Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, aerospace engineer and former President of India, presented the keynote address at the NSS International Space Development Conference on May 24 in San Diego on the subject Space Solar Power: Key to a Liveable Planet Earth. The complete address is now available on the NSS website.
Kalam stated: “Considering the magnitude of the looming energy and environmental problems, a strong view has emerged that the situation faced by India warrants consideration of all energy options, including the concept of SSP. ISRO [Indian Space Research Organization] has recently carried out some preliminary concept studies on SSP and examined three SSP configurations. ISRO has also welcomed an International Preliminary Feasibility Study and are aware that this would call for strong and long-term cooperation between institutions in every nation blended into an International R&D programme for SSP.”
Kalam listed the following advantages of SSP:
1. Immensely Scalable. SSP can scale to provide the energy needs of the entire human civilization at well enhanced standards of living. Most other near-term renewable options are strictly limited in scalability.
2. A single kilometre-wide band of geosynchronous Earth orbit experiences enough solar flux in one year to nearly equal the amount of energy contained within all known recoverable conventional oil reserves on Earth today.
3. It is safe and globally available, and can be safely shared with all countries on this planet without proliferation concerns.
4. It is steady & assured, for SSP is a continuous, rather than intermittent, power source. It is not subject to the weather, the seasons, or the day-night cycle.
5. It needs no fundamental breakthroughs in either physics or engineering.
Kalam called for international cooperation in developing space solar power, stating “we shall embark on a path-breaking international mission for space solar power within the ambit of a global vision for space industrialization leading on to a new era of peace, prosperity and abundance for all mankind.”