China’s vision for a space station that will distribute electricity to Earth is presented

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China's vision for a space station that will distribute electricity to Earth is presented

A similar idea was planned by NASA roughly two decades ago, but it never materialised.

UK research has been conducted on space-based solar power.

Orbiting power plants may be able to transmit energy day and night on Earth, research suggests.

It has been determined that such satellites receive sunlight 99 percent of the time, if not more.

Story Highlights

  • According to the South China Morning Post, the satellite would “convert solar energy to microwaves or lasers and then direct the energy beams to various targets, including fixed places on Earth and moving spacecraft.”

  • Meanwhile, the UK government is funding its own research in the hopes of launching a similar satellite into orbit by 2035.

Energy could be transmitted any time of year, regardless of the weather.

But a number of challenges remain, especially when it comes to engineering.

Professor Dong Shiwei, who authored the Chinese paper, says an antenna that is thousands of miles long would be required. Wind, gravity, and satellite movement could all affect and hinder the transmission of energy.

In 2030, China aims to launch another more powerful plant if all goes according to plan. It is hoped that by 2050, technology should have advanced enough to make the power plants commercially viable.

Even still, the plants may take decades to build.