The is an ever increasing need for the production of power due to the rapid increase of population in the world and increasing per capita power consumption. Most of the world’s energy supply today comes from burning fossil fuels, biogas etc., or from nuclear fission, which have harmful effects on the environment. Also fossil fuels are exhaustible. Even though some inexhaustible and non polluting energy production methods such as solar energy, tidal energy and geothermal energy are used, at present they can only supply a small portion of the global energy needs. This is where the prospect of using Space-based Solar Power  arises. In outer space there is an uninterrupted availability a huge amount of solar energy in the form of light and heat. So the use of satellites to collect the solar energy and beam it back to the earth is being considered. Solar panels can be fitted to the satellites to collect the solar energy and convert is to DC energy. This is not a new concept for satellites, because this method is already in practice to supply the power for the satellites in orbit. What is new is the concept of transmitting the energy back to the earth to produce electricity. This method of producing electric power is possible and it can solve all the world’s energy problems, though it has not come into implementation yet. The use of solar power satellites and wireless power transmission has great potential to supply to the demand of the worlds growing power requirements and it is expected that it will come into implementation by the year 2050 . There are still a number of technologies which have to be developed for the realization of the Space solar power but, there is an urgent need for a solution to the energy problems of the world. Reason for the requirement of SSP is given in the next section.
2. The Need for Alternative Power Sources 2.1 Market for power
The growing population and constant industrial developments have exponentially increased the amount of power consumed by the world. The trend according to many scientists will continue for quite some time and the demand for power is only set to increase. By 2050, according to some estimates, 10 billion people will inhabit the globe--more than 85 percent of them in developing countries. The global energy marketplace is very dynamic. World population is increasing by about 80 million each year . The multinational "middle class" is growing still more quickly. The US Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Information Agency (EIA) has projected that the world-wide use of energy will approximately double in the next twenty years - and that it will about double again in the twenty years that follow. These projections are founded on the ongoing growth in populations in the developing world and simultaneous growth in the per capita consumption of power in those nations. The development of a nation is related directly to the power that it consumes. The more remote places of the world are being connected to the grid and more countries are undergoing development. Thus the need for power is exploding at a phenomenal rate.
2.2 Problems with present sources of power
The big question: How can we best supply humanity's growing energy needs with the least adverse impact on the environment? Dependence on fossil fuels is not the answer because burning coal, oil, and gas will pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, raising the risk of global climate change. (And of course these resources will not last forever.) Nuclear fission reactors avoid the greenhouse problem but introduce the so-far intractable problem of disposing of nuclear waste. Controlled nuclear fusion might someday provide an inexhaustible supply of clean energy-but after forty years of continuous funding, a practical fusion reactor is still not in sight. That leaves the menu of renewable energy sources. But terrestrial renewable sources pose environmental problems because of their relatively large land requirements. Hydropower,
the most exploited renewable thus far, has significantly disrupted ecosystems and human habitats. Solar, biomass, and wind farms would similarly compete with people, agriculture, and natural ecosystems for land were they the basis of a global energy system. Moreover, ground-based renewable energy systems, such as terrestrial photovoltaic cells and biomass fuels, generate fewer than 10 watts of electricity per square meter, on a continuous basis. To generate enough electricity to meet demand could require developing countries either to divert land from agricultural use, and thus diminish the supply of food, or to destroy natural ecosystems, a move that could hasten the onset of global warming.
Fig 2.1: the share of different sources in the world’s energy supply. 
