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I propose that we direct the Space Shuttle system toward
performing a mission of immense importance to us here on Earth
helping to develop the needed technology for Solar Power Satellite.
Present Solar Power Satellite development work is fragmentary
and inadequate. Even when completed, the current efforts will
not bring us substantially closer to the point where major
commitment to Solar Power Satellite development can be justified.
A coordinated ground program followed by Shuttle sortie
missions and leading to a Power Technology Module program 18
recommended so that the necessary experimental work will be
obtained in a timely cost efficient fashion.
The key issues
which should be included are:
demonstration of a high production
rate solar power conversion system, development of large space
structure fabrication, assembly and control technology, microwave
power transmission demonstration and environmental impact appraisal. I believe that technology development for the Solar Power Satellite program can be focussed by development of the Power Technology Module. The development of the Power Technology
Module by 1984 should be a key element in our national space
NASA should be named the lead agency to carry it
forward. This is a national objective and a program which
will provide fresh stimulus and enthusiasm to our engineers and scientists in the space community. We will be using the
Shuttle and space technology to perform a mission of great value to all of us here on Earth. This is my recommendation for the next step in our country's space program - development
of technology for the Solar Power Satellite program.
SOLAR POWER SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
A RECOMMENDED NEXT STEP IN OUR COUNTRY'S SPACE PROGRAM
JOSEPH G. GAVIN, JR.
PRESIDENT, GRUMMAN CORPORATION
JANUARY 24, 1978
With the passage of each year our nation's Shuttle
program gives encouraging indications that it is well on the
way to ushering in a new era of space operations. Now, for
the first time, man will be able to work on a routine basis
Considerable effort has gone into this well planned
undertaking to make the Shuttle an effective launch vehicle.
We believe that this valuable transportation system can be
and should be used to perform missions of direct benefit for
mankind, and an excellent opportunity presents itself in the
form of energy technology.
It is becoming increasingly certain that we face a long
term shortage of energy to supply the needs of our country.
This shortage will also be felt by many of the other industrially
developed countries in our world.
Solar power satellites have
been studied as one attractive inexhaustible source of energy
to help meet this need.
I propose that we direct the Space Shuttle system
into performing a mission of immense importance to us here
on Earth - helping develop the needed technology for Solar
mutually exclusive but we should adopt appropriate "tools"
or approaches which will fit the needs of the problem at
The Solar Power Satellite Technology Development Program
directs part of the technical community toward achieving goals
which are of great benefit to the United States and it continues
our strength in "high technology."
THE SOLAR POWER SATELLITE CONCEPT
The elements of the Solar Power Satellite, SPS, concept
are shown in Figure 1. A fraction of the sun's energy is harvested by large solar arrays which intercept energy