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March 21, 2012

Al Globus updated Plans for a Profitable Space Based Solar Power System

"Towards an Early Profitable PowerSat, Part II" Al Globus, Ion Bararu, and Mihai Radu Popescu (16 pages)

We investigate technologies and designs that, following a reasonable R and D effort, may be able to deliver small, operational, single launch PowerSats suitable for niche markets. Part I of this series described an SSP design based on low-mass, thin-film solar cells such as those already proven in space combined with infra-red power beaming. Since infra-red wavelengths are approximately 30,000x shorter than microwave and the product of the diameters of the transmitting and receiving systems is a linear function of wavelength, the on-orbit power beam radius can be a few meters, making small PowerSats practical. This paper, Part II, contains a design sketch of a power beaming system using fiber lasers integrated into the power-collection system. Based on this design sketch, we quantify some of the improvements in the state-of-the-art necessary to develop a 120 meter radius PowerSat, launched by a single Falcon 9, that delivers up to 6.2 MW to the grid.

A Spacex Heavy could launch five (in one launch) of the space based power systems proposed for the Falcon 9.






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