HARVESTING SPACE SOLAR POWER THROUGH WORLD KNOWLEDGE PLATFORM
"Inventions and discoveries have emanated from creative minds that have been constantly working and imagining the outcome in the mind. With imagining and constant effort, all the forces of the universe work for that inspired mind, thereby leading to inventions and discoveries."
I am delighted to address the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd China Energy and Environment Summit. I congratulate the organizers of this Summit for their devoted and dedicated efforts to bring together eminent leaders and experts on a common platform for exchange of views, for high-level dialogue and discussions on a topic of profound importance to all humanity. It is essential that the energy policy of the nations and clean environment for the planet earth have to be integrated in our thoughts and actions. I am sure, CEES will achieve this goal during the deliberations of this summit.
This Summit seeks rightly, views and ideas on finding feasible technical and economic solutions for the energy and environmental crisis faced by the world. Both China and India stand for a multi-polar world and insist on comprehensively improving and developing relations with major powers in an effort to create a sound international environment for their sustainable economic development. When I am with all of you I would like to share some thoughts on the topic "HARVESTING SPACE SOLAR POWER THROUGH WORLD KNOWLEDGE PLATFORM".
Since, harvesting solar power from space involves a multi dimensional space program jointly initiated by all the space faring nations, present and in the future, I would like first discuss with all of you about my own experience as a space scientist and the space vision required to achieve societal missions from space, which includes harnessing energy from space.
Evolution of space vision
I have been advocating International cooperation for the large scale space missions including space based solar satellites, whenever I had an occasion to interact with the international space communities. I have evolved a World Space Vision 2050 which I am going to discuss. This space vision further gone through various discussion at international space forum at Caltech ? USA, Boston University, International Space University, Strasburg; CNES, France; and 58th International Astronautical Congress at Hyderabad-India. There was also a panel discussion on "Space and the Environment, Sensible Space Investment" in the CALTECH campus. I also visited JPL and had a briefing on some futuristic research; development and mission efforts related to exploration of solar system and beyond, search for extra terrestrial life, further moon exploration and Mars exploration. Today with the space community including Chinese space experts in the CEES 2011. As I was interacting with international space experts and listening to the presentations on the various national space missions, the following thoughts on the challenges for space community have emerged to me.
The problem facing the humanity on life on earth and protection and sustainability of environment, requires many areas of research like integrated study of atmosphere, accurate forecasting and predictions of climate and weather, breakthroughs in earthquake forecasting, making energy independence and finding solution to water problems for the growing population for the world and fast track improvement of education and healthcare system throughout the globe. They require integrated global approaches and synergy of all space faring nations.
While in the last fifty years, tremendous progress has been made by space faring nations in space science, technology and applications, our understanding of our own planet is limited, and we have much less knowledge of moon, mars, other planets and the solar system and beyond. I find planning and conducting such missions need lead times of the order of 10-15 years and individual nations find it difficult to increase the rate of exploration momentum with the available technology level, funds and human resources.
In the last fifty years, space faring nations have developed core competence like strong application orientation in India, planetary mission and space station capabilities in USA and Russia, a model of nations working together in Europe and manned space mission capability in China. The launch vehicle and spacecraft expertise exist in many of the space faring countries. There have been a number of missions with bilateral and multilateral partnership with several complimentary efforts. The question is whether the international cooperation is consistent with the challenges of the next fifty years. Can we graduate in the ensuing years to partnership missions among space faring nations for the benefit of entire humanity using the core competence of multiple nations, financial sharing and management mechanism with overall goals like solar power satellite, industrial belt on the Moon and the habitat on the Mars. Political will and concern for the well being of planet earth have to be the focus for such international missions.
Missions can be evolved, but one important constraint among space faring nations is the non-availability of the right type of young human resources. I heard many space experts in the conference in CALTECH during 2007, as to how they were inspired by sputnik and Apollo era and I have witnessed the tremendous response it had created among the youth and the experienced when India?s Chandrayan-I with NASA Payload M3 discovered H2O/HO water molecule in Moon. So what we need is a global vision that would attract the imagination of young and inspire them to their own dreams to achieve. Spotting young talent and training them requires attention internationally.
There was strong feeling among many participants that enough communication is not ensured by the performing space community with general public on the system they have created using space technology for welfare fo the humanity.
