The Energy Tanker Concept

Montgomery, Edward E.
May 2003
AIP Conference Proceedings;2003, Vol. 664 Issue 1, p674
Academic Journal
The energy tanker concept is based on the observation that solar flux increases as the square of the close distance to the sun. Such flux-rich environs will provide both a more plentiful supply of radiant energy and photon momentum. Robotic mission concepts to deliver an energy collection facility in the inner solar system, then transport energy from that facility to LEO and other destinations benefiting Human and Robotic Exploration and Space Science is proposed. Potential destinations are discussed. A list of alternative energy transport technologies is compared. The sensitivity of the performance of these systems as a function of proximity to the sun is discussed. Basing strategies are developed, taking advantage of non-keplerian orbit capabilities of solar sails. A primary trade-off is beam transmission of energy versus physical transport of energy storage containers. The impact on science and exploration in LEO/GEO space, interplanetary missions, and finally interstellar missions is addressed.


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