Re: Criticizing NASA’s SSP report

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Keith Henson

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Feb 14, 2024, 7:35:01 PMFeb 14
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On Wed, Feb 14, 2024 at 7:23 AM <james...@aol.com> wrote:
>
> My thanks to Peter for publishing this opinion article.
>
> It is time to recognize, like watching the most recent Indiana Jones movie, that the “good old days” of NASA are long gone. It is now a bungling bureaucratic obstacle to advancing America’s self-interests in human spaceflight.

Concerning power satellites, NASA has been hostile to the idea for at
least 44 years. Exactly why I don't know even after all this time,
but I remember as far back as 1980 ERDA (which became DOE) and NASA
cut a deal that DOE would not fund space projects (like SBSP) and NASA
would not fund energy projects (like SBSP). (I wonder if this deal
left any tracks that FOIA might unearth.)

I don't think "bungling" is the right term. Actively hostile to SBSP
is more like it. I don't see hostility that has run for four decades
turning around in less than a decade and maybe never. Fortunately,
NASA is not the only game in town and the US is not the only economy
large enough to construct power satellites.

The British/ESA/EU is one candidate, and China is another. India
might eventually be a possibility. It's not entirely obvious that
power satellites are economically sensible but with the falling cost
to space, they are looking better as time goes on.

There is still the problem that you can't start small because of
microwave optics and it is not clear that the ozone can cope with the
flight rate needed for power satellites to make a serious contribution
to solving the energy demand.

Of course, mining extraterrestrial resources solves both of these
problems. But that is another can of worms.

Keith
>
> Earlier, I provided my comments on this report on LinkedIn:
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> =====
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> This century, America and the free world must undertake an ORDERLY transition to abundant sustainable energy if we are to remain free, energy secure, and economically prosperous. Like many others, going back to the early 1970s, I advocate for the substantial use of space solar power-supplied astroelectricity as the means to achieve the needed orderly transition. This century, astroelectricity will become the world’s new “oil” in terms of its geopolitical importance and source of geopolitical competition, including military competition.
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> Recently, NASA released its most recent study of space solar power. NASA concluded that space solar power was NOT worth pursuing.
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> “’We found that these space-based solar power designs are expensive. They are 12 to 80 times more expensive than if you were going to have renewable energy on the ground,’ said Erica Rodgers, science and technology partnership forum lead in NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, in a talk at AIAA’s SciTech Forum conference in Orlando, Florida, January 11, where the agency unveiled the report.”
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> Jeff Foust, the author of the Space Review article cited below, wrote the following about how SOME advocates were responding to the negative NASA report:
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> “The result was, for those advocates, a stunningly negative assessment of the economics of solar power from space as an alternative to terrestrial renewable energy sources.”
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> The fundamental—and inexcusable—fault of the NASA study was trying to compare today’s cost of terrestrial renewable and nuclear fission power sources against some imagined future cost of astroelectricity, on a cost per delivered per kilowatt-hour of electrical energy.
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> I have extensively and quantitively compared terrestrial renewable and nuclear fission power sources against astroelectricity on the proper basis as to whether the terrestrial options can PRACTICABLY be scaled up to replace fossil carbon fuels. I have summarized my results in several technical and conference papers, Space Review articles, and one book, Astroelectricity.
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> I published the results of my most recent quantitative comparison in a four-part Space Review article, “Evaluating America’s green energy options including astroelectricity”. This series was published beginning on 14 November 2022, over a year prior to the release of NASA’s report.
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> Part 1 - https://lnkd.in/gnAv7cPp
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> My quantitative analysis makes it quite clear that terrestrial renewable and nuclear fission power sources CANNOT be practicably scaled up to supply the amount of sustainable energy needed to replace fossil carbon fuels. Hence, trying to publicly justify an internal NASA policy decision to simply ignore space solar power based on today’s cost of delivering terrestrial sustainable energy is worthless.
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> With this understanding, the NASA report is fundamentally flawed. It should be retracted with a public apology.
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> Mike Snead, PE
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> From: Peter Garretson <budo...@gmail.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2024 8:40 AM
> To: Howard Bloom <howl...@aol.com>
> Subject: Criticizing NASA’s SSP report
>
>
>
> NASA’s Space Solar Power Plan Lacks Ambition
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> https://nationalinterest.org/blog/techland/nasa%E2%80%99s-space-solar-power-plan-lacks-ambition-209342
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> Discussion:
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> https://www.linkedin.com/posts/petergarretson_nasas-space-solar-power-plan-lacks-ambition-activity-7163316596499824640-3EFz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_ios
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> NASA’s Space Solar Power Plan Lacks Ambition
>
> Last month, NASA released its long overdue report on Space-Based Solar Power, a revolutionary green energy concept highlighted at COP26, the World Economic Forum at Davos, and the Dubai Future Forum, shocking a community who had applauded NASA’s re-entry into the discussion in May of 2022. However, after fifteen months of reviews, rewrites, and the optimistic tone articulated at the 2022 International Space Development Conference, the finished study reflects the lack of ambition currently afflicting America’s space agency. Furthermore, the NASA report appears carefully calculated to ensure nobody in the White House takes notice.
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> In 2021, the White House’s Long-Term Strategy on Climate Change set a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. However, as if to spite the administration, the NASA report guarantees its irrelevance by estimating the start date of space-based solar power in 2050, clearly outside the timeline. Furthermore, NASA chose 2050 despite knowing that other programs, including the European and British programs, aim to have a fleet of operational systems by 2040. This date was also set even though at least three startups in the United States are looking for capital to deploy prototypes in the next five years.
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> The report focuses heavily on the prohibitive costs of Space Solar Power generation, attempting to cause sticker shock among policymakers. In reality, NASA’s estimate is based on flawed assumptions that are out of touch with the industry, leading to greater numbers than European and British evaluations. Although NASA examined a range of assumptions, the report only highlighted the worst-case “baseline,” a transparent scare tactic to keep the White House and Congress from investigating it further.
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> However, buried in the fine print is vital information: “Cost competitiveness may be achieved through a favorable combination of cost and performance improvements related to launch and manufacturing.” Given the progress we’ve seen on Starship and Starlink, there is reason to believe these improvements are feasible and well within the reach of U.S. engineers. If successful, Space Solar Power will become—as the NASA report acknowledges—the cheapest and lowest-intensity carbon system.
>
> The report is also unresponsive to the administration's other national policy objectives. Absent is any ambition to respond to the Biden administration’s Twenty-First Century Industrial Strategy, which seeks to “revitalize our manufacturing base, strengthen critical supply chains, and position U.S. workers and businesses to compete and lead globally in the 21st century,” or to lead in clean energy technologies. The report provides only weak options and makes no recommendations in this arena. Similarly, no choice is offered where the United States could take leadership with a dedicated program and funding line to develop Space Solar Power and its enabling technologies. Nor does the report provide an option to counter the Chinese Space Solar Power program with its plans for demonstrations and tests just a few years from now.
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> The NASA report is bizarrely tone-deaf and disconnected from the agency’s own Moon-to-Mars infrastructure objectives. Unlike the European Space Agency, which has done excellent work visualizing the link between a lunar base camp and Space Solar Power, the NASA study does not consider any unity with the Artemis Accords, the America-led project to return to the Moon.
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> Nor does NASA attempt to address the goal outlined in the National Cislunar Strategy, to “leverage collaborations with private entities to enable capabilities for large-scale ISRU and advanced manufacturing at the Moon” to catalyze an in-space economy.
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> The result is a stunningly unambitious study that casts NASA in a supporting role for other agencies and allies while providing no clear options for the aadministration to assume leadership on an issue that will help shape the future of space. It is also a poison pill designed to paint a grim picture to ensure the National Space Council and its head, Vice President Kamala Harris, are prevented from taking action on this powerful technology. Hopefully, however, the White House Climate, Energy, and Space staff will look past this blatant attempt by NASA to “cook the books” and see the true potential of Space Solar Power.
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> Peter Garretson is a Senior Fellow in Defense Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C.
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Keith Lofstrom

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Feb 15, 2024, 5:29:39 PMFeb 15
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On Wed, Feb 14, 2024 at 04:34:30PM -0800, Keith Henson wrote:
> Concerning power satellites, NASA has been hostile to the idea for at
> least 44 years. Exactly why I don't know even after all this time,
> but I remember as far back as 1980 ERDA (which became DOE) and NASA
> cut a deal that DOE would not fund space projects (like SBSP) and NASA
> would not fund energy projects (like SBSP). (I wonder if this deal
> left any tracks that FOIA might unearth.)
>
> I don't think "bungling" is the right term. Actively hostile to SBSP
> is more like it.
...

