Post by William Hyde Post by Scott Lurndal
Apparently, SpaceX is starting another business to run next to StarLink,=
Post by Scott Lurndal
StarPower. Solar Power satellites to portable microwave receivers. It=20
will probably melt the snow off your roof too.
No, it won't "melt the snow off your roof".
These satellites are in low earth orbit, so half of the time they are on th=
e night side of the earth, and receive no sunlight.
That is indeed, true. My point was that the microwave power density will be
below 100w/m2, which is less than 10% of the solar energy also reaching the
earths surface (the sun's energy is 1360w/m2).
A planar surface facing the sun above the atmosphere gets that number, sure, but the average insolation at the earth's surface is more like 240W/m2. Divide by four for sphericity, and about 30% is reflected.
This NASA study indicates space solar power may be on the
horizon if someone like Musk can reduce the costs and
focus on small scale niche markets. Musk might be able
to get the ball rolling given his abilities.
21st Century Trends in Space-Based
Solar Power Generation and Storage
The results indicate that for SSP to be considered a viable
power alternative for niche power markets, such as remote
mining operations, the assumed manufacturing and transportation
costs must decrease by an order of magnitude. However, promise
is shown by using a larger system to feed multiple mines
at the same time.
Former director of the National Space Society, Al Globus reasons
in his 2011 paper Towards an Early Profitable PowerSat, Part II
“If a small, relatively inexpensive, SSP PowerSat for
niche markets can be profitable, then experience will be gained,
more PowerSats will be built, and the launch rate will increase;
all of which will drive down costs and widen the markets in
which SSP can compete.
Eventually, of course, we would like to see very large PowerSats
filling the same role of providing 24/7 power as nuclear, coal,
oil, and natural gas are today. However, there is little likelihood
of getting there in a single step. What we need is a small step
in the right direction.”i The terrestrial solar and wind
power industries provide salient examples of this strategy.
John Mankins refers to such markets as Commercial Premium
Niche Power (C-PNP) markets. These markets “are entirely
dependent on the specifics of the location and situation;
however, they can occur in a wide variety of locations around