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Gordon Woodcock, Friday, 6-14-13 June 13, 2013

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Gordon Woodcock, Friday, 6-14-13


Guest:  Gordon Woodcock.  Topics: Financial analysis for an SSP Power System, competing SSP ideas & plans.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information.

We welcomed Gordon Woodcock to the program to discuss his ISDC 2013 financial analysis presentation for an SSP power system.  This presentation is available for your consideration on after the program summary on The Space Show blog for this program per the above URL.  In addition, visit the SolarHigh.Org website for more information at www.solarhigh.org.  In the first segment of our two part 90 minute discussion with Mr. Woodcock, we were introduced to the concept of space solar power from the initial work of Peter Glazer followed by microwave expert Bill Brown.  Mr. Woodcock then discussed the need for large space transmission and Earth based receiving antennas, the need to use GEO for the SSP satellites, and some basics about beaming microwave power.  Economic & financial concepts were introduced along with the need for systems to be affordable, reusable and generate acceptable ROIs.  However, as you will hear, all of this is hard to do at this stage given the need for research and demo systems for proving out the best engineering approaches and designs.  We talked about solar efficiencies and the trade in mass with thin film lighter material with only about a 30% energy efficiency but because of their lighter weight, the trade allows us to launch & deploy bigger systems giving us more bang for the buck, so to speak.  Gordon also talked about efficient transmitter systems & the use of 5.8 GHz.  In this segment we talked about lowering launch costs, increasing the launch rate, and the competitive price for terrestrial electric power.  Earlier in the segment, Gordon  suggested the need for a one year payback but Tony sent in a question suggesting longer paybacks, all of which were acceptable scenarios as long as they were roughly competitive with highly risky terrestrial investments.

In the second segment, we talked about starting with smaller systems & demos, all followed by incremental project development.  We also talked about specific space and terrestrial antenna size and ratios as well as the size of power systems, even up to 2,000 MW or larger.  Mr. Woodcock went over the idea of raising the frequency and what this might mean for a demo as well as an operating power project system.  Questions came in regarding on orbit system repairs and maintenance.  Our guest said the systems would need to be serviced robotically.  We talked about the environment for SSP systems at this time & into the near and medium term & possible fossil fuel competition given new energy extraction methods.  Crowd funding was suggested as a way to fund some of the needed research which our guest said could be done in many competent labs in the U.S.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can contact Gordon Woodcock through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.  Don’t forget, for those of you interested in the opportunity to submit feedback on the NRC congressionally mandated Human Spaceflight Study, please go to www.nationalacademies.org/humanspaceflight.

SPS briefing for ISDC