With the above background and strength of technological progress in Space systems in the world, I have been suggesting to the World Space Community to evolve World Space Vision 2050 with the following three components:
1. Large Scale Societal missions and Low cost access to space: There is definitely a need for space faring nations to work together to develop reusable launch vehicles, which can bring down the cost of payload in orbit from the present US $ 20,000 per kg to US $ 2000 per kg and eventually to $200 per kg
2. Comprehensive space security: I suggested the creation of an International Space Force (ISF) made up of all space faring nations wishing to participate and contribute to protect world space assets in a manner, which will enable peaceful use of space on a global cooperative basis.
3. Space exploration and current application missions: Space exploration mission for material like helium3, water and life and the current application missions in tele-communication, remote sensing and other societal applications and considering Earth-moon-mars as a single economic complex for the benefit of humanity.
I am of the view that the present capabilities of major space faring nations are not optimally utilized. The launch vehicles of the world, the spacecraft of the world, the application potential of the world, the space scientific research potential of the world and above all the huge costs envisaged for space 2050 programmes would call for certain "paradigm shift" in nations to work together to bring the benefits of space to humanity as a whole. This is possible as my experience suggests, only if we have a hard cooperation of each nation contributing substantially in technology and resource. In this context, I would like to share with you two Indian experiences in international cooperation.
One, is a Joint venture programme between India and Russia with equally shared funding of $300 million that has resulted into development leading to production of a world?s first supersonic cruise missile called Brahmos in the defence sector leading to the business worth of $10 Billion.
Another experience of India is the Pan African e-Network Initiative costing over $120 million, for connecting 53 Pan African Nations for providing tele-education, tele-medicine, and e-governance services meeting the Millennium Development Goals of Africa set by United Nations. Similarly USA, Europe, China and other countries have many experiences in hard cooperation. These experiences give me the confidence that hard international cooperation, resulting dedicated funds, fixed timelines leading to designed products which are mutually beneficial to all the participating nations, indeed can accelerate the application of space science and technology leading to fast results for societal application. Such international cooperation itself aid the security dimension in space. Two international teams,one on technology and the other in creative management could be formed to come up with proposals and investments to achieve the goal of low cost access to space. Such an accomplishment of a goal would enable taking up mass missions that were not in the realm of individual nations hither to fore. A world space vision can trigger many young towards hitherto "impossible" challenges. With this background let me propose a management structure for realizing the visions.
The World Space Vision 2050 would enhance the quality of human life, inspire the spirit of space exploration, expand the horizons of knowledge, and ensure space security for all nations of the world.
In this context, I suggest to the China Energy and Environment Summit (CEES) members, to evolve and recommend the implementation of a World Space Council, consisting of space faring nations, to formulate and implement World Space Vision as discussed. The World Space Council with global participation could oversee the planning and implementation of exploration, energy and societal missions. Such a unified approach will enable the world to see a quantum jump in the progress in space science and technology for the benefit of all the nations of the world. Many of you represent countries that have brought about the incredible space revolution in the last 50 years. What we need today is a step function as a global space initiative to implement a World Space Vision and missions for an enhanced quality of life for a peaceful and safe world. One of the important missions of this council would be to develop and deploy space systems needed for harvesting and transmitting energy from space to earth. Let me discuss this aspect in detail.
Space Based Solar Power:
On the 30th May 2010, I addressed the International Space Development Conference (ISDC) where I talked about the possibilities of harvesting energy from space through space based solar power. This conference was attended by many of the experts from the space community, who got interested with the presentation I had made. This led to further discussions and formulations which culminated into the evolution of the idea of Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative for Space Solar Power Satellite with focus on convergence of competencies from different nations towards the realization of a futuristic mission for green energy from space. On the 4th of November 2010, this initiative was declared to the global audience by National Space Society of United States and was participated by representatives from Indian Space Research Organization and Artemis Innovation Management.
The sun, as you all know, radiates about 10 trillion times the energy which human consumer across the world today. If we are able to extract even a small portion of this energy from the sun, it would be sufficient to secure the energy demands of our future.
Friends, space based solar power has many advantages over traditional terrestrial based solar plants. First, the level of Solar Irradiance is about 1.4 times in extraterrestrial level than at the surface of the earth. Second, in case of surface based solar power plants the panels can collect solar power for about 6 ? 8 hours a day, whereas, in the case of space based power plant, the collection time is full 24 hours. Also, the space based solar power plants are not affected by the weather conditions, which may bring down the efficiency in case of terrestrial power plant. Thus space based solar power plant would be far more effective in their efficiency and power generation than the land based systems.
There are three major focus areas in the space based solar power plant. First component is the space based solar power plant. Second, is the earth based collection system. And the third important aspect is the medium of transmission from space to earth.
