A Skeptical Engineer Has His Say…
Posted by Coyote on June 24, 2007
Click here to view briefing: A Skeptical Analysis
A very good friend of mine who is a respected engineer constantly reminds me of how formidable a task space-based solar power really is. He quite literally thinks it is a ludicrous idea. He provided me with his first order assessment of the proposition to provide 100% of current US base load energy from space given today’s industry and infrastructure. It is filled with statements like:
“At 100% efficiency and effective array thickness of 0.001 m (1 mm) mass on-orbit would be down by factor of ten – so it would only take ~ 1000 years to deploy at one EELV Heavy launch a day”
That doesn’t do it for me. Personally, I’d be delighted if space-based solar power could produce say, 10% of the US energy requirement by 2050, as part of a comprehensive clean energy program that includes, wind, ground-based solar power, nuclear, hydrogen, bio fuels, and other things we haven’t imagined yet. Moreover, I’d like to think that we will no longer be stuck with hugely expensive expendable rockets like EELV, and proper conservation initiatives will actually decrease our overall energy requirements by then.
Take a look at the briefing linked above. Give some thought, and share your comments.