Developments in Space Solar Power for Earth and Space

During the past 5 years, there have been dramatic advances in many aspects of the challenge and opportunity represented by the concept of space solar power (SSP) in general and wireless power transmission (WPT) in particular. These advances have included (1) the emergence of new infrastructures — especially low-cost launch services; (2) advances in solar power satellite (SPS) systems concepts; (3) ongoing technology developments; (4) new programs and investments by commercial and government players; (5) striking increases in planning and investments focused on exploration and development of cis-lunar space and the Moon (where SSP can be a critical enabler); and (6) identification of important new markets on Earth. In this context, the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) is currently conducting a ‘decadal review’ of SSP, involving multiple organizations and countries. This paper will explore these developments in space solar power for Earth and space, and examine the interrelationships among infrastructure advances, market and programmatic considerations, and SPS concepts, from architectures to technologies. The paper will conclude with a new draft roadmap for SSP developed for the IAA decadal review.