Based in the 1960s, the idea of sending a solar powered satellite into outer space to provide electricity to ground stations has been brought up over the years several times by the Department of Energy (DOE) and The Department of Defense (DOD) of the United States. It is about a satellite floating at 22,000 feet above the Earth, equipped with powerful and large solar panels, that transmit the captured energy from the Sun (remember, in you don’t have any obstructive elements in space, such as air, water, or other gases) through microwaves down to Earth.
In 2007, the Pentagon encouraged the initiative of building such satellite systems, but NASA specialists say that it won’t be available until 10 years from now, if we start developing it… now!
The green implications of this energy super-generator would be enormous: only one of these satellites could provide enough electricity to power an entire town such as New York. The project costs a lot. In the 1970s, NASA estimated infrastructure for a complete system could top $1 trillion. The latest report suggests sharing the costs of a prototype with other space-faring nations. Of course, nowadays the cost would be much smaller.
Everybody is excited by the idea of having free energy from space… But… something sounds weird here… What does Green Energy have to do with Pentagon and DOE? We all know military applications never take into account the material and environmental costs of a war and the investments in the art of destruction seem endless. Part of them are paid through the work of regular citizens, like you and I.
My father worked in the military. He once told be they had a radar that was used to scan the planes’ lift-offs and landings from several hundreds of miles away. The radar had a “magnetron” (radar emissive subdevice – it’s really called that way) that, if open to full throttle could emmit several MegaWatts of energy. For those who don’t know, the electromagnetic field from the microwave range can be directed to a certain target, otherwise it wouldn’t be used to detect particular objects. Microwave devices can focus their energy to a limited area, working like a lens in the Sun.
My father told me that if a bird happened to pass through the electromagnetic field of that radar, it would instantly die and fall to the ground.
If you’re not drunk or if you haven’t taken any drugs lately, you may have already reached a conclusion: what if these satellites, having huge power (in the order of GigaWatts – and even more, I don’t know any numbers), would be pointed at some point on earth, instead of their ground stations? What if their emitting frequency would be modified to that of a microwave oven (2450 MHz)?Wouldn’t that be the beginning of another “cold” (or better said “hot”) war? The energy would be sufficient, the speed would be instant, and, as history proved, civil energy producing principles (such as nuclear) will be used by the military, first of all.
(PhysOrg.com) -- The Japanese are preparing to develop a two trillion yen (approximately $21 billion USD) space solar project that will beam electricity from space in the form of microwaves or lasers to around 300,000 homes in Japan within three decades. Ads by Google Lighting system - Meet 950+ Suppliers In Hong Kong Int'L Lighting Fair 2013. 6-9 Apr - www.hktdc.com The project, to be undertaken by a research group from 16 companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, aims to spend the next four years developing the technology needed to beam the electricity produced to earth. They expect that as fossil fuels run out, an orbiting solar power plant in space may be needed to provide a significant source of electricity in the future, according to the Kensuke Kanekiyo, from the Japanese Government's Institute of Energy Economics. The planned solar station will produce 1 Gigawatt of electricity from its four km2 (approximately 2.5 square miles) array of solar panels, which is enough to power just under 300,000 Tokyo homes, at present usage levels. Since the array will be in orbit some 36,000 km (22,500 miles) above the earth's surface, it will be unaffected by weather conditions and will be able to generate power constantly. The U.S. agency NASA has been investigating the possibilities of a space-based solar system for several decades and has spent around $80 million on the research. They and other government agencies estimate the cost of electricity supplied from an orbiting solar array could be around $1 billion per megawatt, which is too expensive to be commercially viable. $21 Billion Orbiting Solar Array Enlarge The Japanese realize the cost of building the solar station in orbit would be prohibitive at the moment, and the array could not be commercially viable at today's prices. The Japanese consortium therefore has to find ways of drastically reducing the costs. With the launch of a single rocket costing around 10 billion yen, the cost of the space solar station could be as high as two trillion yen, according to Koji Umehara, the Director of the Japanese Space Development and Utilization ministry, making the electricity supplied exorbitantly expensive. The first step in bringing the plans to fruition will be the launch in around 2015 of a satellite fitted with solar panels that will beam electricity to earth. JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to have the orbiting space solar system operational some time in the 2030s.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news172224356.html#jCp
Read more at: http://phys.org/news172224356.html#jCp