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Can China Create Megawatt Solar Power Satellites By 2030?

Building a solar power station in space sounds very sci-fi, but the reality is also not easy - says the article.

(Conceptual illustration of space solar power station)

Looking forward to the future, the long-awaited Bishan Space Solar Power Station Experimental Base (hereinafter referred to as the Bishan Base) has finally started construction. Zhong Yuanchang, a key expert on the team and a professor at the School of Microelectronics and Communication Engineering of Chongqing University, told the China Science Daily that the base is expected to be completed by the end of the year and related tests will officially begin next year. In the early stage, they have carried out energy transmission experiments at an altitude of 300 meters.

According to reports, only a few countries such as China, the United States, and Japan have actually carried out ground verification of space solar power plants. In my country, in addition to Yang Shizhong's team, the team of Duan Baoyan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor of Xidian University, is also intensively carrying out related experiments.

As early as August 2010, at the space solar power plant technology seminar held by the China Academy of Space Technology, 12 academicians and more than a hundred experts in related fields put forward a roadmap for the development of space solar power plants in my country.

According to the roadmap, my country will build megawatt-scale small space solar test power stations from 2030, and have the capacity to build gigawatt-level commercial space solar power stations by 2050. The first stage is divided into three specific steps. First, the ground and aerostat test verification of key technologies are carried out, followed by the verification of high-altitude ultra-high voltage power generation and transmission, and finally the space wireless energy transmission test.

Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker (1939) described Near-Space Solar Energy Collectors which gathered energy from photosynthesis stations.

Isaac Asimov's 1941 short story Reason described a solar station which beamed energy around the solar system. However, I think Clifford Simak was earlier (by about one month!) with his Solar Energy Beam from his 1941 short story Masquerade.

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