[ExI] Obama Transition Team Examining Space Solar Power

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Thu Jan 1 00:12:29 UTC 2009

On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 8:44 PM, Kevin H <kevin.l.holmes at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 7:26 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
>> It has been repeatedly demonstrated that lifting stuff to orbit is waaay
>> more difficult than it appears to be.  Never mind all the super tricky
>> station placing that satellites require, just the control systems
>> engineering required to keep a rocket flying pointy end first is a
>> daunting
>> engineering problem.  It would surely require the cooperation of an actual
>> government in the next twenty to fifty years.
>> A secret launch is now completely impossible.  If a malicious group
>> launched
>> a counter-orbiting truckload of sand, that act is a declaration of war
>> against every nation that has anything in LEO, which is a lotta smart,
>> capable and mean countries, all of which have nukes and the means to
>> deliver
>> them to one's house if provoked.
>> Attacking anything in GEO would be exceedingly and reassuringly difficult
>> for a terrorist group, even a well funded one.
>> spike
> Is it possible to construct a laser or other beam weapon that can/could
> disable a SPS (or other artificial satellite) in orbit?  If that's ruled
> out, then I'm not worried.

It's possible, not even technically hard after we have power sats up,
but such a laser is huge and *very* expensive..  Figure at least a GW
output, 2 GW electrical input.  2GW is the output of Hover Dam.  The
laser would cost around $10 billion.  I.e., it's way out of the range
of terrorists as we know them today.

We do have to worry about diversion of a propulsion laser.  There is
no possibility that OBL's operation could have bought one passenger
jet, much less 4 of them, but they still crashed 3 of the 4 they
hijacked into buildings.

It wouldn't be easy though.  There would not be training centers for
laser operators like there was for 767/757 aircraft.

> But, if anything, a supremely vast supply of energy would *ease*
> international tensions, not create them, at least in the long term.  Ideally
> the current space powers would share their capabilities to assist in
> launching SPS's for other countries; but realistically, if they don't, there
> could be serious problems.  I just think it would be in everyone's interest
> to share.

The best would be for the power sats construction company to be
international, financed by private and (perhaps) government money.
It's not entirely obvious that the construction company and the
transportation company should be the same organization, but they might


> Kevin
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