China plans to build solar power station in space by 2050

 Since years scientists around the globe are trying to find out solutions for sustainable and environment friendly power generation. It seems that China has mastered the art by planning to construct the first solar power station in space
China plans to construct a massive space solar power station 36,000 km above the ground in an attempt to cut down on greenhouse gases and solve energy crisis which the world faces currently.
According to Xinhua news agency, the solar space station is planned to be much bigger than the Apollo project and International Space Station in the space orbit, it will consist of large solar panels extending to 6 sq km which will enable the panels to capture maximum amount of solar energy. An experimental space solar power station is planned to be in place by 2030, while a commercially viable one to be ready by 2050.
The power station would be a super spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit equipped with huge solar panels. The electricity generated would be converted to microwaves or lasers and transmitted to a collector on Earth.
In 1941, U.S. science fiction writer Isaac Asimov had published the short story “Reason”, in which a space station transmits energy collected from the sun to various planets using microwave beams. A U.S. scientist Peter Glaser published an article in the journal Science in 1968, claiming a feasible design for the space solar power system.
Wang Xiji, 93, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, says Asimov’s fiction has a scientific basis. Wang is an advocate for the station. “An economically viable space power station would be really huge, with the total area of the solar panels reaching 5 to 6 sq km,” he told Xinhua. The space solar station will be equivalent to 12 of Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square, the largest public square in the world, or nearly two New York Central Parks. “May be people on Earth could see it in the sky at night, like a star,” says Wang.
Wang said the electricity generated from the ground-based solar plants fluctuates with night, day and weather, while a space-based generator can collect energy 99 per cent of the time. Space-based solar panels can generate about ten times as much electricity as ground-based panels per unit area, says Duan Baoyan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). “If we have space solar power technology, hopefully we could solve the energy crisis on Earth,” he says.
There is a need to replace the traditional fossil fuels with clean and environment friendly sources of energy. However, ground based resources like sun, wind, water and other natural resources are very limited and are not constant in terms of reliability. “The world will panic when the fossil fuels can no longer sustain human development. We must acquire space solar power technology before then,” says Wang.
“Whoever obtains the technology first could occupy the future energy market. So it’s of great strategic significance,” Wang says. Construction of a space solar power station will be a milestone for human utilisation of space resources. And it will promote technological progress in the fields of energy, electricity, materials and aerospace. Countries such as the United States and Japan have studied a space solar power station. Currently, Japan is leading in the development of wireless power transmission technology. Some Chinese research institutes and universities have also conducted studies related to space solar power technology in recent years.
For instance, a commercially viable space power station would weigh more than 10,000 tons. But few rockets can carry a payload of more than 100 tons to low Earth orbit. “We need a cheap heavy-lift launch vehicle,” says Wang, who has designed China’s first carrier rocket more than 40 years ago. “We also need to make very thin and light solar panels. The weight of the panel must be less than 200 grams per square meter.” He also points out that the space solar power station could become economically viable only when the efficiency of wireless power transmission, using either micro wave or laser radiation, reaches around 50 per cent. However, he is confident that China can build a space solar power station.
“When space solar energy becomes our main energy, people will no longer worry about smog or the greenhouse effect,” says Wang. He adds, “The development of wireless power transmission technology will be a great advance. After the technology is applied, power cables will not be needed anywhere in the world. Just imagine what a world it will be.”
Li Ming, vice president of the China Academy of Space Technology said, “China will build a space station in around 2020, which will open an opportunity to develop space solar power technology.” Apart from avoiding smog and pollution generated from fossil fuels, the space station will help in bridging the gap for energy. Currently, China is the world’s largest energy consumer and also the world’s top carbon emitter.

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China plans to build solar power station in space by 2050

 Since years scientists around the globe are trying to find out solutions for sustainable and environment friendly power generation. It seems that China has mastered the art by planning to construct the first solar power station in space
China plans to construct a massive space solar power station 36,000 km above the ground in an attempt to cut down on greenhouse gases and solve energy crisis which the world faces currently.
According to Xinhua news agency, the solar space station is planned to be much bigger than the Apollo project and International Space Station in the space orbit, it will consist of large solar panels extending to 6 sq km which will enable the panels to capture maximum amount of solar energy. An experimental space solar power station is planned to be in place by 2030, while a commercially viable one to be ready by 2050.
The power station would be a super spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit equipped with huge solar panels. The electricity generated would be converted to microwaves or lasers and transmitted to a collector on Earth.
In 1941, U.S. science fiction writer Isaac Asimov had published the short story “Reason”, in which a space station transmits energy collected from the sun to various planets using microwave beams. A U.S. scientist Peter Glaser published an article in the journal Science in 1968, claiming a feasible design for the space solar power system.
Wang Xiji, 93, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, says Asimov’s fiction has a scientific basis. Wang is an advocate for the station. “An economically viable space power station would be really huge, with the total area of the solar panels reaching 5 to 6 sq km,” he told Xinhua. The space solar station will be equivalent to 12 of Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square, the largest public square in the world, or nearly two New York Central Parks. “May be people on Earth could see it in the sky at night, like a star,” says Wang.
Wang said the electricity generated from the ground-based solar plants fluctuates with night, day and weather, while a space-based generator can collect energy 99 per cent of the time. Space-based solar panels can generate about ten times as much electricity as ground-based panels per unit area, says Duan Baoyan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). “If we have space solar power technology, hopefully we could solve the energy crisis on Earth,” he says.
There is a need to replace the traditional fossil fuels with clean and environment friendly sources of energy. However, ground based resources like sun, wind, water and other natural resources are very limited and are not constant in terms of reliability. “The world will panic when the fossil fuels can no longer sustain human development. We must acquire space solar power technology before then,” says Wang.
“Whoever obtains the technology first could occupy the future energy market. So it’s of great strategic significance,” Wang says. Construction of a space solar power station will be a milestone for human utilisation of space resources. And it will promote technological progress in the fields of energy, electricity, materials and aerospace. Countries such as the United States and Japan have studied a space solar power station. Currently, Japan is leading in the development of wireless power transmission technology. Some Chinese research institutes and universities have also conducted studies related to space solar power technology in recent years.
For instance, a commercially viable space power station would weigh more than 10,000 tons. But few rockets can carry a payload of more than 100 tons to low Earth orbit. “We need a cheap heavy-lift launch vehicle,” says Wang, who has designed China’s first carrier rocket more than 40 years ago. “We also need to make very thin and light solar panels. The weight of the panel must be less than 200 grams per square meter.” He also points out that the space solar power station could become economically viable only when the efficiency of wireless power transmission, using either micro wave or laser radiation, reaches around 50 per cent. However, he is confident that China can build a space solar power station.
“When space solar energy becomes our main energy, people will no longer worry about smog or the greenhouse effect,” says Wang. He adds, “The development of wireless power transmission technology will be a great advance. After the technology is applied, power cables will not be needed anywhere in the world. Just imagine what a world it will be.”
Li Ming, vice president of the China Academy of Space Technology said, “China will build a space station in around 2020, which will open an opportunity to develop space solar power technology.” Apart from avoiding smog and pollution generated from fossil fuels, the space station will help in bridging the gap for energy. Currently, China is the world’s largest energy consumer and also the world’s top carbon emitter.

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