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.
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.”