15 December 1997
News - Other (None)
SPS 2000 Receives New Grant
Field Research in Equatorial Countries to Continue
by Patrick Collins
A new grant has been provided by the Japanese Ministry of Education to enable the team of Professor Hideo Matsuoka, Professor Makoto Nagatomo and Dr Patrick Collins to continue their field research selecting rectenna sites for the " SPS 2000" Project in equatorial countries. The SPS 2000 satellite is being planned to transmit 10 MW of solar-generated microwave energy from an altitude of 1100 km above the equator to a number of rectennas within +/- 3 degrees latitude.

This grant should enable the research to continue to achieve a "full house" of the maximum possible number of rectennas round the equator. SPS 2000 rectennas need to be some 1000 km apart in order to achieve the maximum transmission time of 200 seconds each at each rectenna. Selecting 12 rectenna sites will enable the SPS 2000 satellite - as well as other microwave power generating satellites in low equatorial orbit which it is hoped will follow SPS 2000 - to achieve a load factor of about 40%.

SPS 2000 is a pilot plant, intended primarily to demonstrate the operation of a real SPS system. As such it does not need to be profitable in order to be worthwhile. (Research into other energy sources consumes tens of $billions/year around the world without earning commercial revenues.)

Nevertheless, the more SPS 2000 rectennas that are built and operated around the equator, the greater the range of operating experience that will be accumulated, and the better the chance that follow-on satellites will be able to earn profits by selling "microwave fuel" to the rectenna users around the equator.

This grant will keep the field work under way, and will generate new material for Equatorial Times, until the year 2000 - by which time it is hoped that the first SPS 2000 satellite will be under construction!
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Patrick Collins 15 December 1997
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