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves ..."
... Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2

Could it be ... that broadcasting terawatts of ISM-band microwaves
to Earth is a Really BAD Idea, and there are cheaper, safer, and
more profitable ways to exploit many EXAWATTS of space solar
energy at the collectors, IN SITU ?

Perhaps NASA and their contractors know this, and also know that
arousing the people who killed the Moon Treaty could also kill
NASA. Don't wake the fire-breathing dragon, even if that
dragon really should wake up and learn to be neighborly.

----

Real radios are electronically and geometrically imprecise,
Real radios make harmonics - DC doesn't want to be microwaves
(exception - Josephson effect); Even with heavy (in both senses)
filtering, the best transmitters might emit 100 ppm of
unwanted harmonic energy, splattered in different directions
than a power beam. So, 10 TW of SBSP might radiate a gigawatt
of broad spectrum radio interference.

I've read technical journal papers about SBSP emitter elements
that bragged about high efficiency, with "only" 2% (2000 ppm)
third harmonic. 200 GW of communication-obliterating
microwave-band noise for 10 TW of power beam. WHAT THE HELL
were those authors SMOKING?

Yes, we've plodded in the same blind circles for almost
50 years, ignoring new opportunities all around us. One
definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and
over, and expecting a different result next time.

What better opportunities are available in 2024?

----

In my own field of integrated circuit design, in 1980, typical
chips had 30,000 transistors and clocked at 5 megahertz. Today,
I can purchase 8 terabit, 560 megabyte per second solid state
drives for $75. The mass-to-function ratio will never be zero,
but the mass and cost trend has followed Moore's exponential
Law for FAR longer than any sober person would DARE to predict.
Moore's Law is driven by mind power; it also amplifies mind
power, and connects minds everywhere, from pole to pole.
It will soon enable vastly more mind power beyond Earth.

In 2010, I made (with my partners at Hitachi) retail RFID chips
40 by 40 by 10 micrometers on a side, storing 256 bits of ID
information and costing a small fraction of a penny.
My Hitachi colleagues called the chips "smart dust".

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami diverted Hitachi from
retail RFID and towards Japanese economic recovery. A GOOD
THING! RFID-supercharged storefront retail, out-competing
online commerce, would have exposed far more of us to COVID.
But I digress, except to emphasize that different economic
paths come with different benefits and RISKS.

The risks of SBSP are NOT trivial; I'll go into those after
telling you more of the "silicon miracle story".

----

Silicon density is 2.7 grams per cubic centimeter.
SiO₂ glass and aluminum (for insulation and wiring) are
similar. That is 2.7 PICOgrams per cubic micrometer.
Hence a smart dust chip massed less than 50 nanograms.

In 2024, after 7 more generations of Moore's Law scaling
(with rapid layer growth in the "vertical" direction), we
can cram vastly more transistors into a "dust-sized" chip.

Each centimeter-square, 200-micrometer-thick memory chip
in my Samsung drive contains more than 2 trillion
transistors, including many real-time self-testable
hot-swap-able spare pages of memory. That is
25 femtograms per transistor. It will be less than
1 femtogram per transistor-equivalent a decade from now.

Note that the photons that image these transistors today are
100 electron-volt extreme UV, verging on soft X-rays, vastly
denser energy flux than above-atmosphere extreme solar UV.
Future transistors will be practically invulnerable to space
radiation, AND redundant, AND reconfigurable. How? Don't
know, not my specialty. Thousands of Intel engineers are
solving these problems a few miles away from me. If they
don't, Asia will eat their lunch (and also yours and mine).

Good for us, good for Asia, and EXCELLENT for 21st century
space tech. NOT to make gigawatt microwave arrays in space.
Instead, gigawatt COMPUTING and ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
arrays in space, transmitting information beams, not power
beams, to Earth. Peta-transistor per kilogram systems.
Note that a human brain is about 0.6 peta-synapses, and
consumes 12 watts. Electronics will do better, soon.

----

NEXT: Rephrase Gerard O'Neill's excellent question:
"Is the surface of a planet really the right place for
an expanding ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE civilization?"

I've explored this line of reasoning for more than a
decade, starting with http://server-sky.com in near-Earth
MEO orbits. I'm currently considering vast arrays of
gossamer "thinsats" in Lissajous orbits sunwards of the
Earth-Sun L1 point. A vast ring-like region in space,
where AI can collect MUCH more than "200 EARTHS" of solar
energy. Intercepting a small fraction of the light
currently reaching Earth, tunable between 0% and 5%.

AI arrays mostly made of lunar-abundant elements, with
one huge and pesky exception - the recyclable carbon
anodes needed to process lunar regolith into silicon
and aluminum and glass.

Where-oh-where will AI find 500 gigatonnes of unwanted
carbon? :-)

What riches will AI trade for that carbon? Perhaps
teaching our children to NOT be ignorant superstitious
paranoid buttheads like their parents and ancestors?
We can dream; giga-intelligence can teach us how.

Much depends on the path dependencies that we bake into
the AI systems. We can do better than the hominid path
dependencies that baked Hiroshima.

I can write a LOT more, but I write MUCH BETTER with
collaborators. A few of you are mentally agile enough
to pivot, catch up with me, and blow right past me.
I will cheer as you zoom by.

Ad astra per AI!

Keith L.

--
Keith Lofstrom kei...@keithl.com

Keith Henson

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On Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 2:29 PM Keith Lofstrom <kei...@keithl.com> wrote:

snip

> Could it be ... that broadcasting terawatts of ISM-band microwaves
> to Earth is a Really BAD Idea, and there are cheaper, safer, and
> more profitable ways to exploit many EXAWATTS of space solar
> energy at the collectors, IN SITU ?

Cheaper is what the studies are about. I don't know that anyone has
proposed a power satellite beam that has any safety concerns, not even
for birds. If power satellites are to be useful in getting humanity
off fossil fuels, they have to be done before 2100. Given nanotech
and AI, it's not clear that power satellites will make sense
post-singularity. It's also rather likely that there is not enough
time to build power satellites this side of the singularity. Post
singularity, It's not even clear that biological bodies will make
sense. It depends on what you expect.

If what we see in the shadows at Tabby's star are alien
megastructures, data centers supporting trillions of uploaded alien
minds, then using solar power in space might be in our future. One of
those structures is over 400 times the area of the Earth. In spite of
being in an 18-year orbit out about 7 AU, the structure intercepts 1.4
million times the energy humans use. How long it would take us to
reach that stage is hard to say, I asked an AI and it gave me an
estimate they have been in space for 3100 years.

The one thing we can say about the future is that it is going to be strange.

KeithH

Keith Lofstrom

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On Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 2:29 PM Keith Lofstrom <kei...@keithl.com> wrote:

> Could it be ... that broadcasting terawatts of ISM-band microwaves
> to Earth is a Really BAD Idea, and there are cheaper, safer, and
> more profitable ways to exploit many EXAWATTS of space solar
> energy at the collectors, IN SITU ?

On Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 05:20:40PM -0800, Keith Henson wrote:

> Cheaper is what the studies are about. I don't know that anyone has
> proposed a power satellite beam that has any safety concerns, not even
> for birds.

