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Guest: John Bucknell; Topics: We talked SSP and business development for John's company Virtus Solis Technologies, SSP tech advances, orbits, solutions for our current energy problems and more.
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We welcomed John Bucknell back to the program for updates and progress reports on John's quest to develop commercial space solar power with his new company, Virtus Solis Technologies. For the first half of our 70 minute discussion, John talked SSP, his company, financing, demo tests including his explaining his recent and successful microwave safety tests. John also described some of his technology demonstrations and said he had a big one coming up this fall. When asked by a listener if he would post videos of the demos, he said now because the information was proprietary for company investors. Listeners asked him for more details on what was needed for testing to develop commercial SSP. Don't miss his response. One thing he talked about was the need for outdoor RF testing areas which he said he had thanks to a nearby college. John talked about testing 100 watts at 100 meters which was substantially better than early transmission tests. When a listener asked him if SSP could be useful for helping to solve the current energy problems of Western Europe, even the U.S., he said nothing was likely possible over the short term.
Listener Joe called from CA and asked John what had changed from the old NASA 1982 SSP presentations calling for trillions of dollars over 40 years to today where John and others say SSP can now be economical. Joe wanted to know the difference between then and now. John talked about today's commercial space advantage, lower launch costs, Moore's Law and radical changes in semiconductor development and usage. It was an interesting phone call so don't miss i. After the call, John mentioned the role of ESA with a 2030 time line, the UK with a possible $12 billion investment, the ridding of cost plus financing and more. He said there was a backstory to all of this but somehow we moved to other topics and did not hear all the backstory.
An email arrived from Cheryl in Seattle who wanted to know the biggest technology challenge to SSP. John answered this in a unique way to be sure to pay attention to his response. You might find a few surprises in what he said. Next, another listener asked John for his thoughts on solving our energy issues today. John said there were three viable things needing to be done but he made several suggestions. He suggested stopping the demonization of nuclear power, stop promoting and start telling the truth about lack of economics in supporting renewables over other dependable forms of energy, to face the reality of batteries, to pay attention to the reality of using nuclear power, plus he offered additional comments on the problems of today. As part of this discussion, Rod from Tucson sent in an email calling for the end of making energy policy based on political ideology. John had a lot to say around Rod's comment so again, do listen to all of it. John said technology using space was starting to open up offering solutions to challenging problems. He made the case for not going backwards.
As we were approaching the end of our program, Jack from Houston asked John if there was a problem scaling up SSP. John then talked about replacing our current energy economy with an SSP global capacity. This led to listener comments and mine about reforms needing to be made with utility company behavior, the way they price energy, their corruption using California as an example and more. Beverly in Boston wanted to know how power would come into her kitchen from space who would have their hands on it to keep increasing the price like a European Value Added Tax. John said Beverly had jumped us to the end game which he tried to explain to us. This would be a good point for you to pause and share your thoughts on these subjects with us by posting on our blog. Before we ended, John talked about the orbits he would use for his SSP satellites, thus describing the Molniya orbit, explaining why it was the orbit of choice. Before ending John was asked for his biz plan model regarding ground stations and either owning and operating the SSP satellites or selling them to third parties or working with third party SSP vendors.
Please post your comments/questions for John Bucknell on our blog for this page. You can reach John through me or his website, www.virtussolis.space.