3. Space Based Solar Power 3.1 Solar power
Solar energy is the radiant light and heat from the Sun that has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation along with secondary solar resources such as wind power, wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass account for most of the available renewable energy on Earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used. Solar power provides electrical generation by means of heat engines or photovoltaic cells. Once converted, its uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, hot water, thermal energy for cooking, and high
temperature process heat for industrial purposes. The figure 3.1 shows the process of converting solar irradiance to electrical energy
Fig 3.1: the process of converting solar radiation to electrical energy
3.2 Benefits and limitations of terrestrial solar power
Power obtained from the suns energy has certain advantages over other methods of power generation. Solar power is the most abundantly available form of energy. Also the power can be generated from the suns energy without any undesirable by-products. Using solar power can greatly reduce the amount of annual CO2 emission which is largely responsible of global warming Despite of the advantages there are still some drawbacks in producing solar power from solar power plants. ,, • The efficiency of the solar panels used to collect energy and generate power is small ranging up to 25%. • • The land area required for the solar power plants is more. The implementation of power generation from solar energy is at present costlier than the conventional power generation methods.
3.3 Benefits of space based solar power
The sun’s radiation can be converted into electrical energy even is space using the any of the current methods employed to generate solar power such as photovoltaic cells, but there are certain advantages of collecting solar energy in space using satellites. The sun’s energy is almost continuously available to a satellite located in a geosynchronous orbit about the earth (leading promoters of space based solar power schemes to dub it "base load solar power"). A 2007 study by the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office which included representatives from DOE/NREL, DARPA, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin found that a onekilometer-wide band of space in earth orbit receives enough solar energy in just one year (approximately 212 terawatt-years) nearly equal to “the amount of energy contained within all known recoverable conventional oil reserves on Earth today” (approximately 250 TW-yrs). The Pentagon study suggested such a system could be tested as early as 2012, with the likely first customer being the US military.  There are a number of key advantages that make space based solar power an interesting alternative to ground-based solar power:
There is more energy to be collected - the sun is 8-10 times more intense in orbit than on the surface of the Earth
Space based systems can collect energy almost around the clock Ground-based systems suffer from weather phenomena such as clouds, precipitation, and dust - space based system do not (though the increasing amount of junk in orbit poses a similar hazard)
Real estate costs are minimal - the only land that need be acquired is the land for the receiving station.
Transmission line costs are greatly reduced compared to remote generation facilities if the ground station is located near existing transmission lines
4. Solar Power Satellites (SPS)
The Solar Power Satellite ,, is expected to be the means for harnessing space solar power. NASA, JAXA, and USRI have actively been conducting research on this concept. The summary of outcome of the past few decades of research on SPS is presented below.
4.1 The Basic concept of SPS
The concept of the Solar Power Satellite (SPS) is very simple. It is a gigantic satellite designed as an electric power plant orbiting the earth as shown in the fig 4.1. It consists of mainly three functional units: a solar energy collector to convert the solar energy into DC (direct current) electricity, a DC-to-microwave converter, and a large antenna array to beam the microwave power to the ground. The solar collector can be either photovoltaic cells or a solar thermal turbine. The DC-to-microwave converter of the SPS can either be a microwave tube system and/or a semiconductor system, or their combination. The third segment is a gigantic antenna array. The power beam must be controlled accurately to less than 0.0005 degrees.
Fig 4.1: The concept of Solar Power Satellite The SPS system is composed of a space segment and a ground power receiving site. The latter uses a device to receive and rectify the microwave power beam. The device is called a rectenna (rectifying antenna). The rectenna system converts the microwave power back to DC power and is connected to existing electric power networks. The electricity sometimes can be converted to other forms of energy.
4.2 SPS systems
The entire SPS system consists of two parts, the space segment and ground segment.
The space segment is the satellite part which will be the space solar power station. This part is responsible for reception and conversion of solar energy to electrical power and also transmitting the power to earth in the form of microwave energy. The key components of the satellite are solar panels, microwave oscillator, and transmitting antenna. The concept of using solar power in satellites is not new, in fact the satellites in orbit today use solar power to power their on board systems. The figure 4.1 a regular satellite powered by solar panels.
