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Stephen D. Covey RamblingsOnTheFutureOfHumanity.blogspot.com
ASTEROID CAPTURE FOR SPACE SOLAR POWER: A PROJECT PLAN Assumptions Project Phases 1. Capture Apophis into Earth orbit 2. Launch mining & manufacturing tools 3. Launch construction shacks & workers 4. Construct & deploy Solar Power Satellites 5. Construct a worker/colonist habitat 6. Repeat 4 & 5 with remaining asteroid resources Return On Investment Areas for Research & Development Summary
ASSUMPTIONS Capture an Asteroid into LEO: Apophis Timeframe: Project start in 2027, Launch capture mission in early 2028, Orbit capture April 2030 Mining mission starts 2030 SpaceXs Falcon Heavy launch vehicle Pricing in 2011 dollars Worker launch costs $24M -> $1M/person Not included in budgets (addressed later): In-space worker salaries Most R&D costs Sales of energy funds everything
Capture Apophis into Earth Orbit The capture mission begins 2027: Assemble tugship in LEO Intercept injection via lunar slingshot Oct months to intercept 10 months of thrust to change Apophis orbit 3 month coast Earth slingshot - April 13, month coast Lunar slingshot & drop into Earth orbit, Apr-2030 Capture mission duration 30+ months
Tugship for Apophis Capture Launch into LEO: Core ship (crew quarters, life support, 50 t) Fuel/thruster assemblies (100 t) Solar panels (200m, 12 megawatts, 100 t) Total equipment: $1.5B, 250 tons 5 launches ($600M) Launch assembly crew & construction shack: $1.6B (with training, tools, supplies, 2 launches) Assemble (12-18 person-months) Launch mission crew & supplies: 1 $100M Total capture: $3.8B
LAUNCH MINING & MANUFACTURING TOOLS Solar power generator: 1 launch, $200M Mining facilities: 2 launches, $400M Solar smelter, gas refining, metals: 5 launches, $1B Steel production: 5 launches, $1B Rolling mill: 3 launches, $600M Finished metal product plant: 2 launches, $400M Silicon refinery, solar panel manufacturing (3 launches, $600M) Slag processing & handling: (1 launch, $200M) Total estimate: $4.4B equipment & 22 launches spanning
LAUNCH WORKERS & HOUSING YearWorkersSteel Production Tons/Day SPS Builds / Year Per Worker Cost Total Cost To Date Setup$33M$9.4B Setup$10M$14.4B $5M$19.6B $2.5M$25.0B $1M$29.8B
CONSTRUCT A 5 GW SPS Solar panels (16 square kilometers) Steel support structures Microwave transmitting antenna (1 km) Microwave transmitter (from Earth) Protective shield Total mass 25,000 tons
DEPLOY THE SPSs Build near asteroid in HEO Deploy into GEO (2 km/s) Deployment fuel (1,000 tons) Install microwave transmitter launched from Earth Construct ground receiving station 10+ km rectenna $1 B (born by receiving electric utility)
KALPANA ONE HABITAT - DESIGN 100 meter radius, 130 meter wide cylinder Spinning at 3 rpm 10 t/m 2 slag shield (1.6 Mt) 1-inch thick steel shell (28 kt) 126 kt of interior steel structures Solar Power (6kw/person, 50 Mw total) Capacity 8,000 workers
KALPANA ONE HABITAT - FEATURES Lots of room (square feet): 5,500,000 agricultural: 2,500,000 residential (300 sf/person) 1,500,000 office, light industrial, retail 1,000,000 storage & overhead 50x130 meter core zero-G cylinder for research & industry 12 acre cylindrical park (100x250 meters)
REPEAT UNTIL RESOURCES EXHAUSTED 8 Year Plan 1 habitat for 8,000 people 15 five-gigawatt solar power satellites Over 90% of Apophis remains Continue Building 8 SPSs/Year Global Demand: 2 Tw (400 SPSs) More (& Larger) Habitats Near GEO LEO Mars?
RETURN ON INVESTMENT YearEventExpenseRevenueCash Flow (Sales of Electricity) Cash Flow (Sales of SPSs) 2027Launch$3.8B 2030M&M$5.6B$9.4B st SPS$15.6B$1.3B$23.7B$14.6B SPSs$4.8B$3.9B$24.6B$5.2B SPSs$1.6B$9.1B$17.1B$43.6B SPSs$0$19.5B$0.8B$82.0B 2037+$19.5B$20.3B+$40 B/yr
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT Heavy lift (or super heavy lift) launch vehicles Space taxies / trucks (tugships) Long-term life support Zero-G mining, smelting, refining, manufacturing Manufacturing solar panels High-efficiency multi-gigawatt microwave transmitters / receivers Large-scale in-space construction techniques (of SPS and habitats) with limited resources
CONCLUSION 2036: Breakeven ($25B peak outflow) 2037: $19.5B/year Profits (10% Apophis) 2053: (assuming +8 SPS/year) 150 SPSs deployed $195B/year revenue 12 orbital habitats; 100,000 person capacity The asteroid Apophis is only a memory But there are more asteroids out there!