Orbit Options for Near-Term Space Solar Power

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Studies of space solar power (SSP) for the commercial grid have usually considered transmitting power from geostationary orbit (GEO), via microwaves at frequencies below 10 GHz, where the atmosphere is relatively transparent. Due to beam divergence from that distance at such frequencies, system sizes must be be large, leading to power levels of 1000 MW or more. However, the scale of the systems, and the need to develop low-cost routine access to space, make competing with traditional energy sources challenging in the near-term. More recently, studies by the US Naval Research Laboratory have considered SSP for nearer-term niche uses in remote locations. At such locations, providing power by conventional means can be challenging. Many remote locations are typically powered by generators, which depend on fuel delivered at great cost, often through hazardous environments. Power requirements for such users range from a few hundred kilowatts to several megawatts. Furthermore, some remote facilities are at high latitudes, which are inaccessible from geostationary orbit. This presentation will consider alternative orbits. Examples of such orbits are highly inclined orbits, which may be sun-synchronous, or have a repeating ground track, or both. In addition, elliptical orbits may be considered which have relatively long dwell times over ground sites that are beneath their apogee. Since non-GEO orbits do not remain over their intended ground sites, systems or constellations, of satellites must be designed, in which beam handoffs can provide a given ground site with power much of the time, while making maximum use of the satellites as multiple satellites serve multiple ground sites.



  Date and Time

  Location

  Hosts

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  • Redonod Beach, California
  • United States
  • Co-sponsored by Coastal Los Angeles Section APS Chapter
  • Starts 20 July 2020 09:37 AM
  • Ends 16 August 2020 11:37 PM
  • All times are America/Los_Angeles
  • No Admission Charge
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  Speakers

Seth Potter

Topic:

Orbit Options for Near-Term Space Solar Power

Studies of space solar power (SSP) for the commercial grid have usually considered transmitting power from geostationary orbit (GEO), via microwaves at frequencies below 10 GHz, where the atmosphere is relatively transparent. Due to beam divergence from that distance at such frequencies, system sizes must be be large, leading to power levels of 1000 MW or more. However, the scale of the systems, and the need to develop low-cost routine access to space, make competing with traditional energy sources challenging in the near-term. More recently, studies by the US Naval Research Laboratory have considered SSP for nearer-term niche uses in remote locations. At such locations, providing power by conventional means can be challenging. Many remote locations are typically powered by generators, which depend on fuel delivered at great cost, often through hazardous environments. Power requirements for such users range from a few hundred kilowatts to several megawatts. Furthermore, some remote facilities are at high latitudes, which are inaccessible from geostationary orbit. This presentation will consider alternative orbits. Examples of such orbits are highly inclined orbits, which may be sun-synchronous, or have a repeating ground track, or both. In addition, elliptical orbits may be considered which have relatively long dwell times over ground sites that are beneath their apogee. Since non-GEO orbits do not remain over their intended ground sites, systems or constellations, of satellites must be designed, in which beam handoffs can provide a given ground site with power much of the time, while making maximum use of the satellites as multiple satellites serve multiple ground sites.

Biography:

Seth Potter has worked extensively in the aerospace industry, where his experience has included space-based solar power, wireless power transmission, robotic satellite servicing, lunar and planetary mission design, radar system design, and solid-state electronics. He has consulted for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and XISP-Inc. Previous positions include Associate Technical Fellow at Boeing and contractor at Los Angeles Air Force Base Space and Missile Systems Center.  He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Science from New York University, as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics from Columbia University. He is a member of the National Space Society’s Board of Advisors, President of its OASIS – Los Angeles Chapter, and a Chapter Advisor to its Cape Town, South Africa Chapter. In addition, he is a member of the Council of the Los Angeles – Las Vegas Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has worked with A-MAN, Inc., a K-12 STEM Learning Center in Southern California on a Global Learning XPRIZE entry. He is also Project Development Director of the Space Development Foundation, and a member of the Moon Village Association. In addition, he is on the Board of Directors of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving Southern California's aerospace history.