Fig 4.1: A satellite with solar panels in orbit
Solar energy conversion (solar photons to DC current): Two basic methods of converting sunlight to electricity have been studied: photovoltaic (PV) conversion, and solar dynamic (SD) conversion. Most analyses of solar power satellites have focused on photovoltaic conversion (commonly known as “solar cells”). Photovoltaic conversion uses semiconductor cells (e.g., silicon or gallium arsenide) to directly convert photons into electrical power via a quantum mechanical mechanism. Photovoltaic cells are not perfect in practice, as material purity and processing issues during production affect performance; each has been progressively improved for some decades. Some new, thin-film approaches are less efficient (about 20% vs. 35% for best in class in each case), but are much less expensive and generally lighter.
Size of solar cell array: The solar cell array size for the SPS has to be very large with and area in the range of kilometers to produce enough for the making the system to be affordable. Converting DC to Microwave power: To convert the DC power microwave power for the transmission through antenna to the receiving antenna any microwave oscillator can be used. The various microwave oscillators include the klystrons and magnetron. The magnetron model is most preferred due to high efficiency. Transmitter: The power has to be beamed to the receiving point on earth. The beamed energy has to travel a very large distance (36,000km in GEO) from orbit and through the earth’s atmosphere. A very large, high power antenna array has to be used. The phased array antenna model is used to concentrate the beam so that it can reach the target ground station. A phased array is a group of antennas in which the relative phases of the respective signals feeding the antennas are varied in such a way that the effective radiation pattern of the array is reinforced in a desired direction and suppressed in undesired directions.
The SPS system will require a large receiving area with a rectenna array and the power network connected to the existing power grids on the ground. Although each rectenna element supplies only a few watts, the total received power is in the gigawatts. The word “rectenna”   is formed from “rectifying circuit” and “antenna.” The rectenna receives microwave energy and converts it to DC electricity. The rectenna is a passive element with a rectifying diode, and is operated without any extra power source. The rectenna has a low-pass filter between the antenna and the rectifying diode to suppress re-radiation of higher harmonics. It also has an output smoothing filter. The rectenna can have any type of antennas including dipole, YagiUda antenna, micro strip antenna, or even parabolic antenna.
5. Wireless Power Transmission
If power is collected in space a mechanism is needed to transfer the power to earth so it can be connected to the power grid and distributed to various locations. But it is not reasonable to connect the space power station to the earth with conducting cables and wire. The wireless transmission of energy  has been contemplated as the most logical solution to cater to the problem of power transmission from space to earth.
5.1 Theoretical Background
It is known that electromagnetic energy also associated with the propagation of the electromagnetic waves. We can use theoretically all electromagnetic waves for a wireless power transmission (WPT). The difference between the WPT and communication systems is only efficiency. The Maxwell’s Equations indicate that the electromagnetic field and its power diffuse to all directions. Typical WPT is a point-to-point power transmission. For the WPT, we had better concentrate power to receiver. It was proved that the power transmission efficiency can approach close to 100%. Famous power tapers of the transmitting antenna are Gaussian taper, Taylor distribution, and Chebychev distribution. These taper of the transmitting antenna is commonly used for suppression of sidelobes. It corresponds to increase the power transmission efficiency. Future suitable and largest application of the WPT via microwave is a Space Solar Power Satellite (SPS).
5.2 Microwave power transmission:
Microwave power transmission (MPT) is the use of microwaves to transmit power through outer space or the atmosphere without the need for wires. It is a sub-type of the more general wireless energy transfer methods. The reasons for microwave power transmission being the preferred choice for wireless power transmission is because of • • • High penetration through atmosphere Availability of more band width and The high gain and directivity of the microwaves.
Microwave transmission is usually used in satellite communication. MPT is similar to the microwave transmissions for satellite communication in terms of the antenna array of transmitters and receivers but it has some distinct requirements. 1) For microwave power transmission (MPT), highly efficient energy transmission between the transmitter and the receiver antennas is required. The product of the transmitter and receiver diameters is a key parameter. A huge array is necessary for high efficiency. The diameters are on the order of kilometers and the number of their elements is on the order of billions for the SPS. The efficiency is about 90%. 2) The microwave beam should be correctly directed to the rectenna site. Pointing accuracy 3oo m or less from GEO (36,000 km in altitude) is required for a rectenna diameter of a few to several kilometers. This corresponds to 0.0005º. 5) Highly efficient and light weight power transmitters with low harmonics need to be developed. The low weight to power ratio is important for decreasing the launch cost. The microwave devices for the SPS power transmitters are either semiconductor devices or microwave tubes.
