Online Journal of Space Communication


Space Power Satellite (SPS) is a huge spacecraft designed to collect solar energy in space for supplying electric power to the electric grid on the ground. The SPS concept was first proposed by Dr. Peter Glaser in 1968.

Various studies on SPS in various countries have been produced over the past forty years. Today, there are multiple variations on this early concept, both in innovation and in optimization. Because of the huge size, immense mass and high power of these SPS installations, there are many technological difficulties.

Here, a new Multi-Rotary Joints SPS (MR-SPS) concept is proposed. The large solar array is taken apart to illustrate the many small solar sub-arrays, and to show that each solar sub-array has two middle-power rotary joints. The extreme technical difficulty of high-power rotary joints is simplified by many middle-power rotary joints. The single-point failure problem existing in traditional SPS concept is also solved.

At the same time, the modular solar arrays can be more easily assembled in GEO where the power can best be generated and continuously transmitted. Based on our new concept, a whole system full-life NPV analysis method has been developed to evaluate the economics. Our primary results show that the investment is near 30 billion US dollars, with development and transportation costs representing the main portions. When the price of power and the development and construction costs are fixed, the cost of capital becomes an important parameter in influencing the NPV.

Click here to see the China Academy of Space Technology's (CAST) video: Multi-Rotary Joints SPS - 2015 SunSat Design Competition



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.