Online Journal of Space Communication


This work presents the conceptualization of a Space-to-Space Microwave Wireless Power Transmission (S2S-MWPT) experimental demonstration mission using small spacecraft. Literature reviews [1, 2] suggest a stepwise procedure for technology demonstrations in support of advancing space solar power satellite (SSPS) systems. These technologies should be verified first on Earth and then in-space using small satellites. This project built its S2S-MWPT demonstration concept within the University NanoSat program restrictions (dimensions of 50cm x 50cm x 60cm and mass of 50kg). The idea is to use these upper limit restrictions to develop the MWPT spacecraft (MicroSat). Contained inside the MicroSat is a microwave wireless power receiving spacecraft (NanoSat). The NanoSat has dimensions of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm and mass 1.33 kg. Once the MicroSat is launched into low Earth orbit the NanoSat is ejected out of the MicroSat. Then the MicroSat deploys its solar array and the NanoSat deploys its rectifying antenna (rectenna) array. The S2S-MWPT experimental demonstration becomes operational and several technical validations are proposed for implementation.

The business venture proposes a S2S electric utility service provider for in-space activities. It is suggested [3] that SSPS systems as a source of power for in-space activities may represent a potentially large market that may be served by SSPS sooner than by terrestrial solar. The space utility proposes a revolutionary new line of consumer spacecraft equipped with a rectenna array architecture rather than a solar array structure. The proposed SSPS power reception structure will require a modified electrical power system on consumer spacecraft. This option may provide several potential benefits: longer mission life, reduced mass (or allow reallocation of the mass to the payload), and added power. These consumer spacecraft may also benefit from the geostationary Earth orbit SSPS as they could potentially fly through the beam and generate needed on-board power. Several challenges for this idea are also addressed.

Advisors: Elizabeth Becker, James Casler, Jeremiah Neubert, Sima Noghanian , Hossein Salehfar , David Whalen



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