Server Sky - Space Energy Transformed
This paper was submitted to the Wireless Power Transfer workshop as a fast growth path to space solar power satellites. It was accepted, and then later rejected. It took me 35 years to realize that profitable-at-every-stage but indirect paths will take us to gigascale SSPS faster. The folks running the conference are smarter; it will probably only take them 5 years to figure this out, with server sky as an example. They just got started late.
Writing this paper has been a good opportunity to re-examine youthful assumptions. When space solar power was first proposed, there were a handful of >2.4 GHz services, and the main concern was health effects from microwaves. Now we have billions of microwave systems, from wireless access points and bluetooth devices to satellite dishes and transceivers with unfiltered front-end low noise amplifiers. Aircraft are guided by radar, battle groups are coordinated by radar, and microwaves connect to deep space probes and planetary landers. This is not a good environment to pollute with gigawatt power beams, harmonics, and sidelobes.
If we want to beam power from space to earth, we must invent methods that won't intefere with existing trillion-dollar infrastructure. If we want to fund and launch space power schemes, we must do so from a huge, highly profitable starting point - nobody funds hundred billion dollar speculations.