India, America join hands to harness solar power
Srinivas Laxman, TNN, Nov 8, 2010, 02.22am IST
MUMBAI: India and USA teamed up on a space-based energy initiative aimed at turning both countries into net energy exporters, 48 hours before US President Barack Obama landed in India.
The project is led by former president of India A P J Abdul Kalam, who was once a staunch critic of the US, and National Space Society (NSS), a non-profit US-based space organization with chapters all over the world including India. The initiative was announced on Thursday at Washington's National Press Club where Kalam and Isro Satellite Centre director T K Alex were present. Known as the Kalam-National Space Society initiative, the mission envisages harvesting solar power in space for use on earth.
Alex is the project's principal investigator from India. Kalam told the US media that a team from Isro has been formed to carry out a feasibility study for this project. He said Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan asked him to take the idea forward after a discussing the project. Referring to the Manmohan Singh-Obama summit in New Delhi on Sunday, Kalam said both were concerned leaders ''interested in energy-related issues and energy independence''. Kalam said it was a 15-year-project. The main challenge is to evolve methods to transmit solar power from space to earth and its distribution. To make it economical, the cost of launching a spacecraft, currently $20,000 a kg, has to be slashed to $2,000 a kg.
Read more: India, America join hands to harness solar power - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/6886049.cms?prtpage=1#ixzz14emtVo63
NSS-Kalam Energy Initiative To Harvest Solar Power From Space
America and India, two nations trying to wean themselves off an unhealthy reliance on fossil fuels, have agreed to work towards a joint space program that would establish solar energy harvesting satellites in orbit around the Earth.
As US President Barack Obama visits India, his former counterpart Dr A.P.J. Kalam, eleventh president of India last week addressed the National Press Club along with the National Space Society (NSS) on the subject of space solar power.
Dr Kalam is in partnership with Dr. T.K. Alex, Director of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite Centre and leader of the Chandrayan-1 project that discovered water on the moon. The project is called the Kalam-NSS Initiative.
Although the logistics involved in the production and transfer of space solar power are literally out of this world, Dr Kalam says humanity will have no choice because Earth-bound renewable energy sources will not be able to cope with demand.
"By 2050, even if we use every available energy resource we have: clean and dirty, conventional and alternative, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, coal, oil, and gas, the world will fall short of the energy we need."
Kalam believes that utilising off-world solar power has the potential to reverse America’s half a trillion dollar a year balance of payments deficit and to generate a new generation of American jobs. It is, he argues, simply expanding on existing technology that has been in use for decades by both India and America to power satellites sent into space.
Telstar, America’s first commercial satellite, was essentially a "beachball encrusted with square medallions. Those medallions were photovoltaic panels.
Indian, U.S. Experts Team On Space Solar Power
By Frank Morring, Jr.
Former Indian President A.P.J. Kalam has lent his name to a new cooperative effort by experts in the U.S. and India to advance space solar power (SSP) as a way to improve life on Earth.
Kalam, 79, is a space pioneer who served as the 11th president of India. He and his former associates at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have teamed with the Washington-based National Space Society (NSS) for an initiative aimed at accomplishing the work necessary to field a system of large satellites that would collect solar energy and beam it safely to Earth’s surface.
“A large mission like space solar power will need the combined efforts of many nations,” Kalam said Nov. 4 in a conference call from India. “I am certain that harvesting solar power in space can upgrade the living standard of the human race.”
Kalam was joined on the line by John Mankins, a former exploration chief technologist at NASA who is president of the Space Power Association, and T.K. Alex, director of the ISRO’s Satellite Center in Bengaluru. Alex, who led development of the Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, will join Mankins as co-principal investigators on the Kalam-National Space Society Energy Initiative.
The group plans a bilateral meeting in Huntsville, Ala., next May to establish a course of action and organizational structure.
While NSS CEO Mark Hopkins says that meeting will be organized around Indian and U.S. participants, plans call for broadening the effort to include other nations — notably Japan, which has done advanced work in space solar power.
Kalam says the topic may be included during President Barack Obama’s upcoming summit with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but a more likely route to the top levels of spacefaring nations will come in presentations at future G-8 and G-20 economic summits.
Ideally, different nations will contribute SSP components based on their particular skills, he says.
For India and the U.S., cooperation in technology development also can work, he adds.
