[ExI] Energy crisis solution

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sun Jun 22 13:59:13 UTC 2008

In the course of working on another problem, I examined the payback 
time of solar power satellites lifted into space by rockets.  To my 
surprise, the energy payback time was only 40 days; it is the cost of 
aerospace hardware that makes energy from power satellites so 
expensive, about ten dollars a gallon translated to gasoline.

Using a rather large laser (3.5 GW) to power the LEO to GEO transfer 
improves the fraction of the launch rocket reaching GEO between 3 and 
4 times, reducing cost for synthetic gasoline into the 3 dollar a 
gallon range.  The same trick can be applied again with a much larger 
propulsion laser this time driving still larger payloads from sub 
orbital directly into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.  This reduces 
the cost of payload to GEO into a range corresponding to dollar a 
gallon gasoline.

I gave a talk on this concept at the International Space Development 
Conference and a few days later to some Lockheed planners.  It need 
to be verified by other engineers but looks like a way out of the 
world wide energy crisis.  Done as a Manhattan type program it might 
be constructing new capacity at 500 GW/year inside an 8 year period 
at a cost in the same range as the Iraq War.


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