You are missing the point. We already use the spectrum
from DC to daylight to move information, vastly more
data every year. Some life-saving information - routing
emergency vehicles, airport radar, detecting and
intercepting incoming warheads. Half the planet uses
cell phones. Most of the rest would like to.

Learn about radio receiver design. Filters are noisy;
modern radios put a low noise amplifier (LNA) in front
of the first filter stage, to boost signals and minimize
the relative effect of filter-generated thermal noise.

Sadly, low noise amplifiers are slightly nonlinear, and
that nonlinearity mixes unwanted signals into the
desired band, CUBE LAW relative to the strength of the
unwanted interfering signal.

Actually, EVERY circuit is nonlinear; including the
devices (Power FETs? Magnetrons?) that convert generator
or photovoltaic power into microwaves for communication
and radar (or hypothetical powersats).

Increase the power to megawatts for radar, or gigawatts
for SSPS, and inevitably increase the unwanted signal
radiation in other bands.

For most uses, we design the converters to meet strict
limits on out-of-band radiation. Either by generating
"class A" sine waves between DC rails, or by generating
chopped "class C" square waves then filtering the hell
out of them. Class C is more power efficient, but the
filters can be lossy and heavy. Doing a Really Good
filtering job is neither cheap nor energy efficient.

And when you are moving a million times as much power
as a radar, you need a million times better filtering.
Otherwise, you will destroy important uses of the
spectrum.

Such as radar, which you will need to defend your
power satellite from those who get REALLY ANGRY about
your out-of-band emissions in their band, or your high
power main signal blinding their receivers with
intermodulation. If we develop cheap enough launch
technology to loft power satellites, that same launch
technology can launch much cheaper "devices" to convert
power satellites into confetti.

"But my power isn't pointed at you," some will yammer.
"I can focus my power with 150 decibel suppression of
sidelobes." Nope, only with PERFECT zero-error
components, which cost infinite dollars. By the same
"reasoning", I can give you a Really Close Shave with
my cheap Harbor Freight chainsaw.

-----

"Well then", asks a properly skeptical critic of my
AI-at-L1" brainfart, "how do you propose to deliver a
gazillion bits per second over millions of kilometers
to a cloudy Earth?"

"Er, uh," I stammer, "laser communication relays".

Which, frankly, we haven't done much of yet. What we
have done is LIGO, which controls mirrors to "fraction
of a proton diameter" accuracy. Clouds and heat
diffraction will interrupt space-to-surface optical links
often, but not over the entire Earth, all the time.
Someday, a net of millions of laser space-ground links,
with a global net of fiber optics connecting functioning
links to customers anywhere on the Earth.

Perhaps, given with that global capability, we can screw
up microwave-band communications and get away with it.
Until then, be ready to clean up a mess before you make
it. I don't use my power saw before I find the broom.

Keith Henson

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Feb 16, 2024, 3:36:15 AMFeb 16
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On Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 9:03 PM Keith Lofstrom <kei...@keithl.com> wrote:
>
> On Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 2:29 PM Keith Lofstrom <kei...@keithl.com> wrote:
>
> > Could it be ... that broadcasting terawatts of ISM-band microwaves
> > to Earth is a Really BAD Idea, and there are cheaper, safer, and
> > more profitable ways to exploit many EXAWATTS of space solar
> > energy at the collectors, IN SITU ?
>
> On Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 05:20:40PM -0800, Keith Henson wrote:
>
> > Cheaper is what the studies are about. I don't know that anyone has
> > proposed a power satellite beam that has any safety concerns, not even
> > for birds.
>
> You are missing the point. We already use the spectrum
> from DC to daylight to move information, vastly more
> data every year. Some life-saving information - routing
> emergency vehicles, airport radar, detecting and
> intercepting incoming warheads. Half the planet uses
> cell phones. Most of the rest would like to.

NASA is down on power satellites for economic reasons.

I just skimmed their anti-power sat paper but I don't think they
mentioned spectrum interference. Since you are down on them for this
reason, perhaps you should try to convince NASA.

It seems like it would be an easy sell for NASA to have another reason
not to research or build power satellites.

I am fairly sure that power satellites will not happen for at least
ten years. That puts them (most likely) near or beyond the
singularity. After the singularity will power satellites make sense?
When you can grow ground solar like Kudzu? I don't think so.

On the other hand, Sam Altman is talking about $7 trillion for the
next few generations of AI. Among the line items are huge data
centers and GW-scale power plants.

https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/sam-altman-wants-7-trillion

"Energy

"GPT-4 took about 50 gigawatt-hours of energy to train. Using our
scaling factor of 30x, we expect GPT-5 to need 1,500, GPT-6 to need
45,000, and GPT-7 to need 1.3 million.

"Let’s say the training run lasts six months, ie 4,320 hours. That
means GPT-6 will need 10 GW - about half the output of the Three
Gorges Dam, the biggest power plant in the world. GPT-7 will need
fifteen Three Gorges Dams. This isn’t just “the world will need to
produce this much power total and you can buy it”. You need the power
pretty close to your data center. Your best bet here is either to get
an entire pipeline like Nord Stream hooked up to your data center, or
else a fusion reactor. "

Or power satellites configured as data centers. It would eliminate
the NIMBY problem. I should ask GPT-4 what it thinks of putting the
data centers in space. Getting rid of waste heat will be a problem,
but I think I solved that with thermal power satellite radiators which
radiated at 20 deg C.

Perhaps we should generate a proposal for Sam Altman.

KeihtH

james...@aol.com

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Feb 16, 2024, 10:13:03 AMFeb 16
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I always learn from Keith L's emails. However, I often disagree.

The Earth continuously experiences 173,000 TW of solar power across a broad spectrum of EM from a continuously changing source direction. Now, how does the potential of unintentional harmonics from SSP transmission systems designed 20-40 years in the future affect the natural noise environment produced by the Sun? For that matter, how does the leakage from hundreds of million of microwave ovens impact the transmission environment? Will we even use EM for communications in 20-40 years? At what frequencies and modes?

The problems with such questions are twofold. First, the SSP transmission issue cannot be answered until we begin building and testing SSP transmission systems at roughly scale. This will likely be done by people not yet born, or at least not yet in college. Forty years ago, I got my first desktop PC. What tools will they have in a generation or 2 to design the SSP transmission systems?

Second, such questions convey a lackadaisical attitude, in my humble opinion, regarding the criticality of pushing aggressively towards global sustainable energy solutions to avoid global nuclear war over diminishing fossil carbon fuel resources while limiting the progression of atmospheric CO2 to no higher than 500-600 PPM. This is vital issue driving SSP, in my humble opinion.

The priority now is on building the needed extensive astrologistics infrastructure and spacefaring industrialization needed to undertake SSP. This is not being done. It is not being done by NASA nor SpaceX nor New Glenn. If you believe otherwise, show me the plan.

Mike Snead, PE

k.a.c...@sympatico.ca

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Feb 16, 2024, 11:24:57 AMFeb 16
to james...@aol.com, Power Satellite Economics

Jim;

 

You wrote:

 

> The Earth continuously experiences 173,000 TW of solar power across a broad

> spectrum of EM from a continuously changing source direction. Now, how does

> the potential of unintentional harmonics from SSP transmission systems

> designed 20-40 years in the future affect the natural noise environment

> produced by the Sun?

 

While the Sun puts out a lot of EM power, the intensity of that power varies quite a lot with frequency. As this plot shows:

 

6.4 The Solar Spectrum | METEO 300: Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science

the intensity peaks in the visible part of the spectrum, and drops off enormously at microwave wavelengths (2.45 GHz has a wavelength of 0.122 m = 122,000,000 nm, way off the right hand side of that graph). I’d have to do some digging and some analysis to work out the amount of solar power contained within the bandwidth of the carrier wave transmitted from an SPS (depends entirely on how tight a band that beam can be constrained into); but the main point is that the Sun is actually very quiet at microwave frequencies.