Alex says India already has a significant terrestrial solar power industry based in the country’s north. The nation also is working in multi-junction solar arrays which, while not as advanced as similar technology in the U.S., could lead to the solar-power conversion efficiency needed to make SSP practical. Similarly, Kalam cited India’s work in reusable launch vehicle technology as a way to hold down the cost of getting SSP payloads to orbit, and said that work could go faster if the U.S. and India collaborate.
Mankins cited a “10-10-10” rule for a first prototype in geostationary orbit that could be a goal for the new bilateral initiative.
Such a system would deliver 10 megawatts of power, cost less than $10 billion to build and launch, and be ready in less than 10 years. The system would consist of a large satellite to collect the Sun’s energy and convert it into microwaves, which would be beamed to an antenna on Earth that would collect the microwaves for conversion to electricity and transmission through the existing power grid.
The antenna would be as open as chicken wire, Hopkins says, which would permit farmers to grow crops under it. And the beam would be so diffuse that “you can walk through the beam, even if you’re naked, and it’s not going to hurt you.”
A.P.J. Kalam photo: India government
US and India in space (and space solar power?)
November 7, 2010 at 9:52 am · Filed under Other
President Obama is currently in India, where he is expected to formally announce on Monday the removal of the Indian space agency ISRO from a US list that restricts exports of some sensitive technologies. The Entity List, as it is formally known, specifies additional requirements for items beyond what’s already required under export control regulations. Currently ISRO and four organizations within it are on the list, requiring a “case-by-case review” for any item on the Commerce Control List for export to those organizations. That restriction dates back to sanctions placed on India and Pakistan for their nuclear tests in the late 1990s.
That move isn’t unexpected: it had been anticipated for weeks in both the US and India. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday, former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, writing with another former State Department official, R. Nicholas Burns, called on both the White House and Congress to “liberalize U.S. export controls that have an impact on India, including by removing the Indian Space Research Organization (the Indian equivalent to NASA) from the U.S. ‘Entity List.’” However, that appears to be the limit of space-related progress in the president’s visit: Indian media reported last week that it’s unlikely a commercial satellite launch agreement will be completed in time. Such an agreement would make it easier for US-built commercial satellites, or satellites with US-built components, to be launched on Indian vehicles.
A few people, though, are seeking much grander visions of US-Indian cooperation in space. At a press conference in Washington on Thursday, American and Indian officials announced the creation of Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative to promote the development of space-based solar power (SBSP) in the two nations. The near-term goal of the initiative is to arrange a bilateral meeting of Indian and American experts on the topic in May in Huntsville, Alabama, in conjunction with the International Space Development Conference (ISDC), the annual conference of the National Space Society (NSS).
The effort might be dismissed as a minor effort of a few people to promote what’s widely considered a fringe topic, but it does have the backing of a prominent individual on the Indian side: former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who participated in Thursday’s press conference by phone from India. Kalam spoke of the need to increase energy production to meet the needs of a modernizing India, without going into details about how the two countries might cooperation in SBSP beyond holding a joint meeting. Asked if the topic might come up in the meeting between President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Singh in New Delhi, Kalam suggested that it should instead be presented at a future meeting of G8 or G20 nations.
Also unclear is what India would bring to the table in terms of its role in developing a SBSP system. Asked what unique capabilities India could offer, Kalam discussed the development of what he called a “hyperplane”, a reusable spaceplane concept, something he said India could cooperate with the US and other nations on. (Given the difficulties any nation has had in developing RLVs, and the challenges India has faced in even building a cryogenic upper stage for its GSLV expendable rocket, jumping ahead to a “hyperplane” may seem a bit of a stretch.) T.K. Alex, director of the ISRO Satellite Centre and the Indian lead of the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative, said later at the press conference that India could also contribute in the development of high-efficiency and lightweight solar cells. NSS CEO Mark Hopkins suggested a different role for India, saying that “a combination of American technology and the ability of India to do a lot of low-cost manufacturing” could be essential to any future success of SBSP.
'Kalam-NSS' initiative to tap solar power in space
November 02, 2010 08:02 IST
Tags: National Space Society, Indian Space Research Organisation, Mark Hopkins, Kalam, NASA
Users Write a
Former Indian President A P J Abdul Kalam [ Images ] and US' prestigious National Space Society are all set to announce their ambitious joint initiative to tap solar power in space, when President Barack Obama [ Images ] visits the country this weekend.
