The Kalam-NSS International Preliminary Feasibility Study on Space Based Solar Power Stations

Announcement of the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative
The NSS Press Conference Announcement
By Dr. A.P.J. Kalam, Former President of India

Our Vision for this unique initiative, now emerging from India and the United States, the largest and oldest democracies in the world, is for all nations of the world working together to enhance the quality of human life, inspire the spirit of space exploration, expand the horizons of knowledge, and ensure space security for all nations of the world. I am of the view that the present capabilities of major space faring nations are not optimally utilized. The launch vehicles of the world, the spacecraft of the world, the application potential of the world, the space scientific research potential of the world and above all the huge costs envisaged for long term space programmes would call for a “paradigm shift” in nations to work together to bring the benefits of space to humanity as a whole. This is possible, as my experience suggests, only if we have strong cooperation of each nation contributing substantially in technology and resources.

The constraints on growth of electric power capacity like land availability, water and fuel supply chains (for coal as well as nuclear power) and silting of dams etc, are among the major factors that have, so far, limited power capacity growth world-wide, and India with its large population is among those significantly concerned. I have been discussing with leaders, professionals and common citizens in India and various parts of the world on this serious issue of energy. When I was recently in USA, whether it was in Arkansas, Houston, Kentucky or Washington DC, it was apparent that energy independence is a key focus. Both developed countries and developing countries, while trying to overcome deficits in energy, are also discussing at public policy and implementation levels, as to how to intensify research and development on renewable energy systems. This is not only from the point of view of energy availability but also from the view point of a sustainable environment.

In India, the need for space based solar power stations was identified as far back as 1993. Since then, indeed earlier from 1987, work has been carried out in India on advanced space transportation system design concepts for affordable space solar power. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) have recently carried out some preliminary concept studies on Space Solar Power and examined three SSP configurations. ISRO has also welcomed an International Preliminary Feasibility Study.

In the USA, by 1995, NASA took a “Fresh Look” at Space Solar power, in the light of several advances made in systems architectures, solar cell weight and efficiency, light weight array structures. They concluded that the technology state-of-art was adequate to establish cost-effective SSP systems.

By 2050, even if we use every available energy resource we have, clean and dirty, conventional and alternative, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, coal, oil, and gas, the world will fall short of the energy we need by 66%. There is an answer. An answer for both the developed and developing countries. That is a solar energy source that is close to infinite, an energy source that produces no carbon emissions, an energy source that can reach the most distant villages of the world, and an energy source that can turn countries into net energy exporters.

I am convinced that harvesting solar power in space can bring India and United States of America together in whole new ways. And I am certain that harvesting solar power in space can upgrade the living standard of the human race. Hence, the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative, to benefit the world community.

APJ Abdul Kalam
New Delhi
27th October, 2010

For more information see the paper KALAM-NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY ENERGY TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSAL INITIATIVE: An International Preliminary Feasibility Study on Space Based Solar Power Stations.


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