UK Space Industry May Contract SpaceX to Build a Space Power Station6th May 2022
By 2035, the UK space industry may get a chance to benefit from a space power station and the 100% green energy that comes with it. SpaceX owner Elon Musk will help launch satellites with solar panels and sunlight-concentrating mirrors that could generate up to 3.4 GW of electricity per spacecraft. When the whole system is operational, the space power station could generate up to 30% of all UK electricity by the mid-2040s.
UK space industry on green energy possibility
The Space Energy Initiative (SEI) Programme introduced by the government will require substantial launch capability, according to the UK space industry experts. MP Mark Garnier is confident that this green energy will require help from the best. In his statement, Garnier says that the satellites will require tens of launches before the green energy space power station can be fully deployed – which is precisely where SpaceX and Elon Musk come in. With SpaceX’s experience in delivering heavy payloads to low Earth orbit, the choice seems obvious.
Will Elon Musk get involved in creating a space power station?
While no official contracts have been signed with Elon Musk and SpaceX so far, the UK space industry experts are confident the billionaire will be interested in the green energy collaboration opportunity. To date, Falcon Heavy is one of the most suitable carriers to deploy constellations of satellites in orbit – which is precisely what the upcoming space power station is about.
Besides, SpaceX has Starship – a reusable cargo delivery system that can carry payloads to orbit, Moon, and Mars. More importantly, Elon Musk’s company claims to have developed a launcher that can carry up to 100 metric tonnes of payloads to LEO.
At the same time, the UK space industry has been working on launch capability of its own and should see its first rockets lift off this summer. However, most launch sites in the UK are developed with lighter rockets and lighter payloads in mind. And according to Martin Soltau, co-chair of the UK space power station initiative, the project requires a fully-reusable launch capability which, to date, only Elon Musk’s SpaceX can provide.