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Solar Power Satellites (split from SpaceX)


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21 hours ago, Selective Genius said:

Solar Power Satellites

We have oil companies who won't let that happen. And not everyone would be thrilled about potential microwave death beams floating above their heads.

Solar power satellites also aren't that practical for many reasons. 

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14 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

I read somewhere that making an Orbital ring (Bishop's ring) for easy access to space can be done on the cheap, with just an expendable Falcon Heavy.

No, that seems extremely unlikely. Unlikely even with SS, actually. I mean it's possible to bring up mass from Earth, but crazy.

Any space construction on that level needs asteroid mining IMO.

14 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

I wont mind if Elon starts building Solar Power Satellites.. He would literally be a trillionaire if  he does that. More money in his pocket, more cash for Mars colonization, less time for his ascension as the First Martian Overlord.

 

6 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

Solar power satellites also aren't that practical for many reasons. 

There was a talk on youtube that was posted here a few years ago (guy at Caltech) regarding double-sided photovoltaics that also had built-in microwave transmitters. They've done experiments and they think they can get the beamed power to Earth for a price that might interest the military for remote stations (like the arctic). It was still like 10X more expensive than regular power production, mind you, but it had some specific use case—the costs were predicated on launching the things with Atlas V, however. So regular prices close if launch costs are just 10X lower than Atlas V (much less 100-1000X less.

That's from memory, so I might have the numbers wrong.

 

Edited by tater
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Just now, SpaceFace545 said:

We have oil companies who won't let that happen. And not everyone would be thrilled about potential microwave death beams floating above their heads.

Your  phones also use microwaves, same frequencies as the one in your oven. A SPS wont be a death star ray, it would make the birds slightly uncomfortable, but thats about it. There was a NASA study about the societal impacts of Solar power satelllites when they were a thing in the 90s, when oil was projected to run out soon. Lemme see if i can find it.

Fossil fuel WILL run out, one day or the other. Would you rather wait for that calamity to happen or be proactive? Those companies protested the current renewables too a few decades ago, laughing them off, but look where we are now. I mean, if you want a carbon catastrophe then i dunno... to each their own i guess.

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14 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

I wont mind if Elon starts building Solar Power Satellites..

There really isn't any compelling economic reason to put them in space. Regular terrestrial solar power is already very good for power generation.

Besides, Musk is CEO of a certain high profile company that already sells solar panels so not sure he is eager for SpaceX to compete with Tesla.

10 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

We have oil companies who won't let that happen.

The transition to renewable energy is already happening right now, no oil company can stop it.

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12 minutes ago, tater said:

There was a talk on youtube that was posted here a few years ago (guy at Caltech) regarding double-sided photovoltaics that also had built-in microwave transmitters. They've done experiments and they think they can get the beamed power to Earth for a price that might interest the military for remote stations (like the arctic). It was still like 10X more expensive than regular power production, mind you, but it had some specific use case—the costs were predicated on launching the things with Atlas V, however. So regular prices close if launch costs are just 10X lower than Atlas V (much less 100-1000X less.

That's from memory, so I might have the numbers wrong.

I'll look into this. Space based solar definitely has its merits but I think the downfall is the relatively quick degradation of solar panels in space. Maybe the better option would be solar thermal power stations in space.

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2 minutes ago, southernplain said:

There really isn't any compelling economic reason to put them in space. Regular terrestrial solar power is already very good for power generation.

Besides, Musk is CEO of a certain high profile company that already sells solar panels so not sure he is eager for SpaceX to compete with Tesla.

There are places where solar is not terribly effective due to low insolation.

The lecture about is interesting since he gets the cost per kWh at $2.55 using what he has in his lab now, and they think $1.77 was easily done (this is based on mass reduction per unit area since the cost driver here is actually the launch cost in the ~$15k/kg range).

If the launch cost is 100X less... That's pretty competitive on price.

