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A novel space-based solar power collection via LEO satellite networks: Orbital management via wireless local positioning systems

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4 Author(s)
Seyed A. Zekavat ; Michigan Technological University, Houghton, USA ; Ossama Abdelkhalik ; Shu T. Goh ; Daniel R. Fuhrmann

A space-based solar power technology that uses networks of small Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites is proposed. Due to the relative motion of these satellites with respect to the earth, multiple power-collecting base stations (PCBS) are implemented on the Earth to allow effective energy collection. Compared to the traditional Solar Power Satellite (SPS), in the proposed technique, satellites fly at a lower altitude. This leads to lower path loss attenuation in transferring energy from space to the earth. In addition, they have lower launching cost, efficient power transmission to the Earth due to lower energy dispersion, and minimal environmental effects due to the low power transmission. Moreover, no ¿in space¿ assembly of large structures is required and their maintenance is cost-effective. This paper investigates the orbital management for a specific group of satellites that form a cluster and stay in formation at all times. A wireless local positioning system (WLPS) is incorporated to compute the relative distances between satellites for orbital management. The WLPS enables each satellite to measure the position of other satellites located in its coverage area. An Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) is implemented to allow high performance localization, and to maintain satellites in their proper orbit. The effect of the number of satellites in the formation on the relative positions estimation is studied.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2010 IEEE

Date of Conference:

6-13 March 2010