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This is what an artist envisioned the Solar Power Satellite would look like. Shown is the assembly of a microwave transmission antenna. The solar power satellite was to be located in a geosynchronous orbit, 36,000 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Image credit: NASA

Image source: NASA on The Commons

Boeing Art Department

Boeing SPS SSTO at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: National Archives


In the aftermath of the ’70s oil crisis, Boeing designed a solar power satellite system that could supply most of the the United States with electricity. Boeing’s plan envisioned satellites the size of small cities placed in geosynchronous orbit, transmitting electrical energy back to Earth as microwaves. The satellites would either be constructed in low Earth orbit for later deployment into a higher orbit or constructed directly at the higher orbit.

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: SDASM Archives