Essay on Nikola Tesla Wireless Electricity

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Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) has wide application in aerospace. Nikola Tesla is best known for his incredible work regarding the WPT. Power can be transmitted wirelessly over a long distance is with either laser or microwaves. Laser is incompatible with environmental factors such as clouds and rain and hence, cannot provide continuous power. Whereas, microwave achieves lower atmospheric attenuation. Catching the sunbeam in space has unmistakable focal points since there is no loss of microwave vitality going through the earth's climate and there will be no problem for global warming. The two main problem for installing the Space Solar Power Satellite (SSPS) are cost and to make the power satellite in space it is too difficult to lift the parts to geosynchronous orbit (GSO). Using SKYLON we can lift the parts to lower earth orbit (LEO) and from LEO to GSO, we can use a ground powered electrical drives. This can reduce the cost to less than $200/kg, compared to present cost of lifting communication satellites. The aim of this examination work is to give an overview of the cost of installation and techniques for lifting the parts to GSO.


Demand for electrical energy is growing due to population growth. The economic boom in many developing nations will increase growing power consumption. According to Worldwide Power Outlook 2018, electricity consumption is rapidly growing [Fig:1]. The global demand for electrical electricity in customer areas will increase from 196 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) in 2015 to nearly 256 quadrillion Btu in 2040 and in the industrial zone, it will enlarge form 237 quadrillion Btu in 2015 to 276 quadrillion Btu in 2040. To fulfill these needs, new generating capacity will be required by 2040 to meet the developing demand. The majority of conventional electricity generation utilizes exhaustible supplies like coal, oil, and nuclear fuel. The most considerable supply of power that is on the earth is solar energy, so to meet the growing energy demand, it is essential to put ahead for new generation technologies that use solar energy [1].

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Transmitting electricity without wires is not new concept. Sir Nikola Tesla, who is the founder of AC electricity, was the first person to conduct experiments on WPT. His idea originated from the concept that earth itself is a conductor that can carry a charge throughout the complete surface. While Tesla's examinations were not making power, but simply exchanging it, his thoughts can be connected to explain our electricity crisis. Two techniques in WPT are near-field and far-field techniques. Near field techniques consist of Electromagnetic (EM) Radiation, Inductive Coupling, and Magnetic Resonant Coupling. Whereas, far-field techniques aim at high power transfer and need line of sight. It has two classes which are Microwave Power Transmission (MPT) and laser power transmission [2].

In the Laser power transmission technique, a laser beam transmits power in the form of concentrated light through the vacuum of space and the atmosphere. The main property of a laser is it is coherent and non-dispersive. This technique requires small equipment for transmission and receiving solar power from space to Earth. Much research is taking place on laser power transmission. Laser beam transmission depends on its wavelength. JAXA research team studied a laser power transmission system with a wavelength of approximately 1070nm and a continuous wave. Employing this technique is difficult because it causes skin and eye damage on Earth and this technique is incompatible with atmospheric disturbance. [3].

Microwaves are electromagnetic waves presently used for communication systems. In the MPT technique, electrical energies, are transmitted in the form of microwaves. As a microwave, energy density is low, compared to a laser so it is safe to operate. This technique is independent of atmospheric disturbance. Therefore, the JAXA research team developed the MPT technique with accuracy and demonstrated the experiment at ground level. This technique requires large equipment for transmission and receiving solar power from space to Earth.

Cash's design seems to have addressed all the problems that have been faced by SSPS’s development in the past. We can realize one thing from past research papers they have not used space planes like the Skylon. The unit cost of Skylon is around $ 1.2 billion. The design concept uses SABRE, a combined cycle, air-breathing rocket propulsion system; this means that it could be reusable for 200 flights compared to the current spacecraft's one flight. Because the SABRE technology allows the spacecraft to take off and land on a runway. Skylon's flight rate would be more than 10,000/year; the flight rate to reduce costs is not a problem. [4]

Working of SSPS System

SSPS system has three units: generation, transmission, and receiver. DC power can generated from the solar panel, then the generated DC power is converted to RF power and it is transmitted through the earth’s atmosphere using a transmitting antenna. The RF power received by Rectenna at the ground. Using a rectifier, we can convert back to DC.

Cost Analysis

A present economic analysis by Reaction Engines Limited (REL) shows that Skylon can get a pound of mass to orbit, which can cost around $686 to $1,230/pound. The lifting process contains two things; first carrying cargo to LEO and second moving cargo from LEO to GSO.

SKLON is a single orbiting winged spaceplane reusable stage designed to give regular entry to space at low cost. The vehicle can take off and land on conventional runways on its underground carriage by combining air-breathing propulsion and pure rocket mode. When the payload from the large payload bay is deployed in orbit. The system runs automatically, but the payload bay can contain a passenger module. The REL study group forecasted SSPS with a mass of 30,000 tons could produce 1GW power. Taking into account the requirement for LEO to GSO transfer and SPS assembly, the total number of flights to LEO is approximately, 1.5 times the number of flights to launch the simple SSPS hardware to LEO. Each GW installed in GSO will therefore require approximately 4500 tones. A program to install 33.3GW can contain 10,000 flights, 300 SKYLON flights would be required for each GW in space.

The European Union (EU) is expecting to increase capacity by approximately 250 GW over the next 20 years to a total installed capacity of 900 GW. If SSPS provided this new capacity and SKYLON launched it, the total cost of the LEO orbit would be $ 225,000 million. The International Energy Agency estimates that the existing construction program for new power plants will cost $ 530,000 million between 2000 and 2030.

Figure shows the cost distribution for the 10,000 flights per year. We can observe that vehicle repayment, fuel, parts & maintenance are the biggest costs.

In the case of SKYLON, where all costs can be recovered, the cost of launching 150,000 tonnes, at $ 200 / kg, into orbit is $ 30,000 million per year. This clearly shows that Skylon is an essential part of the implementation of the SSPS system.


Energy and environmental issues are crucial for the world's future development and well-being. The county's accessibility of power and its age in a way that does not cause unsatisfactory ecological harm is an important factor. The development of SSPS would have a transforming property to approach the space. SSPS systems can not be built without a safe, low cost and reliable approach to space. This system can eliminate nuclear power generation in the future. By essentially decreasing the expense of orbiting and giving a protected and routine approach, new enterprises and opportunities are opened up. These requirements for launch can not be met by expensive rockets and fully reusable spacecraft must be developed. This need can be satisfied by using a skylon spaceplane.


    2. [Mohammad Shidujaman, Hooman Samani, Mohammad Arif. “Wireless Power Transmission Trends”. 3rd international conference on informatics, electronics & vision 2014.
    5. [Susumu Sasaki, JAXA Advanced Mission Research Group. “Microwave Power Transmission Experiment on Ground for SSPS Demonstration”. Aerospace Research and Development Directorate (ARD) JAXA, Chofu, Japan.
    6. Haihong Ma, Yaning Yang, Nan Qi, Shang Ma, Xi Li. “Demonstration of a High-Efficiency MWPT System for Aerospace”. 978-1-5386-5159-9/18/$31.00, 2018 IEEE.
    7. James E, Dudenhoefer and Patrick J. George. “Space Solar Power Satellite Technology Development at the Glenn Research Centre-An Overview”. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA/TM-2000-2120210.
    8. Hariom Nagar, Ankur Yadav, Sumit Parashar.” Research on Solar Power Satellites with Micro Wave Power Transmission Technology in India”. April 2016, IJIRT, Volume 2, Issue 11.
    9. Alan Bond. “Solar Power Satellite and Spaceplanes – The SKYLON Initiative”. Research Engines Limited, September 2008.
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