Online Journal of Space Communication


A multinational mission architecture is proposed as a way to jump-start development of a global space solar power (SSP) industry. Solar power generated on the International Space Station (whose orbit is roughly 400 km above the Earth) will be converted to millimeter waves and beamed to ground receivers located in five or more nations, providing measurements of dynamic beam pointing and atmospheric propagation in various parts of the globe. A second spacecraft in a polar orbit at nearly 2000 km, launched by a consortium of nations, will be used as a relay for beamed power delivery from the ground and from the ISS to other ground stations.

The power transfer will employ one or more of several frequency windows for atmospheric transmission. The millimeter wave regime is chosen as a near-term option reachable by current research, on the road to a possible conversion to the more compact laser optics regime. This mission architecture seeks logical buy-in from the various entities that are essential partners in Space Solar Power, as follows: national space agencies, the terrestrial energy industry, the electronics/ communication industry, the space transportation industry, and military agencies.

The Five-Nation Demonstration paper on which this proposal is based summarizes the major technical, business and policy issues to be addressed in such a mission, and suggests the place of this experiment in a roadmap toward development of a Space-based economy. The paper will be stored on the Journal server for on-demand access.



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