Online Journal of Space Communication

Solar Power Satellites (Winter 2010)

General Editor Introduction

In this issue, the Journal advances the proposition that the next generation of satellite services will be to gather the sun's energy in space and to deliver it to earth as a clean and sustainable source of electrical power. In the 21st century, the need for alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity has become so great that space is now a real option.

To test this idea, we have asked prominent scientists, engineers, business people and others to answer the following question: what has changed in the last 30 years that now makes it possible (perhaps a mandate) to seriously entertain the idea of a major new satellite business: the gathering/concentrating of sunlight in space and beaming it to earth to be used as an alternative source of electrical energy?

Our Guest Editor for Issue No.16: Solar Power Satellites is Ralph Nansen. A member of the National Space Society, Nansen has some 40 years experience in space engineering, including service as a Design Engineer for Boeing during the Apollo Program and as Manager of the Boeing Solar Power Satellite Program. He founded the company Solar Space Industries in 1993. In 1995 he authored the book SUN POWER: The Global Solution for the Coming Energy Crisis, and in 2009 he published ENERGY CRISIS: Solution from Space (2009). See http://www.apogeebooks.com/.

Since Nansen is both an engineer and a published author, and has spent much of his professional career working to bring the concept of Solar Power Satellites to operational reality, we at the Journal perceive him to be the perfect choice as Guest Editor for our Issue No.16. He is one of a large number of SPS proponents who believe that 2010 is The Year of Energy From Space. Journal Issue No.16 will bring onto this international public platform some of the most creative ideas and critical analysis of scholars and professionals around the world who are working on the next generation satellites - those space stations capable of delivering sun's energy to earth.

Although Issue No.16 will be released for public viewing in December 2009, it is possible and desirable for our Online Journal to continue accepting papers into 2010. That is what we hope to do. If reading this Journal prompts you to think seriously about contributing a perspective to this discussion from your own experience and expertise, please contact:

Ralph Nansen, Guest Editor
3726 Mud Bay Road
Lopez Island, WA 98261 USA
Tel: +1 360 468-2900
Email: nansens@centurytel.net

Or send your communication directly to the Editor:

Don M. Flournoy, Professor of Telecommunications
General Editor, Online Journal of Space Communication
School of Media Arts and Studies
Scripps College of Communication
Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701
Tel: +1 740 593 4866
Fax: +1 740 593 9184
Email: don.flournoy@ohio.edu

Front Matter



Solar Power Satellites Research in China
Ji Gao, Xinbin Hou, and Li Wang


Deploying Sunsats
Philip K. Chapman


Solar Power Satellite Development: Advances in Modularity and Mechanical Systems
W. Keith Belvin, John T. Dorsey, and Judith J. Watson


The Spaceplane Equation
Raghavan Gopalaswami


China Walks the US-India Space Solar Power Dream
Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan and Rahul Prakash





Issue 16: Contributors
Don Flournoy and Ralph Nansen