5.3 Recommended microwave power transmission
As a result of technical research based on the SPS 2000 conceptual study, wireless power transmission at 2.45 GHz is found to be the most practical method that can be applied for the early stage of space solar power stations. Although various ideas of wireless power transmission have been proposed for future systems, only 2.45 GHz can be recommended to be standardized as a practical standard for the following reasons. 1. Industrial targets of transmitting antenna design 2. Autonomy of rectenna research 3. Interference with radio communications
6. SPS key technologies
The feasibility of the deploying the commercial SPS system depends on the development of cost efficient technologies for design, manufacturing and control of the satellite and ground systems. The various key technologies involved in the success of solar power satellites are: (a). Launch and transportation The SPS is a gigantic space power station of ten thousand tons orbiting in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO). This is one hundred times larger than the present international space station in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). Therefore, economical launch and transportation vehicles for massive material, such as the commercially available Falcon 9  from Space X, or other private commercial transportation providers, are required in order to realize an SPS that could provide power from space at a reasonable cost. For the launch and construction of SPS, the following two vehicles are to be developed. One is a Reusable Transport Vehicle ,  to transport heavy materials, at a reasonably low cost, to a LEO where assembly will be conducted. The other is an Orbital Transport Vehicle to lift the SPS from the LEO to the final orbit (GEO). These two rocket technologies are essential for realization of the SPS system. With the current technologies the price of putting a SPS into orbit would cost too much for it to have completive price with other power production methods. (b). Solar power generation system To realize a commercial SPS, we have to resolve the following three technical issues regarding solar cells. 1. Weight reduction 2. Cost reduction 3. Mass production feasibility The current state-of-the art space solar cells are heavy, fragile, and have severe materials constraints. The next generation of cells will incorporate nanostructure materials, which will increase the efficiency of solar conversion through quantum mechanical
confinement effects. This approach will allow the use of lightweight, flexible substrates, greatly improving the power/mass ratio and the physical durability of the cells. Composites of polymers and nano-materials offer the potential ultra-lightweight flexible thin film solar cells. Ultra-light weight arrays , of solar cells have recently been developed which have a capability of providing very high power/kg ratio.
Fig 6.1: ultra thin solar cell array. (c). Thermal control technology Recently, SPS designers have noted the importance of a thermal control technology because recent SPS models adopt solar cells with concentrators in order to reduce the weight of solar cells and also adopt the solar cell – microwave ‘sandwich’ system modules in order to reduce heavy power lines. The concentrators and the sandwich modules cause thermal problems because of higher solar power inputs to the limited cell area. The reference system designed by NASA and DOE  had large heat radiation panels behind solar cells to avoid the thermal problems. As a countermeasure, a surface cover with a wavelength selection function is proposed in Japan to reduce heat inputs. The thermal control technologies are important topics in SPS system design.
