Broadcast 1761 (Special Edition)

27 Apr 2012 Dr. Lewis Fraas
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Guest: Dr. Lewis Fraas. Topic: Mirrors in space for affordable solar electric power. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. Lewis Fraas to the program to discuss his MiraSolar Satellite Concept for mirrors in space for solar electric power. I have posted two of his presentation papers and slides on The Space Show blog for your review. You can find more about his concept by visiting his website, At his website, go to the lower right corner for links to MiraSolar. As our discussion addressed common topics throughout our 90 minute program, I'm writing this summary without regard to program segments. We started our discussion by asking Dr. Fraas to provide us with an overview of his mirrors in space concept. This he did, drawing from time to time upon comparisons with space solar power concepts placing their satellites in GEO while the mirrors would be in LEO around 1,000 km. Dr. Fraas made comparisons with SSP and mirrors in space throughout our 90 minute discussion. We talked about optics and physics as well as the power generating size of the ground stations used in his concept, comparing those to nuclear power plants and other power generating facilities. I believe you will find the power comparisons most interesting. We spent a considerable time going over the launch and project economics as well as due diligence from a mostly economic perspective. As you will hear, there are some blanks yet to be filled in but since this project is a decade or so out in the future, it is challenging to project values and costs that far into the future, let alone what launch vehicles we will have along with their flight, payload, and price characteristics. Another important part of the discussion focused on ground stations. Dr. Fraas zeroed them out of the economics when the ground station was built for or was being used for terrestrial solar as the mirrors in space project can make use of the same station. In cases where the mirrors program needs its own ground station, those costs would be factored into the total project costs. Listeners asked about environmental issues, an EIR and its challenges. Dr. Fraas made a point of being clear that this was an international project, not just focused on the U.S. He also suggested that there was a possibility of limiting or restricting U.S. regulations down the road but that other countries might be more interested in mirrors in space, including China, Japan, and India. We had an interesting discussion about the U.S. and the space progress being made in other countries. Tony asked a series of questions pertaining to using more not fewer mirrors for terrestrial solar farms. He also wanted to know the launch price that made the project viable. Dr. Fraas referred to NASA and other studies and cited two reference launch prices. See what you think when you hear this discussion. Another topic dealt with radiation at the orbit Dr. Fraas discussed. Here, we talked about the inner Van Allen belt and thanks to a listener, we got some info on debris issues at the desired orbit. Don't miss this discussion. As we heard, it might be advantageous to shift the orbit to 1200 KM for debris mitigation purposes. Another discussion topic addressed competition with always improving terrestrial forms of energy under development and in the process of coming on line. You can email Dr. Fraas for more information at Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog and I will be sure to call them to the attention of our guest.



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