Star link solar farm

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Curious layman, Dec 19, 2020.

  1. Curious layman Registered Member

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    With around 42000 satellites in orbit, would it be a good idea to attach solar panels, then use the energy to power factory/s in space. What about aircraft aswell?
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    1) Satellites are powered via solar.
    2) Aircraft can be powered by solar. But everything else (speed, range, payload, safety) has to be sacrificed to build an aircraft that is light enough/has large enough wings to be able to fly on solar alone. And of course you can only take off/climb during the day. So you can do it but it is in no way a replacement for regular aircraft.


    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/26/solar-impulse-plane-makes-history-completing-round-the-world-trip#:~:text=Solar Impulse 2 has completed,Abu Dhabi early on Tuesday.&text=The plane, which has a,March 2015 in Abu Dhabi.
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure what these two have to do with each other. All 42,000 satellites are in independent orbits; they can't power a centralized factory.

    But yes, you could make a factory and festoon it with solar panel arrays.

    (festoon. What a great word, eh?)

    Thing is, it will be very difficult to get enough power for a factory.
    1. There is only so much energy available via solar panels. It's not very energy-dense. About 15 watts per square foot.
    2. Such a system is limited by the square-cube law. The factory's surface area (for solar paneling) goes up as the square, whereas its volume (and need for power) goes up as the cube.

    In other words, a factory that is twice the size of the ISS needs eight times as many solar panels.
    You quickly run out of places to put them all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
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  7. Curious layman Registered Member

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    Sorry for long wait before replying, thought my question wasn't up to scratch. No responses to it from other sites.

    Sounded like a reasonable question in my head. If every satellite is a square meter, that's 42000 square meters, which sounds like an excessive amount of satellites to me.
    Thought if the next generation of satellites are half the size, then why not use the space saved to apply solar panels and generate electricity. Maybe use the energy to power his second stage booster, or divert it upwards towards a small space factory instead.

    All the best,
    Happy new year.
     

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