NASA to reexamine space-based solar power

WASHINGTON — NASA is starting a study to reexamine the viability of space-based solar power, a long-touted solution to providing power from space that may be getting new interest thanks to technological advances and pushes for clean energy.

In a presentation at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference May 27, Nikolai Joseph of NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy said the agency was beginning a short-term study evaluating the prospects of space-based solar power, or SBSP, the first by the agency in about two decades.

“As the technology has evolved, the feasibility of the system has changed over time,” he said. “This study is going to assess the degree to which NASA should support space-based solar power.”

Much of that interest is driven by the desire for energy sources that can achieve goals of “net zero” carbon emissions to mitigate climate change. “I think it’s one of the more promising things that we can do from a space perspective to help save the planet. We’ve got to get to 2050 net-zero,” said Karen Jones of The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy during a later panel on SBSP at the conference.

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