Dr. Peter Glaser Remembered

Dr. Peter Glaser, Microwave Power Visionary, Passes Away
by Dr. John M. Osepchuk, IMPI Fellow

Dr. Peter Glaser, the key visionary and inventor behind the proposed Space Solar Power System (SSPS), passed away in Lexington, MA on May 29. Dr. Glaser first published the proposal in Science in 1968. Soon thereafter, he was joined by Bill Brown, a founder of IMPI, who was developing the technology of microwave power transmission(MPT). This was needed to transmit microwave energy converted from solar energy in space to earth where rectennas convert the microwaves to usable electricity (50/60 Hz.), that then is distributed by power lines, etc. Bill passed away in 1998.

These two visionaries were prominent authors in an early special issue of the Journal of Microwave Power , Vol. 5(4); 1970, on the solar power satellite, “Power Without Pollution”. Many years of further study and development under NASA support ensued, including a demonstration of MPT at the level of 30 kW over 1 mile in 1975—at the frequency of 2.45 GHz. By the 1990’s considerable work at Kyoto University in Japan, under Prof. Matsumoto, was underway, especially at 5.8 GHz.

Today the SSPS concept is still being pushed by some in the U.S.. especially by Darel Preble, executive director of the Space Solar Power Institute (SSPI), with collaboration at Georgia Tech. on MPT development. Larger-scale work on SSPS exists in the Far East in Jpan, India and China.

In a book* published this year, John Mankins paid tribute to both Peter Glaser and Bill Brown. Mankins directed the work on SSPS at NASA for many years. Almost 50 years after Peter’s first proposal, it is believed that the goal of SSPS is still 2-3 decades away from realization and most likely to be accomplished in the Far East.

 

  • John C. Mankins, The Case for Space Solar Power, The Virginia Edition, Inc., Houston, TX, 2014.
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