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Solar Powered Satellites

Miguel Said:

What are some cons about Solar power satellites?

We Answered:

As the satellite gets farther from the sun, the available solar power drops off. This is not much of an issue for satellites orbiting earth but for things like the Viking probes and Galileo, solar panels were not included. Solar panels are somewhat fragile so they can be easily damaged by micrometeors. They don't work when the satellite is in shadow. They usually have to be folded up during launch so you need moving parts to unfurl them once in orbit. You may be able to find more specifics if you check out NASA. good luck

Angela Said:

A solar powered geostationary satellite was launched into orbit around the earth directly above the equator...?

We Answered:

The geostationary orbit has a radius of about 7R where R is the radius of the Earth. This corresponds to an angle with a tan of 2/7 or about 16 degrees. So this corresponds to a time of 1440 * 16/360 = 65 minutes in the shadow.

So 69 min seems to be the correct answer.

Jesse Said:

could out of earth phase superconducting electromagnets keep a solar powered sync satellite in orbit?

We Answered:

Responses without sources aren't answers, just opinions.

A magnetic sail or magsail is a proposed method of spacecraft propulsion. A spacecraft would deploy a large loop of superconducting wire to generate a magnetic field, and possibly auxiliary loops for steering or to reduce radiation hazards from the charged particles. Magnetic sails are an attractive propulsion technology because calculations show that superconducting magnetic sails could have a better thrust-to-mass ratio than solar sails.

Allan Said:

which is the first solar powered satellite ?

We Answered:

1958 - Vanguard 1 (pictured), the first solar-powered satellite, was launched. It is the oldest human-launched object still in Earth orbit today.

Marjorie Said:

Where can I learn about solar power satellites?

We Answered:

off this site maybe?

Leslie Said:

Solar power satellites -- How Bright Would They Look & What Orbit Would They Follow?

We Answered:

I agree with you and innocent victim that it's a bad idea. There's actually a lot of stuff we could try here on Earth if we were properly motivated (like reflecting unused sunlight back into space).

Jay Said:

Are there other alternative energy sources that are cheaper than Solar Powered Satellites?

We Answered:

I am not clear as to whether you are asking

i) whether there are cheaper ways to power satellites ("solar-powered satellites")
in which case no, I shouldn't think so, once a satellite is in orbit sunlight is a free, inexhaustible power source, reliable (no clouds in space and no atmosphere to dissipate UVs) and so readily available

or

ii) whether there are ways of generating power that are cheaper than orbiting solar collectors ("solar satellites")

in which case, yes, almost anything would be cheaper than this gimmicky, frankly unhinged plan... the transmission losses over that distance would be astronomical and, as a cable would be technically impossible, it would require some sort of laser beam... with even greater losses, owing to atmospheric beam scattering.

Discuss It!

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