Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pentagon: Maybe Solar Power Satellites?

The Pentagon's National Security Space Office (NSSO) may begin a study in the near future on the possibility of using satellites to collect solar energy for use on Earth, according to Defense Department officials.

The officials said the study does not mean that the military plans to demonstrate or deploy a space-based solar power constellation. However, as the
Pentagon looks at a variety of alternative energy sources, this could be one possible method of supplying energy to troops in bases or on the battlefield, they said.

The military's work in this area also could aid development of a system that could provide energy to non-military users as well, according to Lt. Col. Michael Hornitschek, chief of rated force policy on the Air Force staff at the Pentagon.

Hornitschek, who has been exploring the concept of space-based solar power in his spare time, recently briefed the NSSO on the concept of space-based solar power, and stimulated interest in conducting a formal study, according to Lt. Col. M.V. 'Coyote' Smith, chief of future concepts at the NSSO. The NSSO would need to find the financial resources and available manpower to conduct the study, Smith said.

Hornitschek would lead work on the study on behalf of the NSSO if the NSSO elects to pursue it, and he said he hopes that a system could be deployed in roughly 20 years.

This isn't strictly new. Some of the old studies by the Pentagon have broguth thsi up time and again.

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