Pentagon study says Space Solar Power viable / Frontier Spaceport launched
Big news from “Opening” Day at Frontier Spaceport was the talk by Coyote Watanabe, avatar of Col. M.V. “Coyote” Smith, leader of the National Security Space Office study on feasibility of space-based solar power.
Coyote previewed the summary findings he’ll present later today in Colorado at the NSSO/Air Force Academy conference on space solar power.
Headline — Instead of ending the study September 15 as originally planned, the Pentagon Chief of Future Concepts said the study findings were so compelling that he’ll deliver an interim report October 11, in concert with a press event in Washington D.C., and the study will continue.
He spoke eloquently of the need for fleets of spaceplanes and reusable rockets to accomplish the baseline goals of the study, which envisions 40 powersats in geosynchronous orbit producing 10 percent of U.S. energy needs by the year 2050. (Hey, isn’t that the year Gerard O’Neill predicted way back in the 1970s? it sounded so far away then…)
A first demonstrator project in, say, the year 2015 might power a military base, be capable of sending power to disaster areas, or transmit energy to troops abroad. The cost of petroleum fuel, not only money but lives lost in wars fought over oil, is a big driver of the Pentagon’s interest in space solar power. Coyote has gone from skeptic to enthusiast since the study began.
As a futurist who launched a study with no budget using free internet tools and donated brain power, he naturally came into Second Life to see what he could see about the potential of online 3D virtual reality. That inspired Space Studies Institute to get busy on modeling a small-scale model solar power satellite and rectenna, and set up small base of operations for National Space Security Office’s public discussion blog hosted by Space Frontier Foundation, Space Solar Power .
It was a great honor to have the exciting news about the Pentagon’s thumbs-up for space solar power delivered first to the small audience at Frontier Spaceport’s eXtremely casual and eXperimental opening day.
But if news happens on Voice in Second Life and the lone space reporter on the beat is not Voice-enabled, is it news yet?
It’s a beta virtual world and every day is an experiment. How to use this place? What can it be? Could it really be the future of how we communicate, collaborate, explore, learn, do science, conduct business…?
Opening day events for Frontier Spaceport used a mix of Voice Chat and classic typed Chat. The good thing about classic chat is that it’s heard/read by residents who don’t want to use voice, can’t figure out how to enable it, don’t have the bandwidth or system to handle it, or happen to be Linux users. At least one Voice-resister changed stripes in order to listen to Coyote’s talk, but some got nothing out of it. Streaming on audio channel might be better for now for talks. I guess this is pushing the envelope a bit. We still don’t use Voice over at NASA CoLab ~
It was a really long day.
Remind me never to plan 6 hours of events in Second Life on one day ever again.
More about the rest of opening day later –
were you there? what did you think?