 

 

> For that matter, how does the leakage from hundreds of

> million of microwave ovens impact the transmission environment?

 

Microwave ovens are actually pretty well-shielded. From https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/resources-you-radiation-emitting-products/microwave-ovens:

 

A Federal standard (21 CFR 1030.10) limits the amount of microwaves that can leak from an oven throughout its lifetime to 5 milliwatts (mW) of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface. This limit is far below the level known to harm people. Microwave energy also decreases dramatically as you move away from the source of radiation. A measurement made 20 inches from an oven would be approximately 1/100th of the value measured at 2 inches from the oven.

 

At 20 inches from the device, this is much lower than the intensity in the main lobe of an SPS (10-100 mW/cm^2), indeed down to about the intensity of the peak of the first sidelobe for some SPS designs. Once you get a few metres away, it’ll be much lower still.

 

While there are many microwave ovens in the world, they’re pretty widely distributed --- not millions of them sitting side by side. Whereas the microwave radiation in an SPS’s sidelobe would cover many square kilometres. So, the net amount of “stray” radiation (outside the rectenna farm’s safety fence) from an SPS’s sidelobes, at the main microwave transmission frequency, would be quite a bit larger than that from microwave ovens. And as Keith points out, there’d also be some amount of power being radiated from thee SPS at other frequencies, due to harmonics generated in the transmitter --- while the main frequency can be chosen to be in a band that is not used for primary communications applications (e.g., 2.45 GHz or 4.5 GHz, both in Industrial, Science and Medicine Bands), the harmonics would create interference for various users in other primary comms bands.

 

Another point is that the power at the primary frequency, when it hits the Earth, will hit not just the rectenna, but also numerous other structures (because the main beam and its sidelobes cover so much area). And many of those structures (bridges, buildings, transmission towers, etc.) will include conductive parts (which will act as receiving antennas), connected by non-linear conductive joints, which will act as diodes. And, there will be RF sources from other transmitters at other frequencies (the RF spectrum is awash with users) that will also impinge on those. The nonlinear joints will cause the signals from the SPS and the other RF sources to mix (i.e., intermodulate), and then re-radiate at various sum and difference frequencies --- creating interference at even more frequencies.

 

That’s what radio physics tells us. The only way to tell how big an issue this could be, is to build a pilot plant, to investigate these effects at scale. It is entirely plausible that the result will be that SPS’s will create so much RF interference, that humanity will have to choose between getting power from space, and using the RF spectrum for communications --- that would be a very difficult choice, as both applications produce enormous benefits to humanity, and also each support an immense amount of economic activities (and profits). If it comes to that, expect major political fights.

 

Alternately, it’s quite possible that the RF interference issues turn out to be manageable. We need to try it and see (preferably in a remote location, for the first rectenna site).

 

(I don't particularly disagree with your other points.)

 

- Kieran

image001.png

Bryan Zetlen

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Feb 16, 2024, 11:33:22 AMFeb 16
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500-600 ppm CO2 in 20yrs is nearly 40% higher than today - 

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Keith Lofstrom

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Feb 16, 2024, 3:42:18 PMFeb 16
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On Fri, Feb 16, 2024 at 10:12:54AM -0500, jamesmsnead via Power Satellite Economics wrote:
> I always learn from Keith L's emails. However, I often disagree.
>
> The Earth continuously experiences 173,000 TW of solar power across a broad spectrum of EM from a continuously changing source direction. Now, how does the potential of unintentional harmonics from SSP transmission systems designed 20-40 years in the future affect the natural noise environment produced by the Sun? For that matter, how does the leakage from hundreds of million of microwave ovens impact the transmission environment? Will we even use EM for communications in 20-40 years? At what frequencies and modes?

NOT a broad spectrum - a thermal spectrum proportional to
frequency to the fourth power (inverse fourth power of
wavelength) at "low frequencies" like centimeter waves,
and peaking near infrared and visible light (micrometer
waves). Hence the ratio of visible power to microwave
power from the Sun to is approximately (1e4)^4, or
1e16 to 1. Femtowatts of microwaves per square meter.

That is why radio communications works; absent artificial
emitters, the radio/microwave spectrum is damned quiet,
such that a few watts can travel around the globe and still
be detected.

As far as artificial microwaves from ovens are concerned,
those ovens are well shielded, ostensibly for biological
health of the users, but practically speaking to protect
other uses of the microwave spectrum from "hundreds of
millions of microwave ovens" ... which are mostly off,
most of the time.

One particularly nasty "briefly on" mode is if you stop
your microwave oven by opening the door. Properly
designed microwave ovens have an interlock that stops
the magnetron when the door is opened, but poorly
designed ovens will leak some microwave energy through
the slightly open door gap before the interlock takes
effect. A brief burst of a few milliwatt-seconds of
microwave power, near the oven.

This effect caused a seeming "LGM" (Little Green Men)
signal at an Australian radio telescope; astronomers
eventually traced the signal to a mis-operated, cheap
microwave oven in the break room. They chastised the
lazy oven user, and replaced the oven with one that
did NOT leak microwaves, even when mis-operated.

-----

All such phenomena are measurable, often measured, and
well understood. At least, by radio engineers, and
those who admire and pay attention to them.

There are Real Radio Engineers on this list (Tim Cash
is one) and many of us "regular" electronic engineers
took the same radio engineering courses in college.

The ARRL (ham radio) organization prints many up-to-date
books on microwaves, calibrated to the education of
diligent non-professionals; these are a good place to
start learning - if one values learning over uninformed
pontification.

My good friend Dana Whitlow was chief radio engineer at
Arecibo, a few years before the crash. He is now retired,
living near Kerrville Texas, and still fiddles with "home
made" professional grade radio astronomy. Dana's carefully
chosen house is far from town, and at the intersection of
the paths of the 2017 and 2024 eclipses. Dana performs
Moon bounce experiments during totality, measuring very
very small milli-Hertz variations in Doppler frequency
shift in the upper atmosphere.

All that communication and science will go away if we
dump gigawatts of interference into the Earth's radio
environment. This also creates existential risks -
we also use that spectrum for our space probes. Without
those probes, we can't properly explore our Solar System,
and find the infrequent-but-nasty Chixhulub-scale
impactors that can ruin your whole millennium.

-----

If you want to reduce REAL risks, deploy more PROPERLY
DESIGNED nuclear power. About 10% of US power generation
is nuclear fission, and much of the fission fuel is
recycled Soviet warheads, blended down to power-reactor
grade. Note that the same recycling technology can be
used on spent fuel rods; with proper chemical processing,
isotopes can be recycled until they are practically inert.
Read "Plentiful Power" by Till and Chang, about the
integral fast reactor.

BADLY DESIGNED nuclear power, like TEPCO's sea-level
power plants at Fukushima - yeah, DON'T DO THAT. TEPCO
managers chose to lower plant elevation by tens of meters
so that barges could supply the skimpy materials. Sea
walls? Emergency powered sump pumps? Off-site spent
fuel storage? That might cost as much as a dozen manager
salaries.

-----

And that should be a warning to us. We can cut corners,
ignore professional expertise, and build dangerous crap
solar power satellites, with no budget to fix emergent
defects. That's what I see when I look at paper study
SBSP designs. As the SMARTER Japanese engineers say,
"defects are treasures"; they teach you how to DO IT RIGHT.

You don't need to build full scale to find most defects.
You just need to measure the hell out of your prototypes,
and bake the results of that measurement into your design.
For one of my designs, I made 840,000 prototypes, and
measured them for a year. Dozens of correctable errors
emerged from that process.

Sadly, I did not correct the related product marketing
process, and did not earn billions of dollars.

Ah well, if we are semi-honest with ourselves, we have
only ourselves to blame for our current utopia-deficit.

