The most spectacular successes in solar-energy utilization in 1963 have been scored by the communications satellites, all of which are powered by megacell arrays of silicon solar batteries. So many satellites are now in orbit that it has literally become impossible to keep track of them. For the second generation of spacecraft, which will venture closer to the sun and also will need more power than today’s silicon cell arrays can conveniently produce, thermionic and thermoelectric converters and high-accuracy concentrators are now in the preflight test stage. On the earth’s surface, solar water heaters and low-capacity stills are gaining commercial acceptance in regions where fossil fuels and electricity are expensive. Production of drinking water from the sea and from brackish wells is receiving substantial research support, and encouraging progress is reported for both small and large solar stills. The much-needed solar pump and refrigerator are still awaiting the breakthrough which will result in low-cost collectors capable of generating steam or other vapors at moderate pressure. These projects urgently need financial support.

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