Space Based Solar Power Wins Big in D3 Competition


Space based solar power has long been one of the key concepts that advocates and visionaries have hung their hats on as a possible leveraging industry which could catapult a global space economy. For reasons which are hard to fathom considering how much the United States spends on certain space endeavors, it has never gained sufficient traction to earn a serious demonstration in orbit. Now however, thanks to SpaceX and also Blue Origin, one of the primary stumbling blocks to even contemplating development of large scale systems, the absurd costs of fully expendable launch vehicles, appears to be on the verge of coming down.

That in itself is somewhat ironic, given that at one time, SSP advocates touted the benefits of their plans as a reason to invest in lower cost launchers in the first place. Irrespective of who assumes the role of chicken, and who takes that of the egg, things are changing, and a recent win by the Space Solar Power D3 team in the Diplomacy, Defense and Development competition (D3) competition, could prove to be a catalyst in movement which has been a long time coming.

The National Space Society details the win in the press release which follows, but it is well worth checking out the YouTube video explaining the proposal. It is a rare thing to find a concept which makes so much sense, and is so timely for so many reasons. You may be able to tell a great deal about climate change and the global warming industry by how it responds, or doesn’t, to the proposal.

National Space Society Press Release

(Washington, DC — March 7, 2016)

Team MembersPaul Jaffe and Peter Garretson with Awards

Team MembersPaul Jaffe and Peter Garretson with Awards

The National Space Society congratulates the Space Solar Power D3 (SSPD3) team on sweeping the awards in a March 2 multi-departmental competition to find promising new technology ideas that could simultaneously advance diplomacy, defense and development (D3). The SSPD3 team proposal was titled “Carbon-Free Energy for Global Resilience and International Goodwill.”

“Our multi-agency industry team proposal was in the top 1% of ideas picked to present to the very senior panel including the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the D3 Innovation Challenge, a first-of-a-kind contest for ideas sourced from across the Department of Defense, Department of State, and United States Agency for International Development by the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State themselves,” said team member Peter Garretson. “Our idea to start a national Space Solar Power Program won hands down, taking four of seven possible awards,” he said.

The SSPD3 7-minute presentation is below, followed by 4 minutes of questions.

Space Solar Power (SSP) is an energy concept where an orbiting satellite gathers energy from sunlight in space and transmits it wirelessly to Earth. SSP can solve our energy and greenhouse gas emissions problems and provide large quantities of energy to each and every person on Earth with very little environmental impact. This was the first time that SSP was briefed at such a high level.

The space solar power D3 team includes members of the Air Force’s Air University, the Naval Research Lab, Northrop Grumman, NASA, the Joint Staff Logistics and Energy Division, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration, the Army, and the Space Development Steering Committee.

“Space Solar Power has made a giant leap forward thanks to Paul Jaffe, Peter Garretson, and the rest of the team,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President  and Chairman of the NSS Policy Committee, adding, “We at NSS look forward to continuing to promote SSP at the national and international levels.” Space Solar Power is one of the milestones that NSS envisions on the road to a prosperous future where the resources of space come to benefit us on Earth. The NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement ( ) documents this and other milestones.



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