Solar Power Satellites

The illustration below by Space Studies Institute Senior Associate Mark Martel shows the construction of an SSI-design solar power satellite built of lunar materials in geosynchronous orbit, where there is permanent sunshine. This array converts solar energy into radio energy; and sends that radio energy in a beam to a receiving antenna on the Earth for conversion to ordinary electricity. Those waves would be directed to a receiving antenna in the form of a flat array several miles in extent, held on poles above fields and meadows. This concept solves many of the environmental and limited energy resource problems plaguing our planet.

For the very latest information  on Solar Power Satellite developments, please read SSI Senior Adviser John Mankins’ excellent book “The Case for Space Solar Power”, available at (you can use the link in the box at the upper right of most pages).

Another wonderful – and perhaps a bit more accessible –  book is “Sun Power: The Global Solution for the Coming Energy Crisis” by Ralph Nansen.  Ralph put out a newer book called “Energy Crisis – Solutions from Space” which is also good but some say that he may have gone a bit more political in that one and so the first one is recommended.

And, while it can be expensive, the classic reference after you’ve got the basics down is “Solar Power Satellites: The Emerging Energy Option” edited by Peter Glaser, Frank Davidson and Katinka Csigi. Many technical college libraries have this so if you can’t find a copy for sale at a reasonable price via or, try a search for a local library offering on WorldCat.

But some of these books are rather “classic”, they can’t be still of any worth, right?  Not so, unfortunately.  The Space industry may be perceived as being the absolute cutting edge but it moves very slowly, especially when it comes to big, important projects.  John Mankins’ book is quite new (and very affordable even in hard cover) but the others are still excellent resources.

Technology for Human Space Settlement