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Space solar power programs and microwave wireless power transmission technology

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2 Author(s)
McSpadden, J.O. ; Boeing Phantom Works, Seattle, WA, USA ; Mankins, J.C.

Future large-scale space solar power (SSP) will form a very complex integrated system of systems requiring numerous significant advances in current technology and capabilities. Ongoing technology developments have narrowed many of the gaps, but major technical, regulatory, and conceptual hurdles remain. Continuing systems concept studies and analyses will be critical to success, as will following a clear strategic R&T road map. This road map must assure both an incremental and evolutionary approach to developing needed technologies and systems is followed, with significant and broadly applicable advances with each increment. In particular, the technologies and systems needed for SPS must support highly leveraged applicability to needs in space science, robotic and human exploration, and the development of space. Considerable progress has been made in the critical area of microwave power transmission. At 5.8 GHz, DC-RF converters with efficiencies over 80% are achievable today. Rectennas developed at 5.8 GHz have also been measured with efficiencies greater than 80%. With optimized components in both the transmitter and rectenna, an SPS system has the potential of a DC-to-DC efficiency of 45%.

Published in:

Microwave Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 4 )