Currently, four major research activities associated with the SSPS are conducted by JAXA. The first floor is the demonstration of wireless power transmission by microwave and laser. JAXA will test technologies including training and pointing of a beam of microwaves (on the order of kW) over a distance of 50m. Research will also be conducted to develop a technology to directly convert sunlight into laser beam. The second research topic is the development of technologies for building structures of a few hundred meters for both a panel with a thickness of 0.1 m and a lightweight mirror with a density of 300g/m2. These technologies will be built at first experienced on the ground. The third line of research is the preparation of experiments demonstrating wireless power transmission in orbit. Experiments transmission power of the order of kilowatts from space to ground and will be carried out. A small scientific satellite currently under development at the JAXA module or JEM (Japanese Experiment Module) of the International Space Station will serve as a platform for these tests. The fourth area of study is to establish a realistic roadmap for a market an SSPS in the 2030s.
JAXA has started the development of demonstration systems on the ground of the wireless transmission of energy of 1 kW, both microwave and laser. These experiences should be completed late 2013. Based on the design of the demonstration system on the ground, experience power transmission by microwaves from space will be made around 2015. If the technologies needed to release a laser are ready for that time, they will also be tested from space. When the experiences of power transmission to the ground and in orbit are completed, the choice between microwave and laser will be made. Following this selection, JAXA will embark on a demonstration of about 100 kW in space. At this stage, all the core technologies have been verified and the system configuration is selected commercial SSPS. The estimated cost of energy production and acceptance of this new technology by the public will be important factors in this decision.
Testing for commercial SSPS will be done with facilities capable of producing
* first a 2 megawatt system in 2020
* 200 megawatts in 2025
* The construction of an SSPS for commercial production of 1GW of electricity would have to start in the 2030s.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.