22 July 2011

DRAFT: A proposed system of prizes to launch Space Solar Power

New paper, just a DRAFT!!!!  Helpful comments and corrections welcome.   Abstract:

A system of prizes to develop space solar power (SSP) is proposed.  If successful, a one or two
billion dollar investment could kick-start a vigorous SSP industry, which in turn could provide
humanity with essentially unlimited quantities of clean electrical energy.  If unsuccessful, the money
is returned to its source.  The prize is structured to subsidize the construction of nine SSP satellites
by at least three different entrants using different designs.  The prize is aimed at developing small
SSP systems delivering a few tens of megawatts to utilities on the ground.  Under some reasonable
assumptions, the prize money is sufficient to make one or perhaps two of the satellites profitable and
provide a significant subsidy to the other seven.  Once small SSP systems have been successfully
developed, producing large systems that can make a real difference to global energy production will
be much easier. While $2 billion is a great deal of money, should this effort be successful, it is
reasonable to hope that Earth’s energy and greenhouse gas problems could be solved.

For the full paper see http://space.alglobus.net/papers/SSPprizes2011.pdf

SpaceWork's First Revenue Satellite

 SpaceWorks Commercial posted online a recent Space Solar Power (SSP) economic analysis it presented at the 28th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science (ISTS) in Japan. The analysis focused on what SpaceWorks refers to as the SSP First Revenue Satellite (FRS), an operational demonstrator in the MW class for SSP. 

Charania, A., DePasquale, D., Olds, J. R., "Operational Demonstration of Space Solar Power (SSP): Economic Analysis of a First Revenue Satellite (FRS)," ISTS2011-q-01, 28th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science (ISTS), Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, June 5-12, 2011.



New Link:

Niche markets (military installations, developing nation remote power, etc.) may be potential markets where Space Solar Power (SSP) satellites may be economically viable, given certain government support and Earth-to-Orbit launch cost assumptions. An operational demonstrator could be one approach for those markets. This paper examines such a concept, referred to by the authors as the SSP First Revenue Satellite (FRS). The FRS would be a mid-power (1-20 MW of delivered power) space-to-ground demonstrator of SSP. The purpose would be two-fold, prove the end-to-end technical capability and then demonstrate operations over multiple years. The FRS system would be turned over to commercial operators for public/private service. This is deemed to be a more feasible and useful mid-scale demonstration of SSP. This would be a hybrid public-private system consisting of low number of satellite systems. A notional SSP architecture is taken as a case study for this examination. Economic analysis is performed to look at the output prices such a venture would charge based upon various financing options. The objective of this analysis is to determine whether the FRS can be a commercially viable pathway for a SSP demonstrator.

19 July 2011

Totally Pathetic Indo-US joint Civil Space Statement

Are you kidding? The political leaders of both nations have put a priority on space cooperation, and this pathetic, weak, anemic statement is the best their respective civil space agencies can come up with?

- Oooo, I'm soooo excited about potential cooperation in sharing data, and "possibilities" of joint experiements, and "willinness to discuss".
- I'm sure children in both continents are jumping up and down, unable to contain their excitement at a potential future career in data sharing and GNSS compatibility

The U.S. – India Joint Space Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation met in July 2011 in Bangalore. Building on the successful Chandrayan-1 lunar mission, NASA and ISRO reviewed potential areas for future cooperation in earth observation, space exploration, space sciences and satellite navigation. Both sides agreed for early finalization three new implementing arrangements for sharing satellite data on oceans and global weather patterns. Recognising the research opportunities available on the International Space Station, both sides agreed to explore the possibilities of joint experiments. NASA reiterated its willingness to discuss potential cooperation with ISRO on human spaceflight activities. The two sides also agreed to expand upon previous work in the area of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) with the goal of promoting compatibility and interoperability between the U.S. Global Positioning System, India’s Navigation systems, and those of other countries.

Compare this pathetic, anemic failure to the ambitious vision of Dr. Rajagopalan in an earlier post, or the exciting initiative posted by the NSS-Kalam initiative.

Are we really funding people to fly halfway around the world to discuss discussing potential cooperation, with no goals, no deadlines, no resourcing, no vision?

This is the best that can be offered up when the two nations are having a strategic dialog?

18 July 2011

US-India Strategic Dialogue: "Sky's No Limit" for Space

From: http://www.orfonline.org/cms/sites/orfonline/modules/analysis/AnalysisDetail.html?cmaid=24899&mmacmaid=24900

US-India Strategic Dialogue: "Sky's No Limit" for Space
Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
18 July 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be arriving in Delhi on Monday (July 18) for the second U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. This strategic dialogue is crucial because there is an increasing concern that the U.S.-India partnership is beginning to lose its way. In Washington, there is significant disappointment on a number of issues including India’s nuclear liabilities bill, which for all practical purposes prevents the US nuclear industry from participating in India’s civilian nuclear sector; and the Indian decision to reject two American competitors from the Indian Air Force’s lucrative Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal. In Delhi, on the other hand, there is unhappiness at what is seen as American pressure for greater defence cooperation. These issues suggest that all is not well with US-India relations.

