Frequently Asked Questions
Please see below our most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see the answer you need, please don’t hesitate to get in touch
No, the system by design cannot be used as or converted into a weapon.
The aperture size of transmitter and receiving antenna are sized to keep the maximum beam intensity at or below 245 W/m2. This is only one quarter of the intensity of sunlight at midday, which is around 1,000 W/m2.
Lacking a common power bus, it would not be possible to re-purpose the power distributed across the platform to power a separate laser or particle weapon.
The system will be designed so that it is safe in the event that humans or birds or animals strayed into the beam.
The aperture of the transmitter and receiving antenna are sized to keep the maximum beam intensity at or below 245 W/m2. This is only one quarter of the intensity of sunlight at midday, which is around 1,000 W/m2.
The system also requires co-operation from a secured and encrypted pilot beam at the intended rectenna target to form and steer the power beam to itself. Without it, the power beam would immediately cut off.
The beam density is too low to do physical harm to aircraft or spacecraft.
Any risk of interference with communication, guidance or navigation equipment will be addressed through the development of international compatibility standards, and through regulation in a similar way that operational and compatibility standards are defined for civil aircraft today.
These standards are well established across all terrestrial and aviation systems to ensure interoperability of different systems without interference.
Space-based solar power will use continuous (not pulsed) wave beaming, at peak intensities less than emitted by a mobile phone held to an ear. Receiving antennae on earth will also be sited away from centres of habitation. There is empirical evidence to suggest that this is unlikely to be a problem.
The energy beam at microwave frequencies produces a heating effect, just like microwave ovens but at much lower intensity, equivalent to one quarter of the midday sun at the equator. So it is safe to humans and wildlife. NASA has conducted long term studies on birds which confirm this. The receiving antennas are large and would need to be placed offshore or in remote areas, so they would not be co-located with centres of human habitation.
Nevertheless, safety is paramount with any new technology and there will need to be in-depth studies, together with suitable safety regulation to reassure the public.