The vacuum in space seems apt for an orbiting solar power station which would have the ability to harness power 24×7 without any interruptions as such.
The concept of solar energy harnessed from space is not a new concept, and has been in plans as old as the 1940s. It has its foundation on Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi work which made the idea of a space station controlled by robots which could deliver energy to the earth through microwaves.
Experts of power supply say that this space-based solar power will give a boost to the power supplies all over the world, and this concept seems sound from a scientist’s perspective, according to Dr. Paul Jaffe at the US Naval Research Laboratory.
“NASA and the US Department of Energy did a study in the late 70s that cost $20 million at the time and looked at it in pretty great depth. The conclusion at that time was that there was nothing wrong with the physics but the real question is the economics,” Dr. Jaffe explained.
The cost of the project is based on the number of launches in space needed to construct the power-transmitting satellite. Estimated cost amounts to 40000$ per kg for some space launches and the final cost could be as much as 20 billion US dollars.
There are two ways for transmitting the power to our planet from a space-based power station: microwaves or laser beams.
Dr Jaffe stated that microwave technology has been established for many years. Scientists were able to power up a helicopter through the use of microwaves in 1964.
He also explained that the microwave technology was established in 1964. The satellites, however, could cost a few billion dollars.