National Space Society Hails Space Solar Power Study Findings

The National Space Society (NSS) and SPACE Canada held a press conference on November 14, 2011 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C to announce the findings of a ground-breaking space solar power study conducted by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) under the leadership of John Mankins, a 25-year NASA veteran and expert on space solar power.

See video of the press conference on the NSS website.

The IAA’s three-year, ten-nation study, “Space Solar Power — The First International Assessment of Space Solar Power: Opportunities, Issues and Potential Pathways Forward,” confirms the possible readiness of using space solar power technology within the decade.

The full report is included in the NSS Space Solar Power Library.

Comments from environmentalists, scientists, aerospace engineers, and advocates in the space and clean energy movements are also available on the NSS website here.

Gary Barnhard, the Executive Director of NSS stated “The IAA report lays out the case quite clearly. Space Solar Power is one of the potential key elements in meeting the growing and evolving electrical energy demand of the United States and the world. Space Solar Power is not a panacea, nor is it engineering fantasy. Space Solar Power is a complex systems engineering and economics problem that entails learning how to build the most valuable system(s) and when to do so in order to best meet electrical energy needs. Space Solar Power is an option we can make real and in doing so help provide for a positive future for humanity.”

“With space solar power technology, energy can be collected from space and transmitted wirelessly anywhere in the world,” explained Mark Hopkins, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Space Society. “This technology could be the answer to our energy crisis. We look forward to sharing the results of the IAA’s study, and exploring the potential that space solar power has for creating thousands of green energy jobs,” he said.

Collecting solar energy to convert to electricity is not a new concept. However, there are significant advantages to space solar power compared to ground solar power. Solar energy in space is seven times greater per unit area than on the ground. The collection of solar space energy is not disrupted by nightfall and inclement weather, thus avoiding the need for expensive energy storage.

Mr. Hopkins added, “Our dependence on crude oil is simply unsustainable, and other energy sources can be costly and harmful to the environment. As a continuous source of energy, space solar power is a potential cost-effective and environmentally superior energy alternative.”

NASA Kicks Off Application Process For New Astronauts

WASHINGTON — News media representatives are invited to attend a public announcement of NASA’s process for selecting its next class of astronauts. The event starts at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the Webb auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast the event live.

NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Assistant Administrator for Human Capital Jeri Buchholz, Flight Crew Operations Director Janet Kavandi and five members of the recently graduated 2009 astronaut class will participate in the announcement. They are Serena Aunon, Kjell Lindgren, Kathleen Rubins, Scott Tingle and Mark Vande Hei.

NASA will recruit its next astronaut class through the federal government’s USAJobs.gov website.

The class of 2009 was the first astronaut class to graduate in a new era of space flight following the final mission of the space shuttle.

A new fleet of human spacecraft is in development by commercial companies to deliver crews to the International Space Station. NASA also is developing spacecraft to send humans on missions of exploration far away from our planet.

These new astronauts will advance research aboard the space station to benefit life on Earth and develop the knowledge and skills needed for longer flights to explore the solar system.

For biographical information and other astronaut information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/station

For more information about NASA’s next generation of spacecraft, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award

The Spirit of Innovation Challenge invites high school teams to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to develop commercially viable, technology-based products in one of three categories: Aerospace Exploration, Clean Energy, and Health and Nutrition. The Challenge is hosted by the Pete Conrad Foundation. The National Space Society is a co-sponsor.

This year’s competition offers a once-in-a-decade opportunity for select teams to travel to Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 with the U.S. Department of State to participate with an international audience for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. They will also attend a U.S. workshop in May to meet their global peers in advance of the trip to Rio.

The top fifteen teams, five from each category, will travel to the annual Innovation Summit at NASA-Ames Research Center in California from March 29-31, 2012.

“The hallmark of America’s culture is innovation and entrepreneurship; it’s how we got to the Moon and how companies like Apple, Facebook and Google were formed,” said Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation. “Our Challenge transcends ‘fact memorization’ and gives students a real means of changing the world. Making that sort of monumental impact is what inspires these students to tackle the big challenges … exploring the universe, discovering cures for disease and preserving our planet.”

