of a space-based solar power station, at a testing facility in Chongqing's Bishan district.

http://www.china.org.cn/china/2019-02/27/content_74508332.htm


Xie Gengxin, deputy head of the Chongqing Collaborative Innovation Research Institute for Civil-Military Integration in Southwestern China, said researchers from Chongqing University, the China Academy of Space Technology's Xi'an Branch in Shaanxi province, and Xidian University-also in Xi'an-have begun designs on a testing facility in Chongqing's Bishan district that will be used to test the theoretical viability of a space-based solar power station.

The test facility will occupy 13.3 hectares and demonstrate space transmission technologies while studying the effect of microwaves beamed back to Earth on living organisms. The initial investment of 100 million yuan ($15 million) will be made by the Bishan district government.

Xie added that construction of the base will take one to two years and once it begins operations, scientists and engineers will build tethered balloons equipped with solar panels and use them to verify microwave transmission technologies.

selvaarchi
2019-Mar-04, 10:31 AM
CNN carries an article on China's plan to develop a solar energy plant in space.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/03/asia/china-plans-solar-power-in-space-intl/index.html


China says it is working to develop a solar energy plant in space that could one day beam enough power back to Earth to light up an entire city.

If scientists can overcome the formidable technical challenges, the project would represent a monumental leap in combating the Earth's addiction to dirty power sources which worsen air pollution and global warming.

A space-based solar power station could also provide an alternative to the current generation of earthbound and relatively ineffective renewable energy sources.

publiusr
2019-Mar-16, 06:14 PM
That is very good news.

selvaarchi
2019-Mar-18, 12:56 PM
CNBC on solar power produced from space.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/15/china-plans-a-solar-power-play-in-space-that-nasa-abandoned-long-ago.html


John Mankins has spent his professional life working on novel ideas that could transform the way humans use technology in space, solar power among them. But Mankins’ interplanetary musings went beyond the way solar is already used to power satellites and the International Space Station. During a 25-year career at NASA and CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he devised multiple concepts to extend the use of solar in space, among them a solar-powered interplanetary transport vehicle and a space-based power system.

It’s that second idea, in particular, that had Mankins’ attention while holding top research positions at NASA during the 1990s and 2000s, including overseeing the $800 million Exploration Systems Research and Technology group. Mankins — who now runs his own private aerospace firm, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions — had the task of figuring out whether there was a way to deliver electricity to the planet by beaming it from space. It’s an idea that could fundamentally reshape the idea of the utility business — and give control over it, on a global scale, to whichever world power gets there first.

selvaarchi
2019-Oct-04, 02:58 PM
Australia and the USA in a race with China. to be the 1st with Space Solar Power Systems.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/australia-leans-into-space-race-for-solar-power-with-china-20190920-p52ta4.html


Australia faces the prospect of a space race with China – not to the moon, but to the benefits of solar power generated in orbit.

A US-Australia joint venture called Solar Space Technologies (SST) has drawn up an extensive plan to build an orbiting solar-power-generated satellite network that could be operational in eight years.