Global prosperity through space-based solar power | 2338
Journal of Aeronautics & Aerospace Engineering

Journal of Aeronautics & Aerospace Engineering
Open Access

ISSN: 2168-9792


Global prosperity through space-based solar power

2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

September 08-10, 2014 Philadelphia, USA

David C Hyland

Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J Aeronaut Aerospace Eng

Abstract :

The harvest of abundant and accessible energy is a key element in the future global economy. It may be necessary to transition from the current dependence on fossil fuels, although predictions of when we reach the stage of ?peak oil? are imprecise. What is certain is that fossil fuel reserves remain concentrated in local areas, and this raises much conflict. On the other hand, space solar power (SSP) offers the possibility of abundant, widely accessible power supply. The basic concepts developed in the 1970s involve a very large photovoltaic array in geostationary orbit that converts power to microwave radiation and beams it down to a rectifying antenna (rectenna) array on the Earth?s surface. Although the overall efficiency of space-based solar cells is nearly an order-of-magnitude greater than that of ground-based systems, this is offset, in the traditional concept, by the fact that transmitting antennas must be roughly one square kilometer, and rectennas must be more than 100 square kilometers. Economic analysis has shown that the initial investment needed to deploy such a gigantic system is likely to be impracticable. Thus we focus attention on what it would take to field a more modest sized ?First Producing System? (FPS), that would suffice to kick-start the industry, and prove the technology at modest initial investment. To do this several advances, beyond the conventional concept, are needed to obtain a viable FPS. The assumptions of a very large collection station in geostationary orbit needs reconsideration. We examine the possibility of a constellation of a handful of low-Earth-orbit collection/transmission satellites to greatly reduce launch costs. Constellation orbits can be synchronized so that at any one time, at least one satellite is over the customer area and capable of power transmission. Further, sophisticated phased array technology can be used to create multiple, relatively narrow microwave beams, serving local areas, and thus reducing ground-based transmission losses. Altogether, such advances provide the opportunity to prove and harvest space solar power with modest initial investment.

Biography :

David C Hyland earned the SB, MS and PhD degrees at MIT in 1969, 1971 and 1973, respectively. Through 1983, he was staff member of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Beginning in 1983, he led an advanced technology group at Harris Corporation and became Senior Scientist. He joined the University of Michigan in 1996 as Professor and Chairman of Aerospace Engineering. In 2003 he joined Texas A&M University as Associate Vice Chancellor, Associate Dean of Research, and Professor of Aerospace Engineering, and Physics. Most recently, he gained the position of Director of Space Science and Engineering Research.