NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
SPS-ALPHA: The First Practical Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased ArrayThe vision of delivering solar power to Earth from platforms in space has been known for decades. However, early architectures to accomplish this vision were technically complex and unlikely to prove economically viable. Some of the issues with these earlier solar power satellite (SPS) concepts – particularly involving technical feasibility – were addressed by NASA’s space solar power (SSP) studies and technology research in the mid-to-late 1990s. Despite that progress, ten years ago a number of key technical and economic uncertainties remained. A new SPS concept has been proposed that resolves many, if not all, of those uncertainties: “SPSALPHA” (Solar Power Satellite by means of Arbitrarily Large Phased Array). During 2011-2012 the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program supported a Phase 1 “SPS-ALPHA” project, the goal of which was to establish the technical and economic viability of the SPS-ALPHA concept to an early TRL 3 – analytical proof-of-concept – and provide a framework for further study and technology development. The objectives of this project were to: (1) conduct an initial end-to-end systems analysis of the SPS-ALPHA concept in order to determine its technical feasibility; (2) identify and assess in greater detail the key technology challenges inherent in the architecture (including figures of merit for each critical technology area); (3) conduct an initial evaluation of the economic viability of the concept (as a function of key performance parameters); and, (4) define a preliminary roadmap for the further development of the SPS-ALPHA concept.
Document ID
Document Type
Mankins, John (Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, LLC Santa Maria, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
April 11, 2019
Publication Date
September 15, 2012
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Portions of document may include copyright protected material.

Available Downloads

NameType 20190002466.pdf STI