Abstract

More than a billion gigawatts of sunlight pass through the area extending from Earth out to geostationary orbit. A small fraction of this clean renewable power appears more than adequate to satisfy the projected needs of Earth, and of human exploration and development of space far into the future. Recent studies suggest safe and efficient access to this power can be achieved within 10 to 40 years. Light, enhanced in spatial and temporal coherence, as compared to natural sunlight, offers a means, and probably the only practical means, of usefully transmitting this power to Earth. We describe safety standards for satellite constellations and Earth based sites designed, respectively, to transmit, and receive this power. The spectral properties, number of satellites, and angle subtended at Earth that are required for safe delivery are identified and discussed.

© Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. See, e.g. D. O'Shea, Elements of modern optical design (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1985).
  2. J. C. Mankins, Testimony before the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Committee on Science, House of Representatives, 9/7/2000. http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/legaff/mankins9-7.html.
  3. R. L. Fork, S. T. Cole, L. J. Gamble, W. M. Diffey, A. S. Keys, "Optical amplifier for space applications," Opt. Express 5, 292-301 (1999), http://www.opticsexpress.org/oearchive/source/14181.htm.
  4. Jerry Grey, Director of Aerospace and Science Policy, (AIAA), from the 9/7/2000 House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing on Solar Power Satellites (SPS), http://www.nss.org/alerts/capsules/capsule50.html.
  5. R. L. Fork, S. T. Cole. and W. W. Walker, manuscript in preparation.
  6. J. P. Penn and C. C. Chao, personal communication. For an early reference on satellite constellations, see e.g., J.G. Walker, Jour. of the Brit. Interplanetary Society 35, .345-354 (1982).
  7. S. T. Cole, M. H. Smith, R. L. Fork, "Halo Satellite Orbit MPEG Movie," http://www.uah.edu/LSEG/halo-orbit. htm, (2001).
  8. Carlos Algora and Vicente Diaz, "Design and Optimization of Very High Power Density Monochromatic GaAs Photovoltaic Cells," IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, 45, No. 9, Sept. p. 101, (1998).
  9. American national standard for the safe use of lasers, ANSI Z136.1-1993 (The Laser Institute of America, Orlando, FL, 1993).
  10. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Food and Drugs, Part 1040.10, Performance Standards for Light-Emitting Products, laser products (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994).
  11. D. Sliney, M. Wolbarsht, Safety with lasers and other optical sources (Plenum Press, New York, 1980).
  12. CRC handbook of chemistry and physics, 79 th edition, D. R. Lide, ed. (CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1998).
  13. W. J. Geeraets, E. R. Berry, "Ocular spectral characteristics as related to hazards from lasers and other light sources," Am. J. Ophth. 66, 15-20 (1968).

Other (13)

See, e.g. D. O'Shea, Elements of modern optical design (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1985).

J. C. Mankins, Testimony before the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Committee on Science, House of Representatives, 9/7/2000. http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/legaff/mankins9-7.html.

R. L. Fork, S. T. Cole, L. J. Gamble, W. M. Diffey, A. S. Keys, "Optical amplifier for space applications," Opt. Express 5, 292-301 (1999), http://www.opticsexpress.org/oearchive/source/14181.htm.

Jerry Grey, Director of Aerospace and Science Policy, (AIAA), from the 9/7/2000 House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing on Solar Power Satellites (SPS), http://www.nss.org/alerts/capsules/capsule50.html.

R. L. Fork, S. T. Cole. and W. W. Walker, manuscript in preparation.

J. P. Penn and C. C. Chao, personal communication. For an early reference on satellite constellations, see e.g., J.G. Walker, Jour. of the Brit. Interplanetary Society 35, .345-354 (1982).

S. T. Cole, M. H. Smith, R. L. Fork, "Halo Satellite Orbit MPEG Movie," http://www.uah.edu/LSEG/halo-orbit. htm, (2001).

Carlos Algora and Vicente Diaz, "Design and Optimization of Very High Power Density Monochromatic GaAs Photovoltaic Cells," IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, 45, No. 9, Sept. p. 101, (1998).

American national standard for the safe use of lasers, ANSI Z136.1-1993 (The Laser Institute of America, Orlando, FL, 1993).

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Food and Drugs, Part 1040.10, Performance Standards for Light-Emitting Products, laser products (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994).

D. Sliney, M. Wolbarsht, Safety with lasers and other optical sources (Plenum Press, New York, 1980).

CRC handbook of chemistry and physics, 79 th edition, D. R. Lide, ed. (CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1998).

W. J. Geeraets, E. R. Berry, "Ocular spectral characteristics as related to hazards from lasers and other light sources," Am. J. Ophth. 66, 15-20 (1968).

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