Solar Power Constellations Implications for the United States Air Force
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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As the world population increases and natural resources used to produce energy decrease, alternative methods to produce sustainable, environmental cost effective energy are required. One proposed solution to the problem is solar power satellites. Solar power satellites are satellites, which collect the energy of the sun, convert it onto a beam, and beam that energy to a receiving antenna. The receiving antenna converts the beam into electricity and feeds the electricity into a power grid. The receiving antenna may be located on another satellite, or on Earth. Presented here are several solar power satellite proposals, architectures, incremental technology demonstrations and predictions as to when they will become commercially viable. Given the previous information, this paper analyzes the implications for the Air Force in relation to doctrine and future plans. The research method consisted of a search of scientific journals, published symposium papers, and research reports. The search focused on the current research on solar power satellites, and Air Force programs, which have power issues. Based on the research, the Air Force should plan to capitalize on the advantages of solar power satellite constellations. Solar power satellites can assist with implementing various plans i.e., long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, space-based radar, lasers, and small satellites, complying with public law, and reducing the logistics tail associated with an expeditionary force.
- Unmanned Spacecraft