The Beyond Earth Institute (BEI) unveiled “Catching the Sun: A National Strategy for Space Solar Power,” a new report on Space Solar Power (SSP) today. SSP uses solar panels in space to collect power from the Sun to serve the energy needs of the people on Earth. The full report can be downloaded here.
“It is rare when a single project can help us achieve so many goals” said Tony DeTora, Beyond Earth VP of Policy Coherence. “SSP enables climate resilience, energy independence, redundant power systems, space exploration, international relations, and economic development. And by leveraging American advances in computing, manufacturing, and launch, SSP can deliver clean, renewable, carbon-neutral energy within a decade.”
Recent SSP R&D programs, along with advances in computing technology, robotics, materials, space infrastructure, and low-cost launch have opened the window for SSP to move off the drawing board and into space. The report explains why now is the right time for the US government to support the technological development of SSP. Furthermore, BEI’s report comes at a time in which there is significant U.S. and international interest in pursuing this space-based technology. Including Japan China, Russia, the UK and the European Union, among others.
The BEI report provides support and background for a proposed Space Policy Directive (SPD) presented to the White House National Space Council Chair, Vice President Kamala Harris, calling for a “A National Strategy for Space Solar Power.” The full text of the draft SPD can be found here.
The key recommendations in the report and detailed in the draft SPD include:
- Declare that the development and use of SSP technology is a key national goal and an integral component to meet our energy needs in the future
- Take a “whole of government” approach to SSP technology assessment, development, demonstration, and use
- Develop the necessary SSP technology and systems
- Deploy and use SSP and wireless power transmission systems
- Design SSP systems to meet the existing and potential future terrestrial commercial needs, as well as the NASA, DoD and commercial space mission requirements for government and commercial use
- Resolve spectrum management, space sustainability, and other regulatory issues
- Resolve operational security, cybersecurity, and other security issues
- Demonstrate SSP and wireless power transmission systems within space and from space to Earth