The Defense Department is sponsoring a “shark tank” style competition for new technologies capable of dramatically upgrading humanity and increasing peace, a hunt for the best technology ideas that could simultaneously advance diplomacy, development and defense, called the D3 competition. The D3 contest has included 500 teams from the State Department, the US Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense.

One team advocates that we end our dependence on greenhouse-gas-producing fuels and lift millions out of poverty by harvesting solar power in space and transmitting it to earth. That team is one of only six that has made it to the semi-finals and will enter the final competition on Monday, January 25th. The space solar power team includes two Professors from the US Air Force’s Center for Space Innovation at Air University, both former heads of Pentagon advanced concept shops, a space robotics expert from the Naval Research Lab, Northrop Grumman, the former head of NASA advanced concepts, an expert from the Joint Staff Logistics and Energy division, a DARPA program manager, a 3-star general, and members of the Space Development Steering Committee. The space solar power team is a group of idealists who have spent thousands of man hours over 25 years developing the concept of space solar power.

The D3 space solar power team proposes that America be the first nation to orbit a space solar power satellite prototype. If successful, that would put the US in the running in a very high stakes race, a race to be the first to tap solar power in space. China already has a robust space solar power program, so does Japan. While Space Solar Power is part of the highest-level national goals of other nations, the D3 space solar power team’s actions have produced the highest-level discussion that the idea has had in the United States, including briefings for the science staff at the Department of State.

Hopefully these high-level discussions won’t be the last. While the President of the world’s largest democracy, India, Dr. APJ Kalam publicly advocated Space Solar Power in multiple forums, and the UAE is looking to raise $18B for space solar power, the idea apparently hasn’t occurred to any of the current American Presidential Candidates.

The Space Development Steering Committee (SDSC) congratulates the Space Solar Power D3 Team on making it to the finals, and wishes them luck on their Monday presentation.