It’s free and easy to register. Student teams simply answer four questions about their innovative concept by Nov. 29, 2011. See www.conradawards.org for more information.

NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY TO ANNOUNCE GROUND-BREAKING GREEN ENERGY SOLUTION

Study Finds Space Solar Power is a Viable, Low Cost Energy Source

Washington, D.C.­ The National Space Society (NSS) will hold a press conference on November 14, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to announce the findings of a ground-breaking space solar power study conducted by the prestigious International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).

“With space solar power technology, energy can be collected from space and transmitted wirelessly anywhere in the world,” explained Mark Hopkins, the lead Executive Officer of the National Space Society. “This technology could be the answer to our energy crisis. We look forward to sharing the results of the IAA’s study, and exploring the potential that space solar power has for creating thousands of green energy jobs,” he said.

Collecting solar energy to convert to electricity is not a new concept. However, there are significant advantages to space solar power compared to ground solar power. Solar energy in space is seven times greater per unit area than on the ground. The collection of solar space energy is not disrupted by nightfall and inclement weather, thus avoiding the need for expensive energy storage.

The IAA’s three-year, ten-nation study, Space Solar Power — The First International Assessment of Space Solar Power: Opportunities, Issues and Potential Pathways Forward, confirms the possible readiness of using space solar power technology within the decade. John Mankins, a 25-year NASA veteran and expert on space solar power, led the study. Mr. Hopkins added, “Our dependence on crude oil is simply unsustainable, and other energy sources can be costly and harmful to the environment. As a continuous source of energy, space solar power is a potential cost-effective and environmentally superior energy alternative.”

This event is free and open to the public. Members of the press are encouraged to attend.

A Space Solar Power Industry for $2 Billion or Your Money Back

The latest addition to the NSS Space Solar Power Library is a paper by Al Globus, a member of the National Space Society Board of Directors, proposing a system of prizes to kick-start a vigorous space solar power industry. In recent years prizes such as the Ansari X Prize, the DARPA Grand Challenge, and the Google Lunar X Prize have all been successfully used to develop important technologies and even entire industries.

ABSTRACT: A system of prizes to develop space solar power (SSP) is proposed. If successful, a one or two billion dollar investment could kick-start a vigorous SSP industry, which in turn could provide humanity with essentially unlimited quantities of clean electrical energy. If unsuccessful, the money is returned to its source. The prize is structured to subsidize the construction of nine SSP satellites by at least three different entrants using different designs. The prize is aimed at developing small SSP systems delivering a few tens of megawatts to utilities on the ground. Under some reasonable assumptions, the prize money is sufficient to make one or perhaps two of the satellites profitable and provide a significant subsidy to the other seven. Once small SSP systems have been successfully developed, producing large systems that can make a real difference to global energy production will be much easier. While $2 billion is a great deal of money, should this effort be successful, it is reasonable to hope that Earth’s energy and greenhouse gas problems could be solved.

Read full paper.

NSS Congratulates Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford (USAF, Retired)

NSS congratulates Astronaut/Lt. Gen. Thomas Patten Stafford (USAF, Retired), who will be awarded the National Aeronautic Association’s prestigious 2011 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy on December 16, 2011. This trophy honors the memory of Orville and Wilbur Wright, and is awarded annually to a living American for “significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” Stafford flew four missions (two Gemini missions, Apollo 10, and Apollo-Soyuz) and headed the 1991 Presidential “Stafford” Commission which produced the report “America at the Threshold” exploring alternative architectures for the Space Exploration Initiative. More information on this NAA award.

Satellite Industry Association DoD Commercial SATCOM Users' Workshop

The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) DoD Commercial SATCOM Users’ Workshop will take place December 13-15, 2011 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA (more information and registration). This is SIA’s flagship workshop, which brings together government leaders from DoD Combatant Commands, Services and Agencies as well as commercial satellite industry operators, service providers, integrators, ground equipment suppliers, and manufacturers. The theme of this year’s workshop is the evolution of SATCOM in a fiscally-constrained environment. Ms. Cindy Moran, Director of Network Services at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon on Thursday, December 15th.