The National Space Society will hold a press conference Thursday, November 4 at the National Press Club to reveal one of the first initiatives ever undertaken by a non-profit American organization and a former head of state. That initiative pairs India’s eleventh President, Dr. A.P.J. Kalam with America’s National Space Society. Its name? The Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative.
The Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative’s goals? To solve the global energy crisis. To solve the global carbon crisis. And to solve America’s next generation jobs crisis. How? By harvesting solar power in space.
World electricity demand by the year 2035 is projected to increase by 87%. Renewable power generation systems (water, wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) will only meet 23% of that demand. According to Dr. A.P.J. Kalam, “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.” He adds that, “There is an answer… an energy source that produces no carbon emissions, an energy source that can reach to most distant villages of the world, and an energy source that can turn both countries into net energy and technology exporters.”
It’s space solar power.
Dr. T.K. Alex, Director of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite Centre, Bangalore, and leader of the Chandrayan-1 project that discovered water on the moon, and John Mankins, a 25-year NASA veteran considered the world’s leading authority on space solar power, will give the details via electronic feed, and National Space Society CEO Mark Hopkins will explain in person at the November 4th press conference.
# # #
Energy and India are hot topics. President Barack Obama is meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh November 7th and 8th. The two are committed to joint research and development on energy issues. The National Space Society and former Indian President Dr. Kalam believe that Obama and Prime Minister Singh should adopt space solar power as one long-term answer to their nations’ needs. To that end, the next step in the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative will be a National Space Society joint Indian-American conference on space solar power at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, May 18-22.
Space solar power has the potential to reverse America’s half a trillion dollar a year balance of payments deficit and to generate a new generation of American jobs. Why? Space solar power is a source whose basic technology is already here. The United States has been harvesting solar power in space and transmitting it to Earth since 1962, when Telstar, the first commercial satellite, went up. That satellite, Telstar, looked like a beach ball encrusted with square medallions. The medallions were photovoltaic panels. And India has been harvesting solar energy in space since 1975, when its first satellite, Aryabhata A, went into orbit. Every square centimeter of Aryabhata’s exterior was tiled with solar panels. Today harvesting energy in space and transmitting it to Earth is a quarter of a trillion dollar industry…the commercial satellite business. You use solar energy harvested in space when you watch soccer games from other continents, when you tune into satellite TV or satellite radio, when you use the Global Positioning System (GPS), when you consult the pictures in Google Earth, and when you use your cell phone.
Mark Hopkins, the CEO of the National Space Society, says, “The Kalam-NSS initiative is a transformative idea that can upshift the US and Indian economies by meeting the urgent global need for a scalable, carbon-neutral, green, 24-hr renewable power source. It is a game-changing technology that addresses energy security, sustainable development, climate change, and multinational cooperation.” Concludes Dr. A.P.J. Kalam, “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.”
# # #
Dr. T. K. Alex, who will be available to answer questions at this press conference, is the Director of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite Centre, Bangalore. He led the Chandrayaan-1 project, the first Indian mission to the Moon, which resulted in the discovery of water on the Moon’s surface. Now he is guiding and directing the development of Chandrayaan-2 and sixteen new Indian satellites. John Mankins, who will also be available, is a 25-year NASA veteran who ran NASA’s most recent multi-million dollar study of space solar power.