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Proceedings Paper

Mission performance of a solar- and microwave-powered aircraft
Author(s): Adam Wickenheiser; Ephrahim Garcia
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Paper Abstract

Unmanned aerial vehicles typically have limited flight time due to their reconnaissance payload requirements and their restricted scale. A microwave/solar powered flight vehicle, on the other hand, can remain in-theater continuously by harvesting electromagnetic radiation using on-board antennas and solar panels. A rectifying antenna is used to harvest power and rectify it into a form usable by the on-board electric motors and other electronics, while photovoltaic cells harness incoming solar radiation. Discussed is the design of the fuel-less air vehicle and its sensitivity to several key performance metrics for this class of aircraft. New metrics are presented that are unique to microwave-powered aircraft and are useful in the design of its missions. Of critical importance is the strong coupling among the aircraft's flight performance, power harvesting abilities, and its mission capabilities. Traditional and non-traditional wing shapes are presented in order to motivate a discussion of some of the key parameters in the design of a fuel-less air vehicle.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 April 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6928, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2008, 692802 (18 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.776368
Show Author Affiliations
Adam Wickenheiser, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Ephrahim Garcia, Cornell Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6928:
Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2008
Mehdi Ahmadian, Editor(s)

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