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NASA is rethinking solar power plants in space

NASA is rethinking solar power plants in space

NASA stands start studying To re-examine the feasibility of harnessing solar energy in space, a solution he has long advocated for saving energy from space that could attract new interest thanks to technological advances and a push toward clean energy.

In a presentation at the National Space Society’s International Conference on Space Development May 27, Nikolai Joseph of NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy said the agency is embarking on a short-term study to assess the outlook for NASA. Space Solar Power, or SBSP, is a first by the agency in about two decades.

“With the development of technology, the viability of the system has changed over time,” he said. “This study will evaluate to what extent NASA should support space solar energy.”

The study will not attempt to propose a new architecture for SBSP (abbreviation for Space Solar Power), but it will re-examine previous concepts of collecting solar energy in space and transmitting it to Earth for conversion into electricity. These upgraded systems will be compared to Earth’s energy systems and the policy and implementation challenges they face will be assessed.

The costs of such systems, which have traditionally been a major hurdle in previous studies dating back to the 1970s, will also be examined. “It’s going to be a lot of money,” he said, “but money isn’t the only limiting factor.” “If the number is huge and staggering, it could be good.”

Joseph said advances in several technical areas give the agency at least reason to re-examine the feasibility of the SBSP. The biggest problem was the cost of launching components, but advances in carrier technology led to a decline in this component, which made it possible to conduct a comprehensive re-evaluation of the project.

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The agency said that NASA is in discussions with the US Space Force and other “technical agencies” about the study. There is currently no application for government grants through a formal request for information or other process, but he has not ruled out doing so later. The aim is to finish the study and present it at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris in September.

There has been a resurgence of interest in SBSP in recent years, including a workshop held last December by the European Space Agency, which Joseph said NASA attended and led the agency to consider your own study. Last year, the UK government listed SBSP as a technology to explore alongside nuclear, wind and other energy systems.

Much of this interest is driven by the desire for energy sources capable of meeting “net” carbon emissions targets for mitigating climate change.

“Even assuming that space solar won’t be cheap, the fact that we’re losing the narrative by not trying to put something on the global agenda makes us look stupid,” he said.

John Mankins, a longtime SBSP supporter who has led previous NASA studies on the topic, said the “extremely cheap” access to space promised by vehicles like SpaceX’s Starship has changed the economy of that system. “Transportation is no longer part of the cost equation,” he said. “This makes it possible to access space solar energy, depending on how you do it.”

Energy produced in space has significant advantages. For example, light does not depend on atmospheric phenomena and is not weakened by the atmosphere, as well as not occupying physical space on the surface. However, the problem of transmitting the electric energy produced to the earth still needs to be solved. However, these are interesting projects,

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