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§ 5.12.10: Other SPS Resources and Weblinks

The SUNSAT Energy Council (http://www.tier.net/sunsat/) is a non-governmental organization affiliated with the United Nations whose purpose is to disseminate information about space solar power systems. Headed by Gregg Maryniak, a former lawyer who is now one of the most articulate, charismatic and energetic people in the space resources longtime community. The secretary, Dr. Gay Canough, is of a similar background but on the technical end.

SPS2000, the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) Solar Power Satellite Working Group, has a project to launch a small proof-of-concept SPS in low Earth orbit. However, there may be funding problems with this.

The Space Solar Power Workshop (SSPW) at http://classweb.gatech.edu/conf/sspw:

The SSPW is a professional exercise inviting participation in "a continuing conceptual design of how to build, finance, deliver, market, support, operate, and maintain 300,000 Mwatts for the world electric baseload power market by 2020, potentially including a small lunar manufacturing colony..." (or even mining an asteroid). Unlike the non-competitive Space Shuttle or the International Space Station, the SSPW's work is to build an economical and competitive baseload Space Solar Power System (SSPS) design. The website is hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology's Aerospace Engineering Department.

Most of the work associated with the SSPW is in ongoing studies by its participants, including many who are top professionals and experts in their fields, as well as retirees and college students. There is plenty of room for serious newcomers, however. The SSPW is currently a volunteer effort, although sponsors, grants and other tax-deductible donations are solicited. Its parent organization, the Space Solar Power Institute (SSPI) is a tax-exempt non-profit 501(c)3 corporation (incorporated in the State of Delaware, USA). The SSPI has no paid administrative staff. Donations to the Institute are tax-deductible and used solely for the further development and understanding of SSPS.

The SSPW operates in conjunction with various professional conferences; e.g., the American Society of Civil Engineers Space 2000 & Robotics 2000 scheduled for Albuquerque, NM in March, 2000, and the AIAA's Structures, Structural Mechanics and Structural Dynamics conference scheduled for Atlanta, GA in April, 2000.

The starting point design on the website is an attempt at a standard reference design. Case 1, the first design model, is for an SSPS at geostationary orbit using Earth-supplied construction materials. "Once this case is reasonably understood, additional cases will be added, such as lunar or asteroidal supplied materials." Some people, including myself, will argue that it makes more sense to design the satellite from the bottom up using the materials at hand, e.g., asteroidal materials. They do have a scenario for making the satellites from lunar materials. Notably, an update from NASA/DOE on their SSP conceptual design is due in December 1998, after the AIAA reviews it.

Dr. Seth D. Potter has a page on Low Mass Solar Power Satellites Built From Terrestrial or Lunar Materials, at (http://pages.nyu.edu/~potter/thin-film-sps.html)

An Evolutionary Path to SPSs by Dr. Geoffrey Landis of the NASA Lewis Research Center's Photovoltaic Branch is another interesting piece of professional work.

Space Future has an introductory section and maintains links on Space Power at http://www.spacefuture.com/power/power.shtml

US Dept. of Energy's (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA) at (http://www.eia.doe.gov/) produces the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) for US production and consumption which can be found at http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo97/index.html, and for the international arena at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/contents.html

Information on the "SPS '97" conference, Space and Electric Power for Humanity, the Fourth International Symposium on SPACE MEANS FOR POWER UTILITIES, and the Third WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION Conference, which was conducted on 24 - 28 August, 1997 in Montreal, Canada, organized by the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and the Soci‚t‚ des Electriciens et des Electroniciens (SEE), is at http://www.casi.ca/spspag.htm

The Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) Home Page covers the single most important technology for Solar Power Satellites. This page also covers the work of Bill Brown, one of the top pioneers of WPT over several decades.

The Texas Space Grant Consortium (http://www.csr.utexas.edu/tsgc) has a small program in which approximately fifty undergraduate students from nine universities participate. Recently, they've started an SPS design project at http://www.csr.utexas.edu/tsgc/power/resources/description.html

The German space program Michael Klimke's SPS page (German space program)

The International Space University hosts a discussion list for solar power satellites and wireless power transmission. To subscribe, send a message to space-power-request@isu.isunet.edu . You can contribute to the discussion by sending e-mail to space-power@isu.isunet.edu . If you need further assistance in dealing with the digest or if something doesn't work, send an e-mail message to digests@isu.isunet.edu . The mailing list is not very active.

Darel Preble has started a newsletter on SPS. Volume 1 (March 1997) is on the net at http://www.netdepot.com/~preble/

There is a mailing list called IDEAS -- International Designs and Arguments on Space Power -- organized by Professor Noboyuki Kaya of Kobe University, who is the Chairman of the IAF Power Committee, and Gregg E. Maryniak of the SUNSAT Energy Council. To join, send e-mail to kaya@kobe-u.ac.jp

NASA Watch keeps an eye on SPS politics and reports events as they happen. Also has some historical info on SPS's. Last time I checked, the SPS page is at http://www.reston.com/NASA/solar.sats.html but the site has been changing recently so if you can't find it there, try the main page at http://www.reston.com/NASA/watch.html.

Books:

  • Solar Power Satellites: A Space Energy System for Earth, edited by Peter Glaser and published in the summer of 1997 by Wiley-Praxis, listed on Amazon.com

  • Sun Power, by Ralph Nansen, published by Ocean Press, PO Box 17386, Seattle WA 98107, Tel. (206) 706-9811, with information on the web. Ralph Nansen has been involved in space engineering for over 35 years, participating in the Saturn/Apollo program and Space Shuttle development, and leading the Boeing team that developed the concept of solar power satellites under the Dept. of Energy and NASA in the 1970s. This book eloquently discusses the issues of the world's energy and environmental futures, energy economics and alternative energy sources, features of SPS, private sector cost advantages over government contracted development (with graphic examples), and the history and politics of SPS. The glaring weakness of the book, though, is that only one paragraph addresses using lunar resources, and one addresses asteroidal resources, in the last pages of that 252 page book. Nansen sticks to the old Boeing vision of launching everything up from Earth, which is the main technical and economic challenge. Otherwise, it has excellently articulated materials that should be read by anyone seriously interested in SPS.






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