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6 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

when oil was projected to run out soon. Lemme see if i can find it.

Totally, we are dangerously close to running out but space based solar isn't the answer. And I would rather not give away my utilities to musk for personal reasons (he is a really scummy business man and his companies are really scummy when it comes to client relations). The better option would be traditionally renewables minus hydro dams (save the salmon) plus nuclear and LNG.

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1 minute ago, SpaceFace545 said:

I'll look into this. Space based solar definitely has its merits but I think the downfall is the relatively quick degradation of solar panels in space. Maybe the better option would be solar thermal power stations in space.

It's a good lecture. Space based solar (beamed) was very much a dead idea, just not worth it. This looks far more plausible.

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8 minutes ago, tater said:

No, that seems extremely unlikely

Yeah true. The mass to orbit is okay, but the technology consisted of a steady stream of magnetic 'pebbles'. God knows what calamity awaits if those pebbles get side tracked. A Kessler Event would be the least of our worries.

9 minutes ago, tater said:

Unlikely even with SS, actually. I mean it's possible to bring up mass from Earth, but crazy.

The idea of landing Saturn-V class boosters was considered insane too, :) But look where we are now.

10 minutes ago, tater said:

Any space construction on that level needs asteroid mining IMO.

In my opinion, it is much cheaper, both delta-v and complexities of construction involved, to manufacture components on earth and then Starship them to space then extracting metals and purifying them in a zero-g environment and then drag those back to earth orbit for complex manufacturing.

13 minutes ago, tater said:

There was a talk on youtube that was posted here a few years ago (guy at Caltech) regarding double-sided photovoltaics that also had built-in microwave transmitters.

There was a proposal to not use PV at all, rather use the solar heat power a molten salt turbine to generate electricity much like a solar kiln. The molten salt could also store the excess heat for powering the turbines  when the solar power satellite is not receiving any solar radiation. That is so much more mass-efficient and energy-efficient compared to PVs.

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Just now, tater said:

There are places where solar is not terribly effective due to low insolation.

Sure, but the vast majority of human populations live in locations where insolation is just fine.

Just now, tater said:

If the launch cost is 100X less... That's pretty competitive on price.

Maybe, but regular terrestrial solar is forecasted to hit as low as $0.01-$0.03/kWh by the end of this decade. And it isn't in space. 

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Just now, Selective Genius said:

God knows what calamity awaits if those pebbles get side tracked. A Kessler Event would be the least of our worries.

Cough cough Starlin, cough kuiper, cough cough one web, cough.

29 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

I read somewhere that making an Orbital ring (Bishop's ring) for easy access to space can be done on the cheap

I'd rather not have a ring above my head. I like to see a nice dark sky at night. Not a ring. And imagine that shadow. 

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Just now, southernplain said:

Maybe, but regular terrestrial solar is forecasted to hit as low as $0.01-$0.03/kWh by the end of this decade. And it isn't in space. 

His lecture is worth a watch.

If they can get it at ~$1.77 /kWh at $17k/kg launch cost, and SS could deliver it for $177/kg that's $0.018/kWh, add a zero if SS could deliver it for $18/kg.

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3 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

Totally, we are dangerously close to running out

Not even close. Total provable reserves are already on the order of ~2 trillion of barrels of oil equivalent.

It won't be economically or ecologically possible to exploit those reserves, but we aren't running out.

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2 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

And I would rather not give away my utilities to musk for personal reasons (he is a really scummy business man and his companies are really scummy when it comes to client relations). The better option would be traditionally renewables minus hydro dams (save the salmon) plus nuclear and LNG.

Please, no offense but the fact that 3 of the top 5 billionaires (Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark LizardBug) literally control your utilities and influence your opinions, makes your statement a bit hilarious..

But yeah, Nuclear is also a very very attractive option but sadly the anti-nuclear lobby is strong :(

There are fish passages in Dams these days you know, for allowing the fish to swim upstream...