"The 'Kalam-NSS' Energy Initiative is a transformative idea that can up shift the US and Indian economies by meeting the urgent global need for a scalable, carbon-neutral, green, 24-hr renewable power source," CEO of National Space Society (NSS) Mark Hopkins said.
It is a game-changing technology that addresses energy security, sustainable development, climate change, and multinational cooperation, Hopkins said.
Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] are expected to discuss joint research and development on energy issues during the former's maiden visit to the country.
"I am convinced that harvesting solar power in space can bring India [ Images ] and United States of America together in whole new ways.
"And I am certain that harvesting solar power in space can upgrade the living standard of the human race," Kalam said.
Dr T K Alex, Director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and John Mankins, a 25-year NASA [ Images ] veteran, are believed to provide the details via electronic feed.
The popular former Indian president would also address a press conference at NSS via phone on November 4.
The next step in the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative will be a NSS joint Indo-American conference on space solar power at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on May 18-22 next year.
Space solar power has the potential to reverse America's half-a-trillion dollar balance of payments a year deficit and to generate a new generation of American jobs, a media release said, adding that it is a source whose basic technology is already here.
US has been harvesting solar power in space and transmitting it to earth since 1962, when 'Telstar', the first commercial satellite, went up in orbit.
Similarly India has been looking to tap solar energy in space since 1975, when its first satellite, 'Aryabhatta A', was introduced,
World electricity demand by the year 2035 is projected to increase by 87 per cent.
"By 2050, even if we use every available energy resource we have: clean and dirty, conventional and alternative, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, coal, oil, and gas, the world will fall short of the energy we need," Kalam said.
There is an answer… an energy source that produces no carbon emissions, an energy source that can reach to most distant villages of the world, and an energy source that can turn both countries into net energy and technology exporters, the former president added.
India and the U.S. to "Harvest Solar Power in Space"
India and the U.S. have agreed to team up on a space-based energy initiative, reports The Times of India.
This comes as U.S. President Barack Obama is on an official trip to India, aimed at opening up the Indian market for U.S. business.
The Times of India says the project looks to turn both countries into net energy exporters. Named the Kalam-National Space Society initiative, it proposes to harvest solar power in space, for use on earth. Read More
Source: Third Age
OCT 26 2010
PARTNERS IN SPACE?
Posted by: Jonathan Marshall
When President Obama visits India in a couple of weeks to help cement the two countries’ strategic and economic relationship, he should make room on the agenda for a visionary plan to create a joint space-based solar energy program.
That’s the provocative recommendation of a recent report drafted by a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, and published by the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, a think tank based in New Delhi and funded by India’s defense ministry.
As readers of NEXT100 know, space-based solar energy is an unproven but nearly unlimited source of clean, renewable energy. Photovoltaic panels in orbit around the Earth would capture intense solar energy around the clock—with no down time for clouds or night—and then beam it down to an earth receiving station in the form of microwaves. The energy would then be converted into electrical current suitable for the power grid.
India has a strong interest in space solar power, thanks to its active space program and limited available land for terrestrial solar. The country’s former president, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, told a group of space experts in Boston three years ago that India is developing an inexpensive reusable launch vehicle that could give "mankind the benefit of space solar-power stations in geostationary and other orbits.”
The new think-tank report maintains that a joint program aimed at establishing a commercially viable space solar industry by 2025 could be “the next major step in the Indo-US strategic partnership.” It would help “solve the linked problems of energy security, development and climate change” while giving India a constructive and peaceful direction for its rising space program.
If successful, the partnership would “position the US and Indian technical and industrial bases to enjoy a competitive edge in what is expected to be a significant and profitable market,” the report adds.
“It will also become one of the grandest and most ambitious humanitarian and environmentalist causes that will be sure to excite a generation as did the Apollo program that put a man on the moon.”
The two countries are longstanding partners when it comes to space science. The United States helped India launch its first generation of satellites in the 1970s, and India returned the favor by carrying NASA’s Moon Minerology Mapper aboard a moon-orbiting satellite last year.
A key stumbling block—aside from the Obama administration’s apparent disinterest in space solar—is India’s continuing refusal to sign the Missile Technology Control Regime, which seeks to curb the proliferation of missile technology. Unless it signs, the United States can’t share rocket technology with India.
See the press conference here: