SPS at the first ISU
Usually big, impressive organizations love to tell about their “humble beginnings” and then other times, not so much. Some cranky curmudgeons have opined that The International Space University, now of Strasbourg, France, goes out of its way to avoid talk of their birth in Boston just because they’re European (oy), but I think the reason is because those first meetings could never be called “humble.” They were about building, and about building really BIG.
From the Space Studies Institute vault, here is part 2 of the “lost” ISU birth recordings, The Solar Power Satellite Roundtable. With Dr. Peter Glaser, VP of Arthur D. Little and “Inventor of SPS”, Makoto Nagatomo of the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science, Tokyo (now JAXA), and Dr. William Brown, head of the Raytheon Magnetron Tube Department, inventor of the Amplitron Cross Field Amplifier, and the first to show long distance wireless power beaming. Plus, the man in the middle in more ways than one: Princeton Professor, American Nuclear Physicist, inventor of the Storage Ring Synchrotron (that made round particle accelerators actually work) and founder and first president of the Space Studies Institute, Dr. Gerard Kitchen O’Neill.
Want to know more about the International Space University? Here’s something fun: Solar Power Satellites. SSI at ISU | Space Studies Institute. And, sorry conspiracy fans, if you click this ISU link and scroll way, way, way down, you will see that Yes, there is a mention of ISU founders and SSI old timers Peter Diamandis, Todd Hawley and Robert Richards.
The full 1975 Goldstone Power Beaming
Recently there was an important warehouse test of wireless power beaming. Rightly so, it captured people’s attention because it seemed to prove that this geeky stuff could actually be done.
Not so recently, a beaming test was done in the big outdoors, and some say that that experiment was “bigger.” It’s not an apples to apples comparison, but You decide.
With voiceover done by the man who did it, “The Man Behind Microwave Power Beaming,” head of the Raytheon Magnetron Tube Department and inventor of the Amplitron Cross Field Amplifier, SSI Senior Advisor Dr. Bill Brown.
This embedded video is set to start in the Mojave, you should also scroll back to the beginning for another famous experiment (and to see the man who invented your microwave oven).
John Mankins at SSI 50
The final session of SSI 50: The Space Settlement Enterprise held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle September 9th and 10th, 2019 was about the ways to pay and to make it pay.
The original High Frontier platform, envisioned during the peak of the American energy crisis of the 1970s, put Dr. Peter Glaser’s invention of Space Solar Power Satellites as the primary revenue source for LaGrange area communities. In the end, short of a miracle substance, SPS will be the way an advancing civilization powers its survival; Eventually it will be obvious to everyone that digging up and pumping out the remains of ancient solar energy from the ground is silly when you can get to the unlimited pure, live source in just 8 minutes.
But will that happen in a time that we all live to see? Will it be required for our “O’Neill Colonies” to be built? And even if SPS goes live in a very big way, didn’t we learn from Enron that putting all of your stock into just one bucket, energy or otherwise, can be a dangerous idea?
After a short intro, Dr. John Mankins, Founder of Artemis Innovation and undisputed living expert on SSPS gives us a status report and his view of the relatability that SPS now may have to Off Earth Living. This portion, with occasional refocusing to the topic, runs about 50 minutes.
Then, the whole panel of Dr. Mankins, Eva-Jane Lark, VP of BMO Nesbitt Burns, and Dr. Philip Metzger, Planetary Scientist of the Florida Space Institute of the University of Central Florida, join together to discuss other revenue options. Don’t expect a big finish ending with a single slide showing “The Ultimate Product!”, this remains the toughest nut to crack.
Honorable Mention: For the Why of it all
This is an SPS video, and a little more. This is one for the folks who love to quote Dr. Ian Malcom’s jurassic classic:
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Geeks and Engineers love to get into the greek letter weeds, but if the end goal from the beginning is not a clear benefit for regular people then there might be better projects to join.
So we put this here. For the Why.
“The High Frontier Concept, using the material and energy resources of space
to improve the human condition on Earth “
– Gerard K. O’Neill –
The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space
copyright Space Studies Institute