(d). Microwave power transmission on SPS The technology employed for generating microwave radiation is extremely important for the SPS system. It should be highly efficient, very low noise, and have an acceptable weight/power ratio. A microwave energy transmitter often uses 2.45 GHz or 5.8 GHz in the ISM band (ISM=Industry, Science, and Medical). There are two types of microwave generators and amplifiers, the microwave tube and the semiconductor amplifier. These have contrasting electric characteristics. The microwave tube, such as a cooker-type magnetron, can generate and amplify high power microwaves (over kilowatts) with a high voltage (over kilovolts). It is very economical. The semiconductor amplifier generate low power microwave (below 100W) with a low voltage (below fifteen volts) . It currently is still expensive. There are some discussion concerning conversion and amplifier efficiency, however, the microwave tube has higher efficiency (over 70%) and the semiconductor has lower efficiency (below 50%). The weight of the MPT system is also important for reducing the transportation cost of the SPS. Microwave tube is lighter than a semiconductor amplifier when we compare the weight by power-weight ratio (kg/kW) because the microwave tube can generate and amplify higher power microwaves than can the semiconductor amplifier. Detailed research results concerning these microwave generators and amplifiers are described below. (e). Target detection and beam control It is important that all of the transmitted microwave power is collected in the rectenna site on the ground. The absorption by the atmosphere is to be less than 2%. Accuracies of target detection and beam forming are very important in increasing the beam collection efficiency. The beam control is possible using reflector antennas on the ground segment to help align the transmitter with the computer control. (f). Rectennas (rectifying antenna) and ground network The SPS system will require a large receiving area with a rectenna array and the power network connected to the existing power grids on the ground. Although each rectenna element supplies only a few watts, the total received power is in the gigawatts. The existing power network is much larger: hundreds GW. It is important to study the rectenna element, array, and networks step by step to realize the SPS system.
7. SPS RESEARCH: models proposed by various countries 7.1 US research:
Sun tower: The “Sun Tower”  SSP Concept is one of the new models and exploits several innovative approaches to reduce the SSP development and life-cycle cost, while at the same time broadening market flexibility. The concept will entail relatively small individual system components with an extensively evolvable modularity as depicted in fig.7.1
Fig 7.1: the sun tower structure Integrated Symmetrical Concentrator: The integrated symmetrical concentrator , shown in fig 7.2, is the latest model proposed by the US after the review of various technologies concerning the SPS systems. It redirects the Sun's energy by reflection, rather than first converting it to electricity and then distributing it over long cable lines. The concept is based on an unusual structural configuration consisting of two symmetrical clusters of very large, flat solar reflectors, arranged so that they reflect and concentrate the Sun's energy on another structure consisting of two solar arrays surrounding a central transmitter. This second structure would then rotate so that the transmitter continuously points to the Earth while the solar reflectors always face the Sun.
Fig 7.2 Integrated symmetrical concentrator
7.2 Japanese research:
JAXA 2003 Model (Formation Flying SPS) :
Fig 7.3: JAXA reference model 2003 The NASA-DOE Reference Model hinted at the need for a rotating joint. This mechanism becomes necessary because the Primary Mirror and the Conversion Module
inherently have different requirements. The Primary Mirror must constantly rotate in three dimensions to accommodate the Sun. It must reflect sunlight to the Conversion Module. However, the Conversion Module that beams energy down to an Earth station cannot be rotated. It was assumed by all SPS developers that the Primary Mirror must be mechanically connected to the Conversion Module. In 2003, "Formation Flying", a major breakthrough in SPS development, was proposed. In this new proposal, the Primary Mirror is physically separated from the Conversion Module. The 2003 JAXA model is shown in Fig.7.3. It is based on a formation-flight of a rotating mirror system and an integrated panel composed of a photo-voltaic cell surface on one side and a phased array microwave antenna on the other side. The lifting force provided by solar pressure can be used to fly the Primary Mirrors independently. Formation flying mirrors are used to eliminate the need for the rotary joints. The whole system becomes more mechanically stable and reliable.
7.3 European Research
The Sail Tower:
Fig 7.4: the European “sail tower” model Europeans proposed a Sail Tower SPS (fig 7.4). The Sail Tower  design is similar to NASA’s Sun Tower SPS but uses a thin-film technology and innovative deployment mechanisms developed for solar sails. The main characteristics are summarized in Table 7.1 16
Each single sail is 150m×150m and is automatically deployed by extending four diagonal light-weight carbon fiber (CFRP) booms that are initially rolled up on a central hub. The power generated within the sail modules is transmitted through the central tether to the antenna where microwaves of 2.45 GHz are generated in mass-produced inexpensive magnetrons. Slotted carbon-fiber waveguides mounted on the antenna main structure are used as active antenna elements.
