NewMars topic SPS in LEO

The are discussing multiple topics as usual. One recent addition is:

This past week a new topic has come into view.  The US Defense Department reported a successful test of a small solar panel riding in the X37b experimental space platform.  The background for this experiment was reported to be the Pentagon interest in providing power from space to remote military outposts, to reduce risks due to transport of petroleum in disputed territory.

The implications of this idea for civilian power service are under vigorous discussion.  There is a class of satellite orbits which ride the dawn/dusk border around the Earth.  These are a category of polar orbit that precesses at just the right rate to remain constantly in view of the Sun.  Delivery of power from one of these satellites is available for about 30 minutes at least once a day for every location on Earth.

In addition, it appears that service may be possible twice a day, because every location on Earth is exposed to dawn once a day, and dusk 12 hours later.  In addition, more than one satellite can ride in this orbit.  For example, a satellite every degree of latitude is possible. And finally, there is no reason why a particular satellite in LEO is limited to serving just one location.  There may be a practical limit, but service to 100 stations seems like a reasonable number to consider.

Thus, if all the possibilities are covered, we would have:

1)    3 30 minute charge opportunities per orbit (assuming 90 minute orbit)
2)    360 satellites so 1080 charge opportunities (assuming 1 customer per satellite)
3)    1080 * 100 or 10,800 charge opportunities assuming 100 customers per satellite

Each station should have enough energy storage capacity to hold a charge of 30 minutes for distribution over 24 hours.


Author: Tom Hanson

I was privileged to be able to participate in the 2011 reboot of Lufteam in Yahoo Groups. I am delighted to see this latest undertaking on behalf of the LUF idea, and will attempt to help as much as possible. In case anyone is interested, I posted for a couple of years at, and I am currently participating in posting at (th)

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