13 thoughts on “NASA’s Space Solar Power Plan”

  1. The way he describes the SBSP plan outlined by NASA makes it sound like NASA’s manned Mars plans circa 1990: they didn’t want to do it so they chose the most expensive plan possible and set a goal decades out.

  2. Maybe NASA is running out of lipstick for this intermittent power pig. Maybe they are tired of trying to convince us that pumping energy into a system they say is warming is a good cure. Maybe they can’t put a price on transmission systems which are not proven. Maybe that’s just me.

    1. Me:
      What are the maximum and minimum amount of sunlight a satellite in lunar HALO orbit can obtain?

      The amount of sunlight a satellite in a HALO (Highly Elliptical Orbit) around the Moon can obtain varies depending on its specific orbit parameters. The key factors that influence the sunlight exposure include the size, shape, and orientation of the orbit. The following considerations can help understand the range of sunlight exposure:

      Periapsis and Apoapsis Altitudes: The periapsis is the point in the orbit closest to the Moon, while the apoapsis is the point farthest from the Moon. The altitude at these points will influence the duration of sunlight exposure. A higher apoapsis may result in longer periods of sunlight.

      Orbital Inclination: The inclination of the orbit determines how much the orbit is tilted relative to the lunar equator. The inclination affects the range of latitudes the satellite can cover and may influence the amount of sunlight at different lunar locations.

      Ecliptic Plane Orientation: The orientation of the orbit with respect to the ecliptic plane (the plane of Earth’s orbit around the Sun) also affects the satellite’s exposure to sunlight. Optimizing this orientation can help maximize solar power generation.

      Rotation Period: The rotation period of the Moon is about 29.5 Earth days. For an object in a HALO orbit, the rotation of the Moon will influence the duration of daylight and darkness experienced during each orbit.

      Given these variables, mission planners carefully design the HALO orbit to balance the need for continuous communication with Earth, optimal observation of the lunar surface, and sufficient exposure to sunlight for power generation. The maximum sunlight exposure would typically occur when the satellite is at or near the apoapsis on the sunlit side of the Moon, while the minimum sunlight exposure would occur when the satellite is on the dark side of the Moon.

      For specific details on the planned HALO orbit of a particular mission, it is advisable to refer to mission documentation or updates provided by the space agency or organization conducting the mission.

      So it depends on how the Lunar Gateway’s Orbit is optimized. If it is optimized for maximum sunlight it would probably be in a highly inclined orbit vis-a-vis the lunar equator. At 90 degrees it would always see sunlight unless its during a Lunar Eclipse and the Gateway enter’s the Earth’s Umbra. However, thought I’d read somewhere that the idea was to be able for Orion to rendezvous with the Gateway near a Lagrange point? That would put it in a more Earth-centric lower inclination orbit around the moon. Implying it would spend some time going around the non-sunlit side of the moon. Since that would be at its Periapsis Altitude, that would help minimize the amount of time in shadow. I’d guess slightly less than to about an hour per orbit?

      Best I can come up with without hours of research on my part. If someone else knows better feel free to chime in.

      1. “However, thought I’d read somewhere that the idea was to be able for Orion to rendezvous with the Gateway near a Lagrange point? ”

        The Earth/Moon L-1 and L-2 points are around 65,000 km in front {L-1} and behind {L-2}.
        And Gateway is 3000 to 70,000 km. So at or near 70,000 km you go to either L-1 or L-2, for low delta-v cost but long travel time {so one could use more delta-v to make it a faster transit time.}. Of course one probably would not be at {or going to} the L-1 or L-2 “point” or it could be some kind of orbit around the point.
        This is somewhat old:

        –The angelic halo orbit

        The Gateway, it has recently been decided, will follow a ‘near-rectilinear halo orbit’, or NRHO.–
        And it says it takes week to do a orbit:
        “one revolution of the Gateway in its orbit about the Moon would take approximately seven days. This period was chosen to limit the number of eclipses, when the gateway would be shrouded by the Earth or Moon’s shadow.”
        So it’s designed to get most sunlight {and also always be in line of sight with Earth- which means it, precesses, once a lunar orbit??

        As I understand it, all L-points have low delta-v {around 50 m/s} to go from one to another one but one has long distances between them, though Earth/Moon L-1 and L-2 are shortest distant between them. Though could have orbit which goes from L-4 to L-5. And though, you also have orbit, going from L-1 to L-2 {going back and forth- and at any inclination}.

  3. I’m pretty sure most here will agree with two statements:

    What NASA wants to do or thinks should be done is irrelevant because they lack the ability to accomplish anything meaningful in a timely manner.

    NASA can not prevent something by ignoring it, only possibly obstruct it until a sufficient demand exists. See SpaceX.

    Orbital power will come down to one thing: profit.

  4. It is the difference between “land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the decade is out” and after that “run a space program”.
    Elon has been smart with the Mars goal. A system that can do that is immensely useful elsewhere.

  5. I’ll keep this short: NACA -> NASA -> NACA.

    Only in the 2nd incantation the final A represents the word “Aerospace” rather than “Aeronautics” or “Administration”.

    This isn’t only a necessary evolution, it is unavoidable.

    1. Space Force should be taking over the operational side so NASA can focus on the bleeding edge experimental side.

      1. Amen!

        Also assist to New Space companies including startups with seed capital. Just as they did for SpaceX.

        There’s plenty to be done funding and supplying lab resources for proof-of-concept experiments.

  6. I get a laugh out of people wanting to build space solar power prototypes or do demonstration missions.

    Yeah we need put a solar array in space because who knows if it’ll work or not? Scary! We also need to prove that it’s possible to transmit microwaves or a Laser from orbit to the surface of the Earth, we don’t know if that’ll work either… As I sit hear watching Direct TV.

Comments are closed.