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Power-Optimal Guidance for Planar Space Solar Power Satellites

Marshall, Michael A. and Goel, Ashish and Pellegrino, Sergio (2020) Power-Optimal Guidance for Planar Space Solar Power Satellites. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 43 (3). pp. 518-535. ISSN 0731-5090. doi:10.2514/1.g004643.

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This paper presents power-optimal guidance for a planar space solar power satellite (SSPS). Power-optimal guidance is the attitude trajectory that maximizes the solar power transmitted by the SSPS. Planarity is important because it couples the orientations of the SSPS’s photovoltaic and antenna surfaces. Hence, the transmitted power depends on the relative geometry between the SSPS, the sun, and the receiving station. The orientation that maximizes power transfer changes as this relative geometry changes. Both single- and dual-sided SSPS architectures are considered. A single-sided SSPS has one photovoltaic surface and one antenna surface. A dual-sided SSPS is a single-sided SSPS with at least one additional photovoltaic or antenna surface. Geometric arguments show that a dual-sided SSPS has superior performance to a single-sided SSPS. Power-optimal guidance is then presented for the special cases of SSPSs in geostationary Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit, and low Earth orbit transmitting to an equatorial receiving station at the time of Earth’s vernal equinox. These examples emphasize important solution properties, including the need for large slew maneuvers, and they show that, even though system efficiency decreases as orbit altitude decreases, reduced path losses actually increase the amount of received energy per unit aperture area. This has significant system implications for future space solar power missions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Pellegrino, Sergio0000-0001-9373-3278
Additional Information:© 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Received 8 June 2019; Accepted 27 October 2019; Published online 24 December 2019. M. A. Marshall was supported by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. Financial support from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Space Solar Power Project is gratefully acknowledged. The authors thank the Caltech Space Solar Power Project team (especially Dan Scharf, Richard Madonna, and Terry Gdoutos) for helpful comments and discussions.
Group:GALCIT, Space Solar Power Project
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship80NSSC18 K1177
Space Solar Power ProjectUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191224-093207317
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Power-Optimal Guidance for Planar Space Solar Power Satellites. Michael A. Marshall, Ashish Goel, and Sergio Pellegrino. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics 2020 43:3, 518-535; doi: 10.2514/1.g004643
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:100429
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:24 Dec 2019 19:12
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:53

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