Inside China’s plan for space power plant that will beam energy onto Earth
CHINA is planning to begin building the first-ever space-based power station in 2028.
The updated plans were revealed in a recently-published journal article in Chinese Space Science and Technology.
In 2028, a trial satellite will be sent into orbit to test the technology being used.
The satellite will “convert solar energy to microwaves or lasers and then direct the energy beams to various targets, including fixed locations on Earth and moving satellites” the South China Morning Post reports.
NASA had proposed a similar project about two decades ago but it never came to fruition.
Meanwhile, the UK government has supported research of its own in hopes of having a similar version in orbit by 2035.
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UK research has been conducted on space-based solar power.
It has been determined that such satellites receive sunlight 99 percent of the time, if not more.
Orbiting power plants may be able to transmit energy day and night on Earth, research suggests.
Energy could be transmitted any time of year, regardless of the weather.
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But a number of challenges remain, especially when it comes to engineering.
Professor Dong Shiwei, who authored the Chinese paper, says an antenna that is thousands of miles long would be required.
Wind, gravity, and satellite movement could all affect and hinder the transmission of energy.
In 2030, China aims to launch another more powerful plant if all goes according to plan.
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It is hoped that by 2050, technology should have advanced enough to make the power plants commercially viable.
Even still, the plants may take decades to build.
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