Proceedings PaperLaser power beaming to extend lives of GSO NiCd satellites
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It is proposed that a ground-based laser can beam power to commercial communication satellites in geosynchronous orbit and reduce battery depth-of-discharge during eclipses. Two laser system designs are presented which have the capability of reducing battery discharge by 100%. Both utilize a steerable beam director, with a mirror diameter of 4 meters in one case and 8 meters in the other. Both also use an adaptive optics unit within the beam train to provide real-time corrections for wavefront distortions caused by atmospheric turbulence. The required system power output is in the range of 100 to 200 kW for a transmitted wavelength just under 900 nm. Laser power beaming can nearly double the remaining lifetime of a satellite that uses NiCd batteries. However, by the time such lasers become available, nearly all NiCd satellites will be replaced by NiH2 satellites, which stand to benefit much less from power beaming.