The aspect of safety and efficiency has to be paramount in the way energy is transmitted from space back to earth ? either through microwave or any other technology like laser technology. Careful research of the impact and safety concerns would have to be conducted.
One way to increase safety and improve efficiency could be the evolution of nano-packs, which are reusable, and can move like small batteries carrying charge back and forth from space solar station to ground reception. Another, approach could be to make the reception centres as pre-designated offshore sites to reduce the safety issues.
Another important factor is the cost of the space based power plant, which given the current launch technologies, would be very high and needs to brought down. Among the largest cost components of installing a space based solar power plant will be the launching cost of the components into the orbit. The current estimates range in billion of dollars for an average plant size. There is a need to bring down this cost. The long term cost of a space solar power plant for time period of 20 years of operation has to be brought down to under $0.10 per Kw-h to make it economically sustainable. Can we do this? It has to come through a multi-pronged approach.
When I am with such enlightened audience like all of you, I would like to share a new thought on transmission of solar power from space to earth, that may be safe and cost-effective. Science has history of making the impossible, today, and a reality of tomorrow. I venture now to suggest some ideas that may sound highly challenging and leave as food for thought for all of you to take up the challenge, for I am sure that if best brains gathered here, vouch to work together, all these impossible dreamer?s ideas will become real and the world become the best place to live. Having established that the space is another destination for the man?s quest for renewable energy, I have few ideas that may be out of the ordinary. While one could approach the transmission of energy from space through micro waves and laser beams from space, I am thinking of attempting to transport "nano energy packs" , like nano batteries back and forth between space and earth. These nano energy packs may contain materials hitherto unknown but would store the energy through reversible chemical reaction or may be electrical reaction and when brought back to earth, can deliver energy per kg of payload touching several hundreds of watt hours. During my visit to Rice University, USA on 22 August this year, I met nano-technology scientist experts at Nano centre of Rice University which has created two Nobel Laureates (Robert Curl and Richard E Smalley) in nano-chemistry. I was very happy to know, this Rice University group is also working on flexible nano-structure for solar power storage. Dear friends, you may like to think about it and our research scientists can work on nano energy packs. The scientists of any part of the world can contact for further discussion through my e-mail ID email@example.com .
In view if these 20th and early 21st century developments in the energy and aerospace sectors of national economies, several space faring nations now have the capability to team up and cooperate in an enduring, firmly integrated consortium of stakeholders to further the development of international space based solar power stations and all the required enabling technologies such as safe, affordable and reliable access to space. Steps forward could be taken up in a self-renewing manner in three phases: Phase 1: International Preliminary Feasibility Study (2-3 years) Phase 2: Detailed Feasibility Study and Engineering Demonstrations on Ground and in Space (5-7 years). Phase 3: Industrialization (self-sustaining & self-renewing far into the future (20 years).
World Knowledge Platform : For the realization of these missions, we have to share knowledge world-wide, and feely exchange data and information to establish the technical and economic feasibility of designing, building and operating a system-of-systems consisting of low cost space transportation and space solar satellites. I suggest this is done in an open and transparent manner through a consortium of selected world universities, laboratories and industries organized and administered as a World Space Knowledge Platform. This knowledge platform may be recommended in the form of a global not-for-profit Foundation, as the first immediate step by mutual understanding between interested nations. Once the Feasibility Study that would include scaled version of technology demonstrations of SSP and its critical enabling technologies to a world space standard, is completed, then subsequent action could commence on commercial scales organized. Many nations are participating in this CEES 2011 from G8 nations. As India and China are always invited for crucial meeting of G8 nations, it is time CEES can think of white paper on solar power station indicating, how clean energy, cost effective energy, abundance energy is possible through solar power satellites.
My best wishes to all the members present at CEES 2011 in their mission of evolving and implementing new clean green energy initiatives from space for rejuvenating our planet.
Dear Friend,I'm ready to World Space Vision 2050. The challenges for Space Community- Good. Your innovation idea about SSP is super and Huge. Joint Venture BrahMos Agreement (www.brahmos.com) and Space Transportation Systems with High payload fraction_leads to commendable victory. Every Discovery begins with Nano Technology system.It denotes Good future. The purpose of World Space Knowledge Platform(not-for-profit)_ Wonderful Thoughts. Thank U.
Respected,Hazrat ABUL PAKRI JAINULAABDEEN ABDUL KALAM,
This iilm (knowledge) is amazing.Your vision for the space science is fantastic.Your suggestion for the solar energy as the future for the people is
great.As the collisions between tne newtrons and protons emits energy which is unimaginable.A great
alternative from dangerous carbon emitting other source of energy.