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Solar Farms in Orbit

BarryE's picture

This is the stuff science fiction books write interesting to see it play out.

From San Francisco, orbiting Solar Farms...

Barry E-Remodeler


Barry E-Remodeler  

(post #157755, reply #1 of 18)

Seems like it would be a lot cheaper just to use less electricity. Just sayin'....

(post #157755, reply #3 of 18)

Like that's going to happen. :)

Get rid of micros, air conditioners, hair dryers washers.....

Why not use alternate energies and cut down?

Edited 4/14/2009 9:42 pm by BarryE

Barry E-Remodeler  

(post #157755, reply #5 of 18)

No, just get rid of inefficient housing (and more importantly inefficient retail and government space). It's too late for that, though.

Careful, we're getting political...

(post #157755, reply #7 of 18)

Just testing to see if I can link...

Yep, it worked. Times KWH times ceiling height over 16' - lol.

Edited 4/14/2009 11:13 pm ET by back2work

Edited 4/14/2009 11:17 pm ET by back2work

(post #157755, reply #2 of 18)

That's wild stuff.  Is the microwave transmission of electricity a proven capability, or is that theoretical?

I'll just be glad when they get the solar farm steam turbine thing on line...


(post #157755, reply #4 of 18)

Not sure, seems to be more theory but must be pretty strong for them to proceed.

be interesting

Barry E-Remodeler


Barry E-Remodeler  

(post #157755, reply #9 of 18)

Like, can I throw away my extension cords and batteries? 


(post #157755, reply #10 of 18)

The theoretical work for orbital solar power systems has been in progress for decades; possibly the earliest easily readable info is 'The High Frontier' by Gerard K O'Neil ( which covers quite a lot more than just power systems.

From my understanding of the current state, I'd say it is marginally possible right now; like the idea of airmail the year before the US govt. issued the first contracts for it. I have friends that work on the various parts such as the launch systems needed to put a million tons or so a year into high orbit and beam the energy back. The upside includes pollution free power - so much you could make petrol or propane if you really want it - and the downside includes recognising that a microwave beam could be used as a weapon under certain circumstances. But then so can a supertanker.

Will it ever happen? Probably - but I'm going to guess that China is far more likely to do it first. They have everyone's money, and production facilities, and the need.

I'll just screw this here, glue that there and wire this to phFZZZZZzzzztt. 

(post #157755, reply #6 of 18)

Just imagine a plane veering off course, and running through that beam.

I'm thinking it probably wouldn't be a disaster for only the plane...






It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...

(post #157755, reply #11 of 18)

Just imagine a plane veering off course, and running through that beam.

I'm thinking it probably wouldn't be a disaster for only the plane...

.They are already working on the coverup story for that kinda thing. They'll beam it down in an area already plagued with problems, like the Bermuda Triangle, and it will be easier to explain away!ey are thinking up the cover story

.IIt's ashame that scifi is ahead of technology, it should be the other way around! Well maybe kinda sorta....









It is a shame that all the people who really know how to run this country, and run it right, are busy, cutting hair, driving taxi's and trucks!

I believe George Burns said something to that effect.


Microwave transmission of (post #157755, reply #12 of 18)

Microwave transmission of energy is pretty simple. You use large (several KM in diameter) on the ground, so the energy flux isn't high enough to be big problems.

The big problem is getting the very expensive solar arrays into space. Launch costs are on the order of $12,000 per kilogram. Ideally, you'd mine the materials in space, where you don't have to lift all of them out of the earth's gravity well.

I wonder the ratio of energy (post #157755, reply #13 of 18)

I wonder the ratio of energy required to get all the stuff into space vs. what it will produce for our use. Interesting concepts for sure, but practical ?????

There ain't NO free lunch. Not no how, not no where!

It's real (post #157755, reply #14 of 18)

Proof of principle lashups can be done by any 3rd yeara Electrical Engineering student with about 60% efficiency. 


Best book on I've read is G. Harry Stine's "The Third Industrial Revolution"  It ain't cheap.  In the 70's when he was writing the first solar power satelite would have cost about a trillion dollars and would ahve taken 30 years to build.  There after, they would have been about a billion each, and would be turned out at a rate of 1 a year.  By 50 years, the project pays for itself selling power at 1/3 of a cent per kWh.

Much of the cost of the first one is infra-structure:

1.  Heavy lift resuable rockets.

2.  Colonies on the moon.

3.  A place in space to live while the pieces are fit together.

4.  vacuum based, zero gee material processing methods.


The side effects of the project is that we own the solar system. 







All your space... Are (post #157755, reply #15 of 18)

All your space...

Are belong to us!

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!


(post #157755, reply #8 of 18)

If they build it, maybe some Ben Franklin type of neighbor will send up a kite over the ground receiving site and siphon off power for his house.



The lawyers WILL LOVE (post #157755, reply #16 of 18)

The lawyers WILL LOVE IT!




Been party to some 'electromagnetic radiation causes cancer' lawsuits, sure some are chomppin' at teh bit awaitin'.