SPS-ALPHA: The first practical Solar Power Satellite via arbitrarily large phased array (A 2011-2012 NASA NIAC project)

John C. Mankins, Nobuyuki Kaya, Massimiliano Vasile

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The vision of delivering solar power to Earth from platforms in space has been known for decades. However, early SPS architectures were technically complex and unlikely to prove economically viable. Some of these early issues - particularly involving technical feasibility - were addressed by NASA's space solar power (SSP) studies and technology research in the mid-to-late 1990s. Despite this progress, ten years ago a number of key technical and economic uncertainties remained. A new solar power satellite (SPS) has recently been proposed: 'SPS-ALPHA' (Solar Power Satellite by means of Arbitrarily Large Phased Array). This paper presents preliminary results from the 2011-2012 NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase 1 'SPS-ALPHA' project, the goal of which was to establish the technical and economic viability of the SPS-ALPHA concept to an early TRL 3 - analytical proof-of-concept - and provide a framework for further study and technology development. The objectives of this innovative advanced concept project are to: (1) conduct an initial end-to-end systems analysis of the SPS-ALPHA concept in order to determine its technical feasibility; (2) identify and assess in greater detail the key technology challenges inherent in the architecture (including figures of merit for each critical technology area); (3) conduct an initial evaluation of the economic viability of the concept (as a function of key performance parameters); and, (4) define a preliminary roadmap for the further development of the SPS-ALPHA concept.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th Annual International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, IECEC 2012
Place of PublicationReston, VA.
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Event10th Annual International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, IECEC 2012 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: 30 Jul 20121 Aug 2012

Publication series

Name10th Annual International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, IECEC 2012

Conference

Conference10th Annual International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, IECEC 2012
CountryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA
Period30/07/121/08/12

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    Mankins, J. C., Kaya, N., & Vasile, M. (2012). SPS-ALPHA: The first practical Solar Power Satellite via arbitrarily large phased array (A 2011-2012 NASA NIAC project). In 10th Annual International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, IECEC 2012 [2012-3978] (10th Annual International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, IECEC 2012).. https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2012-3978