----

james...@aol.com

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Feb 16, 2024, 4:26:26 PMFeb 16
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I've attached the assigned usage chart for the vast frequency spectrum used
for communication and other purposes. It is probably not up to date. Our
utilization of this spectrum for communications has been constantly
changing.

Now, with an assumption of the baseline SSP transmission at 2.45 GHz, what
frequencies do the harmonics interfere with and what is the long-term
consequence of that?

======

"If you want to reduce REAL risks, deploy more PROPERLY DESIGNED nuclear
power. About 10% of US power generation is nuclear fission, and much of the
fission fuel is recycled Soviet warheads, blended down to power-reactor
grade. Note that the same recycling technology can be used on spent fuel
rods; with proper chemical processing, isotopes can be recycled until they
are practically inert.
Read "Plentiful Power" by Till and Chang, about the integral fast reactor."

The world will need roughly 80,000 GWe of equivalent continuous primary
electrical power to "go clean" with baseload nuclear fission power. This is
what an EU middle-class standard of living-not the US standard of
living-requires to provide everyone with the opportunity to achieve EU
middle class prosperity.

Each nuclear fission GWe-year requires about 1.4 tonnes of fissile fuel per
year. This means that roughly 112,000 tonnes of plutonium or U-233 must be
bred each year with a varying portion of this, depending on the fuel cycle,
ending up as high-level nuclear waste. Where does that waste go? Where do
the retired reactors go? How is nuclear weapon proliferation prevented? How
are terrorist threats prevented? What probabilistic level of failure do you
design to over what span of time? What consequence of failure is deemed
acceptable?

The Shippingport Atomic Power Station's used a 60-MWe breeding reactor. The
reactor was originally built for a US aircraft carrier. Instead, it was used
to build the power plant. The effort began in 1956 and the plant was
decommissioned in 1982. The reactor was modified twice to enable it to breed
plutonium and U-233. In this, it was deemed successful. Today, this would be
considered a micro-reactor.

For decommissioning, the reactor was removed from the site. For transport,
the packaged reactor weighed nearly 1000 metric tonnes. It was transported
by sea.

======

A true spacefaring nation, capable of building the tens of thousands of GEO
SSP platforms needed by 2100 will not have any difficulty in conducting a
scientific investigation of the solar system and universe with far greater
capability than can ever be done from the ground. The Webb telescope already
shows this.

Thus, what is the real opposition to SSP? Some imagined loss of current-day
comm? How much 1990s comm are we still using?

Mike Snead, PE


-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Lofstrom <kei...@keithl.com>
january_2016_spectrum_wall_chart Dept of Commerce wavelength frequency allocation.jpg
Shippingport-nulcear-power-plant-reactor-being-delivered-in-1956-US-Gov-1192.jpg

james...@aol.com

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Feb 16, 2024, 4:42:49 PMFeb 16
to k.a.c...@sympatico.ca, Power Satellite Economics

Thank you for this additional information on microwave ovens.

 

Such RF interference issues/considerations are secondary, IMO, to the primary issue I raised about global peace and prosperity in a time of diminishing fossil carbon fuel resources and a rising atmospheric CO2 level.

 

If we had to go back to hard-wired phones (now fiber-connected like I still have) and lose wireless outside-the-house comm, is that tragic? Everyone would still have Wi-Fi inside everywhere? They would still have AM/FM in the cars?

 

Those that argue for the priority of wireless comm over SSP must propose a quantitative-based, scalable, practicable, global sustainable energy solution that enables a peaceful world by 2100. Terrestrial renewables can’t do it. I explained why nuclear fission can’t. We are left with SSP.

 

Attached is a map showing the land area needed for global SSP in 2100. Is RF interference really an issue?

 

Mike Snead, PE

image001.png
Global astroelectric plant land area needed map.png

james...@aol.com

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Feb 16, 2024, 4:58:03 PMFeb 16
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The world needs an orderly transition to sustainable energy for some 10 billion by 2100. Fossil carbon fuels will continue to be our primary energy source while we transition. Thus, we will continue to emit CO2. (The cycle time of CO2 molecules out of the air into the ocean is about 16 years or so based on C-14 measurements from the above ground atomic tests.)

 

CO2 levels below about 225 PPM are dangerous as plants begin to die. (The last 8 periods of glaciation came very close to plant CO2 death levels.)  

 

CO2 near 1000 PPM appears to have measurable harmful effects on humans.

 

My assumption is that limiting the level of 500-600 ppm, with good engineering, will provide a buffer on both sides against levels that would be harmful. This however highlights the need to aggressively pursue SSP. It does no good to try to limit today’s CO2 emissions, through draconian regulations, without undertaking an orderly transition to global sustainable energy sufficient to give everyone a prosperous middle-class standard of living. Folks will resist such efforts as we are now seeing. The “Green New Deal” people just don’t understand this (or ignore this for political reasons) as they push ineffective wind and ground solar power or the illusion of peaceful nuclear fission power.

 

Mike Snead, PE

k.a.c...@sympatico.ca

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Feb 16, 2024, 4:59:55 PMFeb 16
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Jim;

 

I quite agree that there would be many benefits to putting in place lots of SPS’s. They might even help put a dent in the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere, and certainly many people would think that a good thing (to put it in the mildest terms possible).

 

It is also obvious the all of the useable RF spectrum is in heavy use, all over the world, for a great many applications. Many people would oppose having to give up “their” RF application(s) --- just as many people don’t give a fig about global warming. In particular, many of the RF applications have huge capital investments tied up in them, and are huge money-makers for the shareholders of the companies involved, the directors of which would have a fiduciary duty to oppose by any means possible (e.g., via lobbying politicians, and (in the USA) bribing them outright (via PACs)) any attempt to allow SPS’s that would interfere with their commercial comms applications.

 

So, there’d be a fight. Lots of fights, really.

 

Now, maybe the SPS proponents would win those fights. Maybe not. The fact is that the current RF-based commercial operations have lots of money to spend, and SPS proponents have virtually none, and in court cases (as in political contests) the rich pretty much always win.

 

SPS proponents would have a much better chance of winning the fights, if they had some evidence regarding the actual sort of RF interference that SPS’s would cause. Which is why a crucial first step is to put in place a pilot-plant SPS in orbit, and rectenna farm on the ground, to conduct RF interference tests. (Also to investigate the extent to which local wildlife is affected by the microwave beam --- another environmental issue that cannot be hand-waved away, but hopefully will turn out to be OK once evidence has been gathered.) This is a good and noble goal for governments to undertake.

 

- Kieran

image001.png

Robert Poor

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Feb 16, 2024, 7:15:33 PMFeb 16
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Mike Snead made a passing reference to "global sustainable energy solutions to avoid global nuclear war over diminishing fossil carbon fuel resources" which caught my attention.

I've come to understand that the major blockers to any new technology is (rarely) the technology itself, but rather policy and politics.  Consider how many wars have been fought for the simple purpose of maintaining access to oil.  (We may be in for similar skirmishes over access to lithium in the near future until we find cheap, globally abundant alternatives.  Happily, that seems to be happening already.)

But my point is this: if we build SSPS, who owns it?  Who gets to control it?  There will be tremendous pressure to be the geopolitical efforts to be the nation that controls it (even if that nation didn't build it). 

Related: Mike also posted a graphic suggesting 1.3 M km^2 of earth surface area would be required for SSPS, though it didn't show the target output. 

If I had 1.3M km^2 in which to build solar farms, how much energy could I produce every day (especially if that was near the equator, as shown in Mike's graphic)?  Solar insolation is ~ 4 kW-h / square meter per day.  WIth a 25% efficient solar collector, we capture 1 kW-h / square meter.  Build out 1.3M km^2 and we'll collect 1300 TW-h daily. 

Can Mike or someone tell me how that compares with 1.3 M km^2 of SSPS collectors?

Touching back on the first point, solar farms are fully decentralized; they can be built, owned and operated within a country's borders, so they're not beholden to some other country (assuming the solar panels are available, etc.). Giving a country that kind of autonomy and sovereignty is a good hedge against geopolitical conflict.

