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Proceedings Paper

Earth-To-Satellite Microwave Beams: Innovative Approach To Space Power
Author(s): M I Hoffert; G Miller; B Heilweil; W Ziegler; M Kadiramangalam
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Paper Abstract

A new space power concept incorporating earth-to-satellite microwave power beams coupled to onboard regenerative electrochemical energy storage is proposed for energizing defensive satellite constellations. The system addresses housekeeping, orbital maneuvering and burst mode power requirements, and offers an attractive alternative to the nuclear and solar space power systems currently envisioned for this application. This energy-conversion system incorporates six steps: (1) generate primary DC power at surface stations along the satellite ground-track, (2) convert to microwave (RF) frequencies, (3) transmit in a narrow beam to spacecraft using phased-array antennas which track and lock-on to satellite receivers as they pass in range during a fraction of their orbit, (4) receive the energy and convert to DC in space using lightweight and inexpensive rectennas; (5) store the energy onboard as chemical energy by electrolysis of water to oxygen and hydrogen and (6) recover free energy onboard the spacecraft during the balance of the orbit continuously or on demand as pulsed power with a high power-density fuel cell. Component and overall systems considerations of this scheme are discussed in comparison with alternatives, outstanding research problems are defined and preliminary analyses are described. These include orbital mechanics and ground tracks of satellites, accessibility of orbiters to microwave beams, transmission efficiencies, electronic and mechanical designs of the transmitter and rectenna, regenerative fuel cell energy storage, power conditioning and thermal management. The development of readily space-deployable rectennae, their supporting structures, and high specific power solid oxide monolithic fuels cells are the main pacing technologies leading to a wholly non-nuclear space power system capable of supporting all defensive satellite power requirements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 May 1988
PDF: 24 pages
Proc. SPIE 0873, Microwave and Particle Beam Sources and Propagation, (9 May 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.965093
Show Author Affiliations
M I Hoffert, New York University (United States)
G Miller, New York University (United States)
B Heilweil, New York University (United States)
W Ziegler, New York University (United States)
M Kadiramangalam, New York University (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0873:
Microwave and Particle Beam Sources and Propagation
Norman Rostoker, Editor(s)

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