Launch Site | Power Generation and Storage

Power generation and storage at the launch site is challenge. Developing a site with adequate infrastructure to generate the energy at a high altitude site is difficult. Generating 100 GW class of power and delivering for several minutes at a low price is achievable with the currently available technology. Natural gas fired power plants can generate this power easily at a price of less than $0.1 per KWH. This power need to be delivered and stored. Currently battery and ultra capacitor technology is sufficient to store this energy for a relatively low cost.

Apr 13, 2016 05:06 Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

is using the moon as a lauch site under consideration with power provided by solar arrays and means to store it.

Apr 13, 2016 06:40 Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

I don't know how viable it would be, but I was thinking that they could bypass the storage altogether and just use large mirrors, or maybe even fresnel lenses, to focus the suns rays onto the craft and use the focused light itself as the propulsion instead of worrying about storing the large amounts of energy needed and turning it into a laser beam.

Apr 13, 2016 08:31 Rj Hillan Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

You cant simply use mirrors to direct the suns light rays, lasers used for this will be very powerful and directed. To propel the spacecraft to 20% the speed of light you unfortunately cant use the suns energy for anything other than power generation from solar cells. however solar cells can not power the Launch site alone.

The launch site must be on earth if we are to launch the mission in the very near future. the costs for building launch sites and laser arrays on the moon will be too much for a mission within the next few decades.

Apr 13, 2016 08:40 Rj Hillan Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

My personal suggestion, at least using current known and readily available technologies, is to set up a large solar farm near or around the laser arrays and launch site. Use the solar cells to help charge the sites batteries and energy storage facilities when not using the laser arrays to propel the spacecraft. then use nuclear power plants or natural gas fired power plants to help supply power while propelling the array using the laser array.
Since you can not fire the laser array constantly due to earths rotation, the array will eventually lose sight of the nano spacecraft. so use the down time to supply as much power as possible.

Position of the laser array and launch site will be essential in planning the power source however.

Apr 13, 2016 12:17 Dwayne Fries Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

As a young man, someone once tried explaining to me how much power was in a lightening bolt. It is after all the main thing that provides enough energy to continually replenish the ozone layer as I understand it.
If this is sufficient power, I believe the question becomes, how do we make that useful, or know where and when it would strike.
Let us say we have one unit ready to go, we know that the old Sears Tower has a lightening rod attached from top to the ground because it is struck a hundred times a year. It becomes not a matter of if, but when. And at the rate of a hundred per year, that is frequent enough.
These facts need to be fact checked, but they are ones that I grew up hearing.
This should provide the energy needed to get it to the needed 0.20c.
Orlando Florida is the second best place for lightening strikes, but populated, meaning easy access to housing researchers. The best is in a remote jungle. Some states have tornado warnings. Orlando had one for lightening when I was stationed there.

Apr 13, 2016 17:50 Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

Why wouldn't the lens idea work? You could focus the light energy of and extremely large area and then use a diverging lens to divert the focusing ray back straight into a beam. I'm not exactly sure how much energy could be focused using this method, but I feel like it could be on the order of magnitude very close to that of the laser they're proposing.

Apr 13, 2016 20:11 Mark Simonds Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

How about putting the laser array in orbit and beaming the power to it from the ground? There has been a lot of research done on beaming electricity generated from space-based solar arrays to the ground. What about doing the reverse?

Or place the whole thing in one of Earth's usable Lagrange points. Collect and store solar energy to power the laser array.

Apr 13, 2016 20:20 Michael Noble Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

If we used the staggered release of the units as was mentioned in another comment string so that the requirement was not to use all the power at once, but to only construct a unit that could create a single use burst every day or week whenever the stars aligned correctly, then I think we would greatly reduce the required capital outlay.

It is a different scale to produce power to do 1000 units rapidly, as compared to doing one or two units a day, a week or even a month.
Not to mention the lessons learned on the first failures that would increase the viability and increased intelligence of the future units.

Apr 13, 2016 20:59 Karl Loh Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

Pardon the brainstorming

Launch millions or billions of disposable lightweight lasers to the sun. Direct the beam onto the light-sail or capacitor before the device fries. If one gets pointed at me by accident, no big deal. By itself, it won't be that powerful.

Or, use light-sails to slowly pull the Moon into a higher orbit, then capture the energy as it is let down again. Well, maybe not our Moon. Someone else's. :)

Apr 13, 2016 23:38 Daniele Proietti Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

I think that best launch site is not from Earth or Moon. Best launch site is out in the space.
An infrastructure capable of light a laser beam using sun power (solar cells for power).
This will have the following advantages:
Much more time for propulsion (Days, weeks, years? Not just 10 minutes). Lighter, less expensive and less power consuption laser.
Less problems with starchip overheating.
Infrastructure will be stationary in an immaginary line between our sun and destination place (i.e. Aplha Centauri).
Infrastructure will have its own orbit around sun, that will remain stable over that immaginary line.
Infrastructure can be used multiple times, making it cheaper for next missions, as power is from sun.

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