China Plans Orbiting Solar Power Station

It has been reported that Chinese scientists are planning a solar power station that orbits above China, gathers solar energy and then beams the resulting power down to Earth.

The power station would be a super spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit equipped with huge solar panels. The electricity generated would be converted to microwaves or lasers and transmitted to a collector on Earth.

In 1941, U.S. science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published the short story "Reason", in which a space station transmits energy collected from the sun to various planets using microwave beams.

Wang Xiji, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, says Asimov's fiction has a scientific basis.

U.S. scientist Peter Glaser published an article in the journal Science in 1968, claiming a feasible design for the space solar power system.

After devoting more than half a century to space technology research, Wang, 93, is an advocate for the station: "An economically viable space power station would be really huge, with the total area of the solar panels reaching 5 to 6 square kilometers."

I'd like to point out that the idea of transmitting collected solar energy around the solar system was published first by Clifford Simak in his 1941 short story Masquerade; see the entry for solar energy beam.

Via Xinhua Net.

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