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2 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

I'd rather not have a ring above my head. I like to see a nice dark sky at night. Not a ring. And imagine that shadow. 

A Bishop's Ring is not around the Earth (which is not possible, anyway, we have no materials that can do that circumference without breaking). It's a free-floater with the rotational axis tilted so that half is illuminated.

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1 minute ago, tater said:

His lecture is worth a watch.

If they can get it at ~$1.77 /kWh at $17k/kg launch cost, and SS could deliver it for $177/kg that's $0.018/kWh, add a zero if SS could deliver it for $18/kg.

I will take a look.

Overall, I am extremely optimistic about the potential for solar power generation. I hope they can get orbital solar working economically but I think terrestrial solar is going to scale so much faster that orbital solar is have a tough hill to climb.

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3 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

There are fish passages in Dams these days you know, for allowing the fish to swim upstream...

They sadly don't work that well :( and dams destroy an ecosystem by creating a lake that wasn't their a few decades ago.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

Nuclear is also a very very attractive option but sadly the anti-nuclear lobby is strong :(

Yeah.... few developments since the cold war as well.

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5 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

Please, no offense but the fact that 3 of the top 5 billionaires (Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark LizardBug) literally control your utilities and influence your opinions, makes your statement a bit hilarious..

But they don't. Bill Gates is a nice genuine person (probably). Jeff Bezos is chill. Mark zuckerburg is um lizard like. Musk on the other hand is just a jerk. 

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1 minute ago, southernplain said:

Overall, I am extremely optimistic about the potential for solar power generation. I hope they can get orbital solar working economically but I think terrestrial solar is going to scale so much faster that orbital solar is have a tough hill to climb.

Yeah, it's not a huge use case for Earth I think, but it is possible now in a way I had thought was not a thing. It has utility for lunar infrastructure, however. Put solar in a SSO, beam to surface during the 14 day night.

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5 minutes ago, Selective Genius said:

But yeah, Nuclear is also a very very attractive option but sadly the anti-nuclear lobby is strong :(

I imagine when fusion power plants are eventually built, there'll be pushback because people hear the word 'nuclear', assume that 'nuclear = bad' and not read into it any more than that.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

But they don't. Bill Gates is a nice genuine person (probably). Jeff Bezos is chill. Mark zuckerburg is um lizard like. Musk on the other hand is just a jerk. 

This is lounge level nonsense, and would require demonstration, I haven't met any of them, much less all of them to compare. Bezos doesn't seem like a terribly swell dude, and Gates, lol... you might want to read up on what predicated his recent divorce before calling him nice.

Edited by tater
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Just now, RealKerbal3x said:

I imagine when fusion power plants are eventually built, there'll be pushback because people hear the word 'nuclear', assume that 'nuclear = bad' and not read into it any more than that.

Why do I feel like I want to become a fusion plant manager, then force the plant to meltdown, and once the process is done, everyone can clearly see nothing bad happens. Just a little sizzle and that's it.

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1 minute ago, RealKerbal3x said:

I imagine when fusion power plants are eventually built, there'll be pushback because people hear the word 'nuclear', assume that 'nuclear = bad' and not read into it any more than that.

Definitely, I can't wait to hear people say no to fusion to "avoid another Chernobyl"

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2 minutes ago, southernplain said:

Overall, I am extremely optimistic about the potential for solar power generation. I hope they can get orbital solar working economically but I think terrestrial solar is going to scale so much faster that orbital solar is have a tough hill to climb.

Using PVs to generate power in orbit and transmit it to ground is not a good idea. They wont be able to produce energy when the solar radiation is not available, but if we use Solar dynamic power, not exclusively for earth, but also places where solar panels are less effective, it could be competitive.

Just now, SpaceFace545 said:

They sadly don't work that well :( and dams destroy an ecosystem by creating a lake that wasn't their a few decades ago.

Oh i did not know that.. :(

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