Online Journal of Space Communication


The basic problem being addressed here is the high initial cost of solar power satellite (SPS) systems. The cost is higher for GEO orbits because of the large solar array and transmitter sizes required from that distance, and the expense of lifting such a mass into the higher orbits. Aperture size is proportional to the distance the power is beamed; thus transmitter apertures can be smaller when nearer to Earth.

Decreasing the distance energy must be beamed through space means that the powersat need not be so large, or as expensive. Implementation of sunsynchronous sunsats will likely be a more complex operation, but this limitation is lessened by the cost savings resulting from the smaller mass to be delivered to lower, more accessible orbits.

The development of an economically viable space energy system on a global basis is made more attainable using satellites equipped with equatorial orbiting reflectors for the sharing of energy. The development of wireless power transmission (WPT) is critical to the emergence of sustainable private and government space ventures, including space lift, space exploration and space development. The pursuit of space-based solar power in the lower orbits will greatly expand the need for space lift capability which will help to accelerate these developments.

Advisors: Royce Jones, Prof. Don Flournoy, John Bowditch

Space Solar Power with SunSynchronous Orbits from Space Communication Journal on Vimeo.



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