SPS. A new batch of government documents. Please take special note.

January 31, 2024

Author: Smith

January 2024 has been a VERY busy month for Space Based Solar Power / Solar Power Satellites and we are preparing a month-ending wrapup post to be released very soon but before that we want you to note the latest batch of government SPS documents that have just been added to the SSI Online SPS Collection.

Solar Energy From Space
Satellite Power Stations

from the Congressional Research Service – yes, YOU can now read this.

Abstract: A report for a unique target audience, formerly unavailable to the general public, this short brief was prepared by the esteemed Library of Congress Congressional Research Service as a fast overview of the House and Senate’s historical involvement in Solar Power Satellite work. Imagine being a congressperson back in the day when things were planned to be built for the general population instead of just destroyed to placate angry constituents, in those days congressional workers needed fast facts to be assembled for reading on the run between meetings. Because of the target it is not very technical and instead focuses on history of funding. It is FASCINATING in that it shows the interest of the Legislators in relation to the near lack of interest of NASA, ERDA/DOE and the NSF. Because the original printout was made on a shoddy government printer, we have hand-transcribed a full copy of the text in this release along with the scanned pages. Highly recommended for the “meta” of SPS.

As noted, the original print was rather hard to read (our tax dollars didn’t pay Congressional IT very well, apparently) and so along with the photographic scans viewable exactly as your Representatives and Senators originally saw them, we have added a complete set of hand-typed pages. You will find that extra version in the digital table of contents under the section “Hand-Transcribed Version.”

Honestly, this is important. While it is very short, it has a number of very deep “levels” and lines that might not jump out in just a fast scanning of the pages. We hope that you will put extra attention into the CONGRESSIONAL INTEREST and FUNDING sections for casual mentions that actually have ended up meaning so much.

Satellite Power System (SPS) International Agreements

from the Planning Research Corporation and US Department Of Energy

Abstract: A detailed analysis of the various treaties, agreements and assumed common understandings of off-Earth locations and resources. The 1967 Principles Treaty, the Bogota Declaration and others are explained in relation to the ITU, UN General Assembly Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and other orgs and in relation to not only the few major players in Space, but also the impact of the “assertiveness” of the coalition of “LDCs” (Less Developed Countries) who may be seen at first as only a “paper majority” but who, when consolidated, pose a significant influence on international agreements. The report spans telecommunications and frequencies management, liability, sovereignty above the atmosphere and ‘ownership’ of resources in Space… including Lunar Resources, which are assumed to be eventual sources of SPS construction materials, and solar energy itself.

Ionizing Radiation Risks To SPS Workers In Space
from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Abstract: The SPS reference design plan called for workers at LEO (500km), workers transferring to GEO and workers remaining at GEO (36,000km) for approximately 90 day terms. GEO has the highest amount of ionizing radiation intensity. So. How to protect SPS workers? Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill had a simple fix. His plan, based on significant research on SPS as a, dare we use the term, “Holistic” package made thick hulled habitats for workers out of the slag byproduct of the creation of solar cells from Lunar silica. No atmosphere poisoning launches of all that dumb mass from Earth, everything in a manageable deltaV, big and safe workspaces. But NASA even 50 years later and with their own Artemis Program can’t allow themselves to consider using materials not dragged up from Earth so… using nearby tons of slag is still out. Sadly, this document could have come out this morning. And since it will surely come out again with a new set of names, we put it here so we can all get ahead of it.

SPS Effects on Optical and Radio Astronomy
Proceedings of a Workshop

from American Astronomical Society, Arecibo Observatory, Argonne National Laboratory, Institute For Telecommunication Sciences, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lick Observatory UC, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, National Air and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, Owens Valley Radio Astronomy, Pacific Northwest Laboratory , Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, University Of Illinois, University Of Maryland, University Of Washington, US Department Of Energy, the Very Large Array Project and the Yerkes Observatory University of Chicago

Abstract: Shortly after Starlink started launching reports began noting that observable resonances can be far below the transmission frequencies and that’s a bit of a problem for Astronomers. But… too late… that bird has flown. In 1980, for SPS, a system that could provide real-life benefits beyond cat videos and tiktok, the potential issues to The Oldest Natural Science were brought to the table prior to even a working demonstration system. As they should have been. If energy, worldwide, on-demand, is an existential requirement then perhaps Astronomy would have to take a hit for the good of the many (though proponents of SPS believe that infrastructure for SPS would likely make Lunar observatories more accessible). How big of a potential hit? Read on.

Satellite Power System Salvage and Disposal Alternatives
from ECON, Inc.

Abstract: All of what goes up does not necessarily have to come back down – or be parked forever and forgotten in a graveyard orbit. This report considers the disposal and/or reclamation of the parts and materials of a demonstration SPS system and, if the tests indicate the worth, of full-scale power satellites after their estimated 30 year performance life. The Rockwell SPS system design is used as the primary source of quantitative data. It is not assumed by this report that at the end the pilot test the demonstration units will be fully disposed of (although history does paint that as an American modus operandi) and the report includes options for re-purposing some parts of the whole for extended benefits.

And, we have officially added the document:
On The Military Implications Of A Satellite Power System
A Working Paper

from Planning Research Corporation, Science Applications, Inc.

There is a short abstract on the report’s new data page, but we detailed this release recently in the special post: https://ssi.org/sps-a-special-p-o-v-report/

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