- rdp


Keith Henson

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Feb 17, 2024, 3:33:52 AMFeb 17
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On Fri, Feb 16, 2024 at 4:15 PM Robert Poor <rdp...@gmail.com> wrote:

snip

> But my point is this: if we build SSPS, who owns it? Who gets to control it? There will be tremendous pressure to be the geopolitical efforts to be the nation that controls it (even if that nation didn't build it).

I have presumed that the utility or group of utilities owns and
controls tha power satellites. If they are constructed at 5 GW,
that's a little large for one utility. There are 4 or 5 owners of the
Palo Verde nuclear generating station. If things develop that far,
there will be hot spares in the case of a catastrophic failure.

> Related: Mike also posted a graphic suggesting 1.3 M km^2 of earth surface area would be required for SSPS, though it didn't show the target output.
>
> If I had 1.3M km^2 in which to build solar farms, how much energy could I produce every day (especially if that was near the equator, as shown in Mike's graphic)? Solar insolation is ~ 4 kW-h / square meter per day. WIth a 25% efficient solar collector, we capture 1 kW-h / square meter. Build out 1.3M km^2 and we'll collect 1300 TW-h daily.

You miss the point of SBSP, the energy production is 24/7 so no
storage is needed.

> Can Mike or someone tell me how that compares with 1.3 M km^2 of SSPS collectors?

In a good location the center of a rectenna collects about the same
peak as PV, but rectenna does it all the time not just when you have
sunlight.
>
> Touching back on the first point, solar farms are fully decentralized; they can be built, owned and operated within a country's borders, so they're not beholden to some other country (assuming the solar panels are available, etc.).

When the numbers are worked out, I think thermal type power satellites
will come out better. Thermal systems do not degrade from radiation
and PV takes twice as much area as thermal systems which takes more
radiation pressure station keeping.

> Giving a country that kind of autonomy and sovereignty is a good hedge against geopolitical conflict.

Depends on how cloudy it gets and how much storage you can afford.

Keith

> - rdp
>
>

Bryan Zetlen

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Keith
Who owns public utilities or private utilities? Rights of way? The orbital version of riparian rights? Will there be claim jumping? Currently ITU and national versions of the FCC ‘own’ spectrum to the extent they can control and auction spectrum. Will U.S. be the Wild West like the North Pole with mineral extraction up for grabs despite ‘treaties’? As with utilities, my guess is there will be many versions of utility inter-ties, electric cooperatives and most of all, leasing and squabbling and battles over transmission rights. 

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james...@aol.com

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I go into detail on my quantitative estimates for the US in a four-part article at the Space Review in 2022. Here is a kindly published list of my Space Review articles: https://muckrack.com/mike-snead/articles

 

My world estimate is based on 10 billion people having a 2019 EU per person energy use of entirely sustainable energy—a combination of clean electrical power and clean CO2-neutral carbon fuels. Essentially, this means having the same standard of living as today but just using clean energy. There is no need for some “Great Reset”.

 

In the attached table, to “go clean” for the EU in 2019, 6.8 kWe of continuous primary clean electrical baseload power is needed per person. If this is instead intermittent wind or ground solar, this increases to 9 kWe per person. Thus, for 10 billion in 2100, between 68,000 GWe continuous and 90,000 GWe continuous is needed.

 

My approach requires roughly 80,000 GWe of primary clean electrical power. I divide this between 80 percent coming from space solar power-supplied astroelectricity and 20 percent coming from ground solar power.

 

With this “mix”, the ground area needed for the astroelectric rectennas, the 2.3 million km2 shown in the attached illustration, is also used for the ground solar farms, assuming this is possible.

 

(The attached image is my current estimate. I sent the wrong one with the earlier message. I continually update my model and calculations. The difference with the updated model is that I now have more refined estimates of the input primary clean electrical energy needed to produce the clean carbon fuels.)

 

To meet this energy need with just ground solar farms would require about 1.5 Australia’s covered in solar farms. With wind farms, over two Africa’s covered in wind farms would be needed. I consider both of these to not be practicable, especially as the ground solar competes with farmland.

 

Of course, people at the local, state, or national level can build whatever they wish in terms of green renewable energy. The point of my assessment is to establish an understanding of the scale needed to enable everyone by 2100 to have a prosperous middle-class standard of living not imperiled by energy impoverishment caused by a declining supply of affordable fossil carbon fuels.

 

In my model, 11,200 globally dispersed 5-GWe baseload astroelectric plants would provide regional electrical power. A global network of pipelines and ocean transport would globally deliver clean carbon fuels, produced from this baseload astroelectricity, to meet all energy needs regardless of where one lives, just as is done today. The on-site ground solar farms augment the baseload power as time-of-day and weather permits. Of course, other renewable energy sources and, likely, some modest measure of secondary nuclear electrical power (for robustness) will be used.

 

For America, it is important to understand that, CURRENTLY, the US uses 2.4X the EU per person energy use. (For this reason, I did not use the US value as the 2100 baseline.) Thus, the US would disproportionally need to build more SSP per person than most everyone else. HOWEVER, this then raises trading off the cost of building SSP vs cost of rebuilding the US. In my book, Astroelectricity, I argue that advancements of AI, robotic construction workers, 3D printing, and other related advances, combined with low-cost renewable power, will enable most of America today to be deconstructed and rebuilt by 2100. Thus, instead of building 2.4X SSP per person, much of that investment will go into rebuilding America, literally from the ground up. This will also happen globally.

 

For multiple generations through 2100, especially as AI displays many in the current workforce, Americans will turn to redesigning, deconstructing, and rebuilding America. Robotic construction workers, 3D printing, and many other related advances will substantially increase the economic output per human hour of effort for this deconstruction and rebuilding. Thus, the cost of this rebuilding per unit of output will dramatically fall—as has happened in all forms of technology-enhanced human effort starting with agriculture. The substantial increase in scale of work to be undertaken will require more higher-paid architectural, engineering, manufacturing, and construction workers. Globally, this will have comparable results.

 

There is no reason why, by 2100, America cannot be a bright, new nation, built to 22nd century standards while using dramatically less clean energy per person. It is simply a matter of understanding the true potential of space solar power.

 

Mike Snead, PE

Snead 2023 estimate of global 2100 clean energy solution using SSP.png
EU Table 2019 per person green energy need using hydrogen and methane 20220822.png

Keith Henson

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On Sat, Feb 17, 2024 at 10:02 AM Tim Cash <cash...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Why not just start a private foundation for space solar power for the expressed purpose of a megawatt class demonstration powersat in GEO space.

The physics does not work, Tim, you should know that. GW to MW is a
thousand to one, the energy level in the middle of the rectenna (all
but power kept the same) would be half a watt per m^2 which is
entirely worthless. It's not even though to forward bias the rectenna
diodes making the output zero.

> I recommend getting well endowed financial backers, Musk, Bezos, Gates, Buffet, etc as financial backers to execute this goal. I would gladly run the project engineering, full time. When we then demonstrate successful received power on ground grid(s), then no one, I repeat no one can deny our. success. This is the required first step for anyone, everyone to demonstrate success.

A MW will not do anything useful. Sorry.

> We should get everyone working hard to demonstrate wireless power beaming as backers of this demonstration, as this group replaces NASA and/or DOE as the responsible backer in the USA.
> I cannot imagine a better method to convince others of the viability of this project and obviate the need for NASA or DOE approval.

A MW in GEO is not going to help. Microwave optics make starting
small impossible.

