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October 31, 2010

Space Manufacturing conference - space solar power and energy systems

Space Solar Power – Achievable Within a Generation? John Mankins, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC

- Instead of a massive single plan, a roadmap was developed for incremental steps
– Preliminary analysis: SBSP could be possible within 10-15 years within a finite amount of money
– Could be paid for with a Jim Webb Space Telescope class investment by various governments to get a prototype system into orbit
– Key next steps to do end-to-end studies and then tests on components and systems

Hobbyspace has coverage




Towards an Early Profitable Powersat
Al Globus, San Jose State University Research Foundation

- Discusses extremely light thin-film solar cells
- 5MW system could be launched at a cost per watt close to nuclear
- Microwave (2.45 GHz/12cm) from GEO requires large antenna
- IR (Infrared) Power Beaming - 1 micron beam - ground receiver 32 meter
- Japanes Ikaros solar sail uses thin film solar cells - 45 g/m2 - 800 g/kw with 5% coverage
- One Falcon 9 launch, 4.8 tones to GTO for $56M. Leads to $11/w -- comparable to $14-20/w nuclear
- With discount for purchase of 100 launches, was quoted a 3.6x price reduction
- Thin film leads to much simpler assembly
- IR power research - improved laser efficiency
- Study converting Ikaros into SSP demo
- High end markets to pay for initial systems - e.g. military bases in remote areas.
- Football field sized antennas
– LaserMotive 1 km tether climber – achieved 10 percent efficiency, 25 percent is possible today, could get it up to 40 percent
– A number of other improvements exist to make SBSP systems feasible and profitable

Dr. Philip K. Chapman, Consultant, Energy and Astronautics
Making it Happen


- Launch to LEO costs is the main challenge
- Fully reusable vehicles, economies of scale lead to $200/kg


Panel (+ Colonel M.V. “Coyote” Smith)/ Q&A
- Can use tracking for concentrators in orbit so that can compensate for cells heavier than thin film
- Not 2 or 3 orders of magnitude off from costs of ground systems as Fetter claimed. Starting to get in ballpark.
With 100s MWs or GWs, can always add on a military laser even if the power is being delivered by microwave
- Highly skeptical about Solaren's claim of power delivery by 2016
- Good, though, that they got PG&E to establish a price point where SBSP could be sold.

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