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Space-Based Solar Power Beams Become Next Energy Frontier

A Pentagon report released in October could mean the stars are finally aligning for space-based solar power, or SBSP. According to the report, SBSP is becoming more feasible, and eventually could help head off crises such as climate change and wars over diminishing energy supplies. “The challenge is one of perception,” says John Mankins, president of the Space Power Association and the leader of NASA’s mid-1990s SBSP study. “There are people in senior leadership positions who believe everything in space has to cost trillions.”

The new report imagines a market-based approach. Eventually, SBSP may become enormously profitable — and the Pentagon hopes it will lure the growing private space industry. The government would fund launches to place initial arrays in orbit by 2016, with private firms taking over operations from there. This plan could limit government costs to about $10 billion.

San Francisco Chronicle

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