Keith

> Timothy Cash
> cash...@gmail.com
>
> On Sat, Feb 17, 2024, 9:04 AM Peter Garretson <budo...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> I think the key in this case is to get arguments like mine, and those who share mine to the vice president in the climate staffs, so that become aware that there is such a thing as space, solar power, but others are pursuing it worldwide, and they begin to question NASA, the department of energy, the Department of commerce about why the United States is not leading.
>>
>> I could very much use your help and amplifying the message and ensuring that the OpEd gets to the right people in the administration, Congress, and those developing the platform for the next administrations.
>>
>> On Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 16:58 Dale L. Skran LLC <dalels...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> All -
>>>
>>> Just so it cannot be said that I reflexively oppose Mike Snead on all matters, I am in great agreement with him
>>> on his views concerning the recent dreadful NASA SPS report.
>>>
>>> I am fired up to fight back, and I hope that you all are as well. When your opponents resort to this kind of disingenuous
>>> tractic, you know you are on to something.
>>>
>>> Best Regards,
>>> Dale Skran
>>>
>>> On Wed, Feb 14, 2024 at 10:23 AM <james...@aol.com> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> My thanks to Peter for publishing this opinion article.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> It is time to recognize, like watching the most recent Indiana Jones movie, that the “good old days” of NASA are long gone. It is now a bungling bureaucratic obstacle to advancing America’s self-interests in human spaceflight.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>

Keith Henson

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On Sat, Feb 17, 2024 at 9:00 AM Bryan Zetlen <br...@virtussolis.space> wrote:
>
> Keith
> Who owns public utilities or private utilities?

At present in the US, there is a mix.

Rights of way? The orbital version of riparian rights? Will there be
claim jumping?

I don't understand your analogies. There are problems if you get too
many power satellites with shading around 6 am and 6 pm. A rather
slight tilt to the orbits avoids the problem. I have no idea what you
might mean by claim jumping. We have lots of comm sats in GEO and as
far as I know, they have not been stolen.

> Currently ITU and national versions of the FCC ‘own’ spectrum to the extent they can control and auction spectrum.

Power satellites don't use spectrum the same way communication
satellites do. There will be one or a few frequencies used.

> Will U.S. be the Wild West like the North Pole with mineral extraction up for grabs despite ‘treaties’?

The North Pole is over several thousand feet of water. Perhaps you
are thinking of Antarctica, As far as I know, there is no mineral
extraction going on there at all.

> As with utilities, my guess is there will be many versions of utility inter-ties, electric cooperatives and most of all, leasing and squabbling and battles over transmission rights.

One power beam from GEO does not block another.

Keith

Keith Henson

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Feb 17, 2024, 4:18:15 PMFeb 17
to james...@aol.com, Robert Poor, Keith Lofstrom, Power Satellite Economics, Peter Garretson, Howard Bloom, 847lov...@gmail.com, Al Globus, Anita Gale, Anna Nesterova, Ben Shelef, Bill Gardner, Bill Gardner, Bruce Mackenzie, Bruce Pittman, Chris Carberry, Christopher Jannette, David Livingston, David Livingston, Don Flournoy, Don Flournoy, Elizabeth Kennick, Feng Hsu, Feng Hsu, Gary Barnhard, Gerry Black, Greg Allison, JIM HURD, James Boyd, James Oberg, Jason Louv, Jeffrey Liss, Jeroen Lapre, Jerome Glenn, Jim Armor, Joe Champion, Joe Rauscher, John Jossy, John Spencer, John Strickland, Karen Shea, Kirk Woellert, Lonnie Schorer, Louis Grenier, Lynne Zielinski, Margo Deckard, Mark Sonter, Nicola Sarzi Amade, Paul Damphousse, Richard Godwin, Rob shapiro, Roger Harrison, Sam Coniglio, Sidney Nakahodo, Stephen Leete, Steve Nixon, Steven Wolfe, Trent Waddington, Will Watson, a.p.k...@astrox.com, aggie kobrin, amara angelica, andrew lindberg, bill gowan, camilla sedov, comp...@gmail.com, dale skran, david ho, david.c...@gmail.com, dennis wingo, denni...@gmail.com, dougsp...@gmail.com, ericm...@factualfiction.com, fred becker, gabriela, gabriela, genemey...@icloud.com, giulio Prisco, hank haliasz, harold...@verizon.net, hicou...@aol.com, j.d...@gmail.com, james gholston, jgl...@aol.com, john rutledge, jon labore, kris holland, lauren wilson, leonard david, lorigor...@gmail.com, lucia chavirar, nancy atkinson, paul werbos, rezaz zekavat, rick boozer, rick tumlinson, rick zucker, rob furey, rocket...@gmail.com, sam spencer, s...@etiam-engineering.com, sara.a...@seds.org, ste...@blacksky.network, steve kwast, stewart atkinson, tim cash
On Sat, Feb 17, 2024 at 9:09 AM <james...@aol.com> wrote:
>
snip

> In my model, 11,200

That's getting close to the capacity of GEO. I think G. Harry Stine
estimated 17,000. Further, the slots over oceans are not so useful.
Depends on what angle a rectenna can tolerate. There are a few islands
out in the middle of the ocean that could be covered with rectennas
and used for things like aluminum smelters which have heavy power
demands. The conflict there would be cooking birds if the rectennas
overlapped.

> globally dispersed 5-GWe baseload astroelectric plants would provide regional electrical power. A global network of pipelines and ocean transport would globally deliver clean carbon fuels, produced from this baseload astroelectricity, to meet all energy needs regardless of where one lives, just as is done today. The on-site ground solar farms augment the baseload power as time-of-day and weather permits. Of course, other renewable energy sources and, likely, some modest measure of secondary nuclear electrical power (for robustness) will be used.
>
This gets kind of tricky. For part of the year, the Palo Verde plant
has no market for the power they generate.

Keith

Bryan Zetlen

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Feb 17, 2024, 4:20:39 PMFeb 17
to Ed Tate, Francois Lambert, Keith Henson, Power Satellite Economics
Thanks for responding Keith, but perhaps you didn’t quite understand my hypotheticals? For example both poles are signatories to treaties barring private profit extraction or exploitation activities and  no weapons systems or defense installations. The Antarctic Treaty  dating from the 50s. As for space treaties, a prime example would be attempts to create a North Pole Treaty. Closing the barn doors after the horses are out. The only significant attempts at treaty developments are based on international Law of the Sea agreements. The North Pole and surrounding areas have literally hundreds of petroleum test bores. My point had nothing to do with those operations - only with our lack of realistic jurisdictional, spectrum and flight path and orbital slot in the current planning to launch 10s of 1,000s of equatorial and inclined orbits sats into LEO and MEO. Re: ‘claim jumping’ for the present and  ONLY the NEAR future this has been a persistent issue in GSO space. It’s not about ‘stolen’ satellites, it’s about deliberate and unintentional interference and worse yet aggressive crowding. I don’t know what you mean about ‘no claim jumping. First Soviet, now Russian GEOsats have crowded and near collided with our military assets and with commercial geosats. More recently the Chinese have enthusiastically engaged in similar deliberate aggression. It’s commonplace. The ITU is forced to try to resolve frequency coordination and power interference issues every day. That’s a large part of space law bread and butter. As for your power density and efficiency calculations and numbers, I’ve no reason to dispute or concur so long as numbers aren’t based on conclusions and assumptions, both of which you seem to be fond of. New territories and new potential commercial enterprises anywhere and everywhere from sea floor to land rush days to real estate to near earth and planetary space present new opportunities for investment. These activities also and always generate questionable scams, moral and ethical issues and legal conflicts. Space is no different. That was the basis for my comments. In general I enjoy your posts. 

k.a.c...@sympatico.ca

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Feb 17, 2024, 4:27:06 PMFeb 17
to Keith Henson, power-satell...@googlegroups.com

(removing the cc: to 91 other people, to avoid bugging them...if they're interested in these discussions, they should join the mailing list 😊

 

KeithH wrote:)

 

> On Sat, Feb 17, 2024 at 10:02 AM Tim Cash <cash...@gmail.com> wrote:

> >

> > Why not just start a private foundation for space solar power for the

> expressed purpose of a megawatt class demonstration powersat in GEO space.

