1002 thinsats (5 kg launch weight)
in a rotating geodesic array

5 gram, 16 cm wide, 70 μm thick thinsat

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Server Sky - internet and computation in orbit

It is easier to move terabits than kilograms or megawatts. Space solar power will solve the energy crisis. Sooner if we process space power into high value computation before we send it to earth. Computation is most valuable where it is rarest - in the rural developing world. Human attention is the most valuable resource on earth, and Server Sky space-based internet can transport that attention from where it is most abundant to where it is most valued.

Click RecentChanges on any page to see what I've been working on lately. This website is a public work in progress - warts and all.

Server Sky thinsats are ultralight aluminum foil substrates that convert sunlight into computation and communications. Powered by solar cells, propelled and steered by light pressure, networked and located by microwaves, and cooled by radiation into deep space. Arrays of tens of thousands of thinsats act as highly redundant computation and database servers, as well as phased array antennas to reach thousands of transceivers on the ground.

First generation Version 6 thinsats are 16 centimeters across (about 6 inches) and 0.07 millimeters (70 microns) thick, and weigh 5 grams. They can be mass produced with off-the-shelf semiconductor and display technologies. Thousands of antennas provide intra-array, inter-array, and ground communication, as well as precise location information. Thinsats are launched stacked by the thousands in solid cylinders, shrouded and vibration isolated inside a traditional satellite bus.

Traditional data centers consume almost 3% of US electrical power, and this fraction is growing rapidly. Server arrays in orbit can grow to virtually unlimited computation power, communicate with the whole world, pay for themselves with electricity savings, and greatly reduce pollution and resource usage in the biosphere.

The goal is an energy and space launch growth path that follows Moore's Law, with the cost of energy and launch halving every two years. Server Sky may cost ten times as much as ground-based computation in 2020, but it may cost 100 times less in 2040. The computation growth driven by Moore's Law is solving difficult problems from genetics to improved manufacture for semiconductors. If Server Sky and Moore's Law can do the same for clean energy, we can get rid of the carbon fuel plants, undam the rivers, and reduce atmospheric CO2 far sooner than we had dared hope. Energy production systems based on manual manufacturing, human construction assembly, and the use of terrestrial land, biological habitat, and surface water, packaged to survive weather, gravity, and corrosion, cannot grow at the same rate as Moore's Law.

Server Sky is speculative. The most likely technical showstopper is radiation damage. The most likely practical showstopper is misunderstanding. Working together, we can fix the latter.

This website is under construction - many of the sections need filling in. If you want to improve spelling, add expertise, etc... send me an ASCII (not html) email em.png with a unique password and I will add you to the editor's list. Older accounts were removed on 2015/01/05 due to spam attacks.

ServerSky (last edited 2021-08-16 20:30:15 by KeithLofstrom)