SPS-ALPHA: The first practical solar power satellite via arbitrarily large phased array (A 2011-2012 NASA N1AC project)

John C. Mankins, Nobuyuki Kaya, Massimiliano Vasile

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

2 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 conccpt.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication63rd International Astronautical Congress 2012, IAC 2012
Place of PublicationParis, France
Pages6950-6958
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Event63rd International Astronautical Congress 2012, IAC 2012 - Naples, Italy
Duration: 1 Oct 20125 Oct 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Volume9
ISSN (Print)0074-1795

Conference

Conference63rd International Astronautical Congress 2012, IAC 2012
CountryItaly
CityNaples
Period1/10/125/10/12

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  • Cite this

    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 N1AC project). In 63rd International Astronautical Congress 2012, IAC 2012 (pp. 6950-6958). (Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC; Vol. 9)..