Online Journal of Space Communication


No solar power satellites (SunSats) are yet in operation. While all space-based satellites host some type of solar collector for the energy needed to power and control them, no satellites are in orbit today for the primary purpose of gathering energy from the sun and delivering it to earth. Because an abundant and sustainable new source of energy is desperately needed on earth and the current level of technological development will now permit it, a huge new satellite sector is about to emerge relaying energy from space to the ground where it will be used as electricity.

The logical path forward in development of solar power generation plants in space is to go in partnership with the commercial satellite (ComSat) industry, a well-established ($140 billion per year) sector with 30-plus years of expertise in designing, manufacturing, launching and operating spacecraft in orbit above the earth. ComSat stakeholders can be predicted to take the lead in any new SunSat ventures because this is their home territory. Once it is clear that satellites parked in geosynchronous orbit can safely and profitably deliver energy as well as video, voice and data signals, the ComSat industry will be there with the global perspective, the venture capital, the regulatory clout, the managerial experience and the marketing skills to turn such an enterprise into a viable business.



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