Table 7.1 characteristics of the “sail tower” As the phased arrays, several sets of wave guides radiate the microwave power to the rectennas on the Earth where the power is transformed and fed into the existing power distribution networks. The power intensity across the antenna surface is designed with a truncated 10 dB Gaussian distribution that minimizes side lobes and scattering. This technology is much more developed than laser power transmission and promises much higher system efficiencies with almost no weather dependency.
8. Advantages and drawbacks of Space Solar Power Advantages of Space Solar Power
Unlike oil, gas, ethanol, and coal plants, space solar power does not emit greenhouse gases.
Unlike coal and nuclear plants, space solar power does not compete for or depend upon increasingly scarce fresh water resources.
Unlike bio-ethanol or bio-diesel, space solar power does not compete for increasingly valuable farm land or depend on natural-gas-derived fertilizer. Food can continue to be a major export instead of a fuel provider.
Unlike nuclear power plants, space solar power will not produce hazardous waste, which needs to be stored and guarded for hundreds of years.
Unlike terrestrial solar and wind power plants, space solar power is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in huge quantities. It works regardless of cloud cover, daylight, or wind speed.
Unlike nuclear power plants, space solar power does not provide easy targets for terrorists.
Space solar power will provide true energy independence for the nations that develop it, eliminating a major source of national competition for limited Earth-based energy resources.
Space solar power will not require dependence on unstable or hostile foreign oil providers to meet energy needs, enabling us to expend resources in other ways.
Space solar power can take advantage of our current and historic investment in aerospace expertise to expand employment opportunities in solving the difficult problems of energy security and climate change.
Space solar power can provide a market large enough to develop the low-cost space transportation system that is required for its deployment. This, in turn, will also bring the resources of the solar system within economic reach. ,
Disadvantages of Space Solar Power
Though there are many benefits of using solar power satellites and space based solar power there are still some obstacles in the way of the complete realization of this goal. 1. Maintenance of SPS is expensive and challenging. 2. Requires a large reduction in launch and in place costs to compete effectively with ground-based solar. 3. Geosynchronous orbit is already in heavy use; could be endangered by space debris coming from such a large project. 4. The size of construction for the rectanna is massive. 
The increasing global energy demand is likely to continue for many decades. New power plants of all sizes will be built. However, the environmental impact of those plants and their impact on world energy supplies and geopolitical relationships can be problematic. Renewable energy is necessary approach. However, many renewable energy sources are limited in their ability to affordably provide the base load power required for global industrial development and prosperity, because of inherent land and water requirements. Based on current research space based solar power should no longer be envisioned as requiring unimaginably large initial investments in fixed infrastructure before the emplacement of productive power plants can begin. Moreover, space solar power systems appear to possess many significant environmental advantages when compared to alternative approaches to meeting increasing terrestrial demands for energy - including requiring considerably less land area than terrestrially-based solar power systems. Though the success of space solar power depends on successful development of key technology, it is certain the result will be worth the effort.
1. Frank Paul Davidson, Katinka I. Csigi, Peter E. Glaser, Solar Power Satellites: A Space Energy System for Earth. 2. http://www.spacefuture.com/ 3. URSI Inter-commission Working Group on SPS, Supporting Document for the URSI White Paper on Solar Power Satellite Systems, July 2006. 4. http://www.spacefuture.com/archive/a_fresh_look_at_space_solar_power_new_ architectures_concepts_and_technologies.shtml 5. Lin, J.C.,” Space solar-power stations, wireless power transmissions, and biological implications”, Microwave magazine, IEEE, 2002, volume3, pg. 36-42 6. Brown, W. C., “Beamed microwave power transmission and its application to space”, IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech., vol. 40, no. 6, 1992, pp.1239-1250 7. http://www.spacefuture.com/archive/early_commercial_demonstration_of_space_solar _power_using_ultra_lightweight_arrays.shtml 8. http://www.spacetransportnews.com/ 9. http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12673299 10. http://www.spacereveiw.com/