Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Space solar power satellite (SSPS) systems is the concept of placing large satellite into geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) to harvest and convert massive amounts of solar energy into microwave energy, and to transmit the microwaves to a rectifying antenna (rectenna) array on Earth. The rectenna array captures and converts the microwave power into usable power that is injected into the terrestrial electric grid for use. This work approached the microwave power beam as an additional source of power (with solar) for lower orbiting satellites. Assuming the concept of retrodirectivity, a GEO-SSPS antenna array system tracks and delivers microwave power to lower orbiting satellites. The lower orbiting satellites are equipped with a stacked photovoltaic (PV)/rectenna array hybrid power generation unit (HPGU) in order to harvest solar and/or microwave energy for on-board use during orbit. The area, and mass of the PV array part of the HPGU was reduced at about 32% beginning-of-life power in order to achieve the spacecraft power requirements. The HPGU proved to offer a mass decrease in the PGU, and an increase in mission life due to longer living component life of the rectenna array. Moreover, greater mission flexibility is achieved through a track and power delivery concept.
To validate the potential advantages offered by a HPGU, a mission concept was presented that utilizes modern small satellites as technology demonstrators. During launch, a smaller power receiving “daughter” satellite sits inside a larger power transmitting “mother” satellite. Once separated from the launch vehicle the daughter satellite is ejected away from the mother satellite, and each satellite deploys its respective power transmitting or power receiving hardware’s for experimentation. The concept of close proximity mission operations between the satellites is considered.
To validate the technology of the space rectenna array part of the HPGU, six milestones were completed in the design. The first milestone considers thermal analysis for antennas, and the second milestone compares commercial off-the-shelve high frequency substrates for thermal, and outgassing characteristics. Since the design of the rectenna system is centralized around the diode component, a diode analysis was conducted for the third milestone. Next, to efficiently transfer power between the different parts of the rectenna system a coplanar stripline was consider for the fourth milestone. The fifth milestone is a balanced-to-unbalanced transition structure that is needed to properly feed and measure different systems of the rectenna. The last milestone proposes laboratory measurement setups. Each of these milestones is a separate research question that is answered in this dissertation. The results of these rectenna milestones can be integrated into a HPGU.
Bergsrud, Corey Marvin, "Space Solar Power Satellite Systems, Modern Small Satellites, And Space Rectenna" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 1875.