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Space-based solar power described

Nov. 11, 2010 at 10:10 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A former president of India says satellites could harvest the sun's energy from space and beam it to Earth to solve the global energy crisis.

A.P.J. Kalam, along with the U.S. non-profit National Space Society, has announced a space-based solar power initiative, SPACE.com reported Tuesday.

Under the initiative's plan, a satellite with a large array of solar panels would be launched to collect energy from the sun, and then the energy, converted to a microwave beam, would be transmitted to Earth. A special receiving antenna on the ground would convert the microwave energy into electricity to be fed into the into the power grid.

Space-based solar power could turn Earth into a "clean planet, a prosperous planet, and a happy planet," Kalam said during an announcement of the initiative.

The full technology to achieve such a project is not yet developed, initiative leaders admit, but it is important to get it started now.

"I personally believe it is a project of about 15 years," Kalam said.

He said more countries than just India and the United States would be needed to make space solar power a reality.

NASA does not have an official space solar power program, though it has funded research into the field in the past, and the U.S. military has also experimented with solar energy beaming as a possible way to deliver power to remote areas of the world, SPACE.com reported.

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