Space solar power fans: Uncle Sam wants you

Pentagon enlists Internet users to figure out the high-tech road ahead

A Pentagon office is taking advantage of the collaborative nature of the Internet as it studies potential applications for space-based solar power, according to one of the officials leading the effort.

I have long been a fan of the concept of the space-based energy beamed back to earth. I also realize how staggeringly unlikely such plans are. I wrote some about it back in the early days of MO at Just don’t get in between the transmitter and the receiver.


  1. Beamed energy is a good concept from several aspects. Not only can you use it to provide power from space to terrestrial based receivers, but you can also use it to put the power satellites into space. That is, you can use beamed power to generate thrust in rocket engines. You can either use it to heat Helium (or other inert gases), or you can use it to make the combustion products of a conventional fuel hotter, giving the rocket extra thrust. Another option even more interesting than that one to me is the potential of using beamed power on aircraft. In this case the engines would compress the air and instead of injecting fuel and burning the mixture in a combustor it would heat the air using the microwave radiation and expel pure air through the turbine. I suppose you could use satellites to provide that beamed power too, if you wanted.

  2. Mo I followed your link to the old article. No worry your beard about it. Just make sure NO microsoft ANYTHING gets near the construction of it and it’ll work perfectly. Just sayin…..

  3. I just hope they’re not relying on our drunk astronauts to get this hardware into space. I hope the equipment doesn’t get sabotaged too. Regarding the sabotage, does anyone besides me suspect Russian involvement? I mean, it seems a little more than coincidental that the last mission was dominated by Russian computer failures and 2 weeks before this mission a computer is sabotaged. Of course, the Russians are our friends. We are going to rely on them to get us to the space station after 2010 when the shuttle is retired. Who knows how long it will take before we have another vehicle online after that. The official version of the story is 7 years, but you know how full of crap the official version ususally is.

  4. Of course, with friends like these, why would we want to explore alternate energy sources? Even as American frustration at Saudi Arabia grows, American military officials are still cautious about publicly detailing the extent of the flow of foreign fighters going to Iraq from Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, for instance, Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, the top American military spokesman in Iraq, detailed the odyssey of a foreign fighter recently captured in Ramadi. In his public account, General Bergner told reporters that the man had arrived in Syria on a chartered bus, was smuggled into Iraq by a Syrian facilitator, and was given instructions to carry out a suicide truck bombing on a bridge in Ramadi. He did not identify the man’s nationality, but American officials in Iraq say he was a Saudi. The American officials in Iraq also say that the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that about 40 percent of all foreign fighters are Saudi. Officials said that while most of the foreign fighters came to Iraq to become suicide bombers, others arrived as bomb makers, snipers, logisticians and financiers. I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to run out and buy an SUV, a big one!

  5. Now let’s flash back to the last shuttle mission: A source inside the Russian space agency has told ABC News that there could be a ‘fatal flaw’ with the station’s main computer. After working for a couple of days, the Russians still have no idea what the problem is, and they are pointing the finger at the Americans. They say that setting up the solar array sent electromagnetic interference into the computer, shutting it down.

  6. Just don’t get in between the transmitter and the receiver. Unless you want to. We’re talking microwaves like the kind used to beam data across the country not the kind I used to cook pizza tonight. No one sweats microwave relays on towers – the source is perched high up in the air and hard to get at. If you wander through the beam (and you probably have) further away you don’t notice. It’s like that with solar power sats. You might not want to fly through the beam for liability reasons and living under it would be dreary (acres of mesh over your head) but it’s not going to be a huge deal.