With the nuclear deal over, New Delhi and Washington need another big idea to power the relationship over the next several years. Without such a political initiative at the highest levels, U.S.-India relations threaten once again to wallow in bureaucratic inertia. Space cooperation has the potential for being that next big idea.

Nearly two years back, Karl F. Inderfurth, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Statefor South Asia Affairs, and C. Raja Mohan, prominent Indian foreign policy analyst, proposed in the pages of the Financial Times, London that space cooperation be kept at the heart of U.S.-India relations.

But though space cooperation has been an important item in the agenda between the two countries with almost all important bilateral documents proposing such cooperation, there has been little tangible movement on the issue. With the removal of most U.S. high-technology sanctions on Indian agencies, particularly on the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), there are few obstacles to serious cooperation in this area.

Nevertheless, bland sentiments about cooperation are unlikely to bear fruit without tangible proposals. To begin with, the two governments should consider establishing a US-India 21st Century Commercial Space Initiative or a Space Knowledge Initiative, along the lines of the US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative and the US-India Clean Energy Initiative.

Space cooperation between the two countries has even greater potential. Space cooperation is likely to be much more visible than either energy or agriculture cooperation. And unlike the US-India nuclear deal, space cooperation is likely to garner domestic support in both countries and is likely to be less controversial internationally.

India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, recently highlighted the successful US-India partnership in the area of clean energy. The initiative was also a successful model of public-private sector partnership, with the two governments investing $25 million each and the private sector investing $50 million.

There are a number of areas of space cooperation that Washington and Delhi can explore. While space exploration purely for the sake of science might be important, it is likely to be more sustainable when linked to building a strategic industry. US and India should focus building the underlying knowledge and skill base which can address many areas: space access, in-space maneuver, space logistics, space infrastructure, on-orbit servicing, developing new markets such as space tourism, on-orbit construction and manufacture, terrestrial resource mapping, space resource and energy utilization, space traffic management and active debris mitigation, among others.

India-U.S. space cooperation also has a potential for being much more broad-based than other areas such as nuclear or defense cooperation. Space cooperation can generate stakeholders across a wide-spectrum, from the national space agencies on both sides (NASA and ISRO), education and science and technology departments to universities as well as private commercial enterprises in both countries. In fact, space cooperation has the potential to go far beyond entities like ISRO and catalyse new strategic industries in space.

The two countries can elevate three strategic objectives through the space cooperation initiative: first, it provides an exciting investment area of space in the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership for Indian and American leaders to work on, which addresses STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), jobs and high-tech cooperation in space. Second, it can catapult space-industrialisation and commercial space from the edge of the Indian and American national space paradigm to its forefront. Third, garner further resources for our own STEM in developing a future strategic industry.

Such an initiative could generate active participation and cooperation from public and private entities such as ANTRIX Corporation (India’s commercial wing of ISRO), the Chamber of Indian Industries (CII), Indo-U.S. S&T Fund, FICCI, USIBC, educational institutions such as IIT, IIM, IISc and on the U.S. side, FAA/SAT universities, USRA, NIRA, NASA/OCT Commercial, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Space Enterprise Institute among others.

U.S.-India partnership has never been short of promise, but realising the potential needs grand vision. Much of the progress over the last decade has been the result of precisely such a vision in the form of the nuclear deal. The need now is for another grand vision that would ensure that the progress made so far is not jeopardised.

I thank Lt. Col. Peter Garretson of the US Air Force for collaborating and formulating many of the ideas in this analysis.

(Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. She was at the National Security Council Secretariat, Government of India, from 2003 to 2007)

14 July 2011

To Command the Stars

An excellent essay. Someone in Air Force Space Command who "gets it"

Luna Ring and Solarbird

Read: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/lunar-energy-soulution-japans-crisis/story?id=14051246

11 July 2011

10 July 2011

Go Green NASA!

An article from Space News (http://spacenews.com/commentaries/110620-green-nasa.html ) saying "NASA Go Green!":
And after conducting extensive study of solar power satellites that have the potential for beaming power to Earth 24 hours a day, and after acknowledging the feasibility of the concept, why did NASA stop short of at least a demonstration system, so that commercial enterprises could take over as they have with communications satellites?

Here also is an interesting idea from India on Space Solar Power for disaster relief:

There is a new pro-SBSP group: Solar High at http://solarhigh.org/
"The Solar High Study Group is a small team of senior engineers and policy analysts who are working to make space-based solar power a reality in the United States and around the world."

09 July 2011

Fairly Substantial SBSP discussion on "To the Point"

Listen to discussion on Space Solar Power (in depth starting at 34:29):

NASA Ames bought a 1.2 MW, 110 GHz gyrotron for testing beamed energy propulsion

Remarks Keith Henson on the significance of the purchase:
"But if you have 9000 m/s exhaust velocity, which can be done with hydrogen heated with microwaves or lasers, then the mass ratio is a little less than 3.  So vehicle and payload can be 36% of takeoff mass.  If half vehicle and half payload, that's 18% each.  So a 300 ton vehicle with a dry mass of 54 tons could put 54 tons in LEO...The falling cost of microwave power and laser power makes these options possible.