[ExI] Step at a time was economic parable

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Oct 10 23:03:58 UTC 2008

While in a bookstore yesterday, I took a look at the engineering section to see what they had on power generation. I flicked through a copy of the "Standard Handbook of Powerplant Engineering" published by McGraw Hill and it included a section on solar power satellite generation. So, if at least one major textbook is including the topic, presumably the idea must be gaining ground and more students are being exposed to it.

Also, while the cent/kWh is enough to encourage people to take up the technology all over the world, big economies on small islands (like the UK and Japan) have much higher energy costs and would love the technology. The Japanese are looking into solar satellites already. The British - well, let's face it, we buy all our automotive and most of our aeronautical and military technology in from the US anyway, if the US produced solar satellites our energy companies (mainly owned by Eon of Germany and EdF of France) would be queueing up to buy.

As for space being a "military high frontier", I can think of two reasons why space would be ceded to civilian power concerns:
1. The solar satellites are likely to be in GEO, most spy satellites are in as low an orbit as they can manage, and GPS satellites orbit below GEO, so there may not be that much competition for orbits.
2. The US Supreme Court is hearing the case where the 9th district court restricted US Navy exercises on the grounds of whale welfare. If the ocean can be protected from the US Navy, then surely stakeholders in space can be protected by the courts too?



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