Can power from orbital satellites solve the world's energy problems?


Staff Member
4 Jun 2021
3,875 (4.57/day)
I've thought of this too, but there are some significant problems with this idea that aren't addressed in this article. Just a few off the top of my head are:

  • This is like a giant unshielded microwave oven in space, so what happens to birds and aircraft which fly into the energy beam?
  • Direct heating of the atmosphere by the beam. It would also affect the weather as clouds are directly affected by the beam, being greatly heated
  • Where would the receiving stations be?
  • Would the satellites be geostationary, or are the transmission losses over 22000 miles too great? This ties into the number of satellites needed
  • General radio interference

In late November, a top-level meeting of European science ministers will convene in Paris. Their job is to decide the next priorities for the European Space Agency (Esa), of which the UK is still a member, and one of the items on their list to consider is a proposal for testing the feasibility of building commercial power stations in orbit. These huge satellites would bask in the sunlight, converting it to power and beaming it down to Earth to be fed into the power grid. The proposed project, known as Solaris, would determine whether the idea can contribute to Europe’s future energy security – or if it is all still pie in the sky.

Have a read and see what you think.

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