© REUTERS / THOMAS PETER
The National Science Foundation in China has initiated a five-year research project that focuses on the construction of “ultra-large spacecraft”. As Spacenews reports, the requirements for kilometer-sized mega-projects be created in space. There is an “urgent need” for their establishment.
Solar power plant and giant telescope
The project proposes 10 specific research directions. A total of 15 million yuan (almost 2 million euros) will be made available for this. At least one of the plans deals with that Generating solar energy in spacewhich is then to be transferred to earth by microwaves.
To make gigantic constructions like this possible, hundreds of rocket launches and advanced techniques are required to develop materials that are as light and stable as possible. In addition to a solar power plant in space, there will also be a Space telescope with a 10 meter mirror outlined. The Chinese Changchun Institute of Optics is to work on this project together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the University of Surrey in Great Britain.
Microwave Transmission Tests
Meanwhile, the Chinese Academy for Space Technology (CAST) is working on the transmission of electricity between space and earth. she leads Experiment with microwave transmission in which an airship was used 300 meters above a research vessel at sea. The long-term goal is to have a solar power plant in orbit by 2050 that generates electricity in the gigawatt range.
This project alone would make it necessary to transport around 10,000 tons of material into orbit. A further developed version of the Long March 9 rocket is to serve as the vehicle for this. China is currently building a 66-tonne Space station from three modules in earth orbit. 11 space missions are necessary for the establishment. This project should be completed by the end of 2022.