>

> The physics does not work, Tim, you should know that.  GW to MW is a

> thousand to one, the energy level in the middle of the rectenna (all but power

> kept the same) would be half a watt per m^2 which is entirely worthless.  It's

> not even though to forward bias the rectenna diodes making the output zero.

 

That's true if you use the "classic" rectenna design, with one rectifier per diode.

 

IIRC, I think it was from the designers of the Canadian SHARP microwave powered aircraft project of the 1980s (Joe Schlesak and Adrian Alden, the latter of whom taught a small group of us at the Canadian Space Society how to build his rectenna-printed-on-thin-film-mylar design), that I was told that you can have multiple dipoles (or other types of antenna elements) sharing a single rectifier --- connect n dipoles in series, with one diode for the set. This allows you to harvest power efficiently in a lower-power-flux-density field. If you know what the PFD is at a particular location on the ground (and assuming that the PFD will be constant there), then you choose the value of n for that location. I *think* this may have been part of Bill Brown's strategy for general rectenna-farm design --- out near the edges of the farm, where the PFD is tapering off, gang multiple diodes together.

 

There is another approach that I came up with years ago (and maybe should have patented, but incautiously disclosed here some time ago, so patenting is no longer an option): use an *active* rectifier instead of a passive one, using a driven FET to do the rectification instead of a diode. This eliminates the diode drop entirely, as there's no voltage drop across a FET when its gate is open. It does take some current to repeatedly open and close the FET's gate (basically the charge needed to open the gate, multiplied by the beam frequency --- filling and draining the gate capacitor 2.45 billion times a second); I have a vague concept for a resonant circuit design for doing that, so that the current isn't just wasted by draining it to ground, but is bounced back and forth between the gate and a coil. I'm not enough of an EE to design that circuit and run the numbers on it, but perhaps it would result in less loss than the diode drop. And in principle, it could allow extraction of power from a *very* low PFD field (particularly if combined with the ganging-up-dipoles trick).

 

That's what I've had in the back of my mind for some years now, for an initial few-MW-scale SPS pilot plant.

 

- Kieran

 

 

Keith Henson

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Feb 17, 2024, 5:43:11 PMFeb 17
to Bryan Zetlen, Ed Tate, Francois Lambert, Power Satellite Economics
On Sat, Feb 17, 2024 at 1:20 PM Bryan Zetlen <br...@virtussolis.space> wrote:
>
> Thanks for responding Keith, but perhaps you didn’t quite understand my hypotheticals? For example both poles are signatories to treaties barring private profit extraction or exploitation activities and no weapons systems or defense installations. The Antarctic Treaty dating from the 50s. As for space treaties, a prime example would be attempts to create a North Pole Treaty. Closing the barn doors after the horses are out. The only significant attempts at treaty developments are based on international Law of the Sea agreements.

I know a fair amount about the Law of the Sea. The US never signed it
and some people say it was due to the failure of the Moon Treaty which
the L5 Society successfully opposed. Leigh Ratiner was involved with
both. The North Pole would fall under the Law of the Sea if anyone
wanted it.

> The North Pole and surrounding areas have literally hundreds of petroleum test bores.

Can you cite an article? I am familiar with the oil deposits in
Alaska, but trying to drill near the North Pole in drifting pack ice
seems like engineering too far. On the other hand, I don't know
everything so if you have a report of drilling for oil at the North
Pole, I would be very interested, particularly in how they did it.

> My point had nothing to do with those operations - only with our lack of realistic jurisdictional, spectrum and flight path and orbital slot in the current planning to launch 10s of 1,000s of equatorial and inclined orbits sats into LEO and MEO.

Wait a minute here. LEO already has tens of thousands, mostly
Starlink. MEO has GPS and a few others.

> Re: ‘claim jumping’ for the present and ONLY the NEAR future this has been a persistent issue in GSO space. It’s not about ‘stolen’ satellites, it’s about deliberate and unintentional interference and worse yet aggressive crowding. I don’t know what you mean about ‘no claim jumping. First Soviet, now Russian GEOsats have crowded and near collided with our military assets and with commercial geosats.

This would apply to power satellites as well. But destroying a power
satellite would probably get the same reaction as destroying a ground
based power plant, i.e., start a major war.

More recently the Chinese have enthusiastically engaged in similar
deliberate aggression. It’s commonplace. The ITU is forced to try to
resolve frequency coordination and power interference issues every
day. That’s a large part of space law bread and butter. As for your
power density and efficiency calculations and numbers, I’ve no reason
to dispute or concur so long as numbers aren’t based on conclusions
and assumptions,

Based on physics. Diffraction has been understood for a couple of
hundred years. If someone has a way to get around diffraction, their
fortune is made because it is the biggest problem with semiconductor
production.

> both of which you seem to be fond of. New territories and new potential commercial enterprises anywhere and everywhere from sea floor to land rush days to real estate to near earth and planetary space present new opportunities for investment. These activities also and always generate questionable scams, moral and ethical issues and legal conflicts. Space is no different.

AI is changing the whole background of human interactions. For better
or for worse? Time will tell.

Keith

Bryan Zetlen

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Feb 17, 2024, 6:25:48 PMFeb 17
to Keith Henson, Ed Tate, Francois Lambert, Power Satellite Economics
Keith this is a good survey on oil prospecting at the North Pole. >>
Another factual article on arctic oil exploration. You’re correct about the almost insurmountable constraints involved in drilling for anything on the sea ice over the pole but oil and gas deposits have been identified on land sites all the way around the pole. 
The so-called Law of the Sea was loosely based on centuries old British Admiralty Law.  We call it Maritime Law. One of the reasons US didn’t join or subscribe was the distinct likelihood that new precedents or law  might be introduced that would conflict or modify existing Maritime laws. Traditionally, if that’s the appropriate use of the word are Scandinavia, Greenland, Russia and U.S. If I recall we have the least adjacent territories. China is going to be claiming their own brand of sovereignty over territories in space. Heaven knows what they’re claiming. In the meantime, and to your point about 1,000s and soon 10,000s of satellites in MEO/LEO, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or even a rocket engineer) to predict thousands of territorial, frequency and infringement lawsuits. 

k.a.c...@sympatico.ca

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Feb 17, 2024, 6:38:39 PMFeb 17
to Bryan Zetlen, Keith Henson, Power Satellite Economics

Bryan;

 

You wrote:

 

Traditionally, if that’s the appropriate use of the word are Scandinavia, Greenland, Russia and U.S. If I recall we have the least adjacent territories.

 

I assume you’re talking about the countries adjacent to the North Pole, which have a LotS claim to areas of the Arctic Ocean. In which case you’ve left one out 😊. (I’m Canadian.)

 

Canada too has a claim to the arctic. I have a friend who was a government geologist, who spent the last few years of her career helping to assemble the dossier that the Canadian government is using to press that claim --- basically mapping the seafloor, since in the arcane world of the LotS, economic claims are based on how far out the “continental shelf” reaches from a country. As it happens there’s a subsea ridge pretty much connecting Canada to Russia under the Arctic Ocean; on that basis the Russians are claiming that their “continental shelf” extends all the way from Russia to Canada, and hence the entire Arctic is theirs. Canada begs to disagree…

 

Seems kinda silly, except for all the money to be made by drilling for oil & gas up there. It’s certainly absurd. But that’s the result of all parties following an essentially bureaucratic process tied to legal treaties. Better than sending gunships up there to fight it out, like in the old days.

 

- Kieran

 

 


Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2024 6:26 PM
To: Keith Henson <hkeith...@gmail.com>

Cc: Ed Tate <e...@virtussolis.space>; Francois Lambert <fla...@orbitalreach.space>; Power Satellite Economics <power-satell...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: Better ways to use space solar power? Re: Criticizing NASA ... report

 

Keith this is a good survey on oil prospecting at the North Pole. >>

Keith Henson

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Feb 17, 2024, 11:29:38 PMFeb 17