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The Space Energy Initiative (SEI) is an exciting new project that could see Britain set up the first power station in space by 2035. It will be made up of satellites with lightweight solar panels and a system of mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto the panels, generating around 3.4 GW of electricity on the satellite. By the mid-2040s, the power generated from the space station could reach 30GW, accounting for up to 30 percent of the UK’s electricity demand.
But as the SBSP programme will require substantial launch capability, Britain may need some help from some of the big names.
Mark Garnier, Conservative MP and Chair of the advisory board of the SEI expects that the best of the best will get involved.
He told Express.co.uk: “They (the satellites) are going to be in the magnitude of tens of launches in order to get these things into orbit, and you have got to get the assembly unit up there as well.
“This is where SpaceX comes in, with its really big launch capacity. You want big launches that could heavy payloads up into low-Earth orbit.
When asked if he thought Mr Musk would consider helping to launch the system, Mr Garnier responded: “Yes, definitely. It will use big rockets.”
Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX is known for its huge rockets, with technologies such as the Falcon Heavy in its arsenal.
This is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.
Also in SpaceX’s armoury is its Starship, which the SpaceX website describes as a “a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond”.
SpaceX also claims that once developed, it will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever, capable of carrying in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit.
While the UK is planning launches of its own this summer for the first time ever, Britain will only have the capacity to launch smaller satellites into low-earth orbit from its various spaceports.
Martin Soltau, Space Business Partner, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Co-Chair Space Energy Initiative, told Express.co.uk: “The production programme for SBSP requires fully reusable heavy-lift rockets to keep the launch.
“Europe is lagging behind in developing a fully reusable launch capability to match SpaceX.”
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He went on: “An SBSP programme will require substantial launch capability.
“Each 2GW satellite will need the equivalent of 68 Starship size rockets to launch and transport the modules to orbit for assembly.
“The development of SBSP will provide a huge market for reusable launch, and this will accelerate the development of new systems and launch capacity.
“SpaceX Starship is a transformational capability for the space sector, and reusable rockets pioneered by SpaceX have been a major factor in making SBSP commercially viable.“
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