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A Lightweight Space-based Solar Power Generation and Transmission Satellite

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, June 20, 2022

Behrooz Abiri, Manan Arya, Florian Bohn, Austin Fikes, Matan Gal-Katziri, Eleftherios Gdoutos, Ashish Goel, Pilar Espinet Gonzalez, Michael Kelzenberg, Nicolas Lee, Michael A. Marshall, Tatiana Roy, Fabien Royer, Emily C. Warmann, Tatiana Vinogradova, Richard Madonna, Harry Atwater, Ali Hajimiri, Sergio Pellegrino

We propose a novel design for a lightweight, high-performance space-based solar power array combined with power beaming capability for operation in geosynchronous orbit and transmission of power to Earth. We use a modular configuration of small, repeatable unit cells, called tiles, that each individually perform power collection, conversion, and transmission. Sunlight is collected via lightweight parabolic concentrators and converted to DC electric power with high efficiency III-V photovoltaics. Several CMOS integrated circuits within each tile generates and controls the phase of multiple independently-controlled microwave sources using the DC power. These sources are coupled to multiple radiating antennas which act as elements of a large phased array to beam the RF power to Earth. The power is sent to Earth at a frequency chosen in the range of 1-10 GHz and collected with ground-based rectennas at a local intensity no larger than ambient sunlight. We achieve significantly reduced mass compared to previous designs by taking advantage of solar concentration, current CMOS integrated circuit technology, and ultralight structural elements. Of note, the resulting satellite has no movable parts once it is fully deployed and all beam steering is done electronically. Our design is safe, scalable, and able to be deployed and tested with progressively larger configurations starting with a single unit cell that could fit on a cube satellite. The design reported on here has an areal mass density of 160 g/m2 and an end-to-end efficiency of 7-14%. We believe this is a significant step forward to the realization of space-based solar power, a concept once of science fiction.

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)

Cite as: arXiv:2206.08373 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2206.08373v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2206.08373

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Submission history

From: Austin Fikes

[v1] Thu, 16 Jun 2022 00:10:27 UTC (2,532 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/2206.08373

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