Locating large solar power satellites in the geosynchronous Laplace plane

McNally, I., Scheeres, D. and Radice, G. (2015) Locating large solar power satellites in the geosynchronous Laplace plane. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 38(3), pp. 489-505. (doi: 10.2514/1.G000609)

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Designs for geostationary solar power satellites are extremely large in scale, more than an order of magnitude larger than the International Space Station. A detailed study of solar power satellites’ orbit dynamics is performed, obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the effect of perturbations on orbits of large solar power satellite structures over a time frame commensurate with proposed solar power satellites’ lifetimes (30–40 years). Analytical equations derived by the process of averaging of the solar power satellites’ equations of motion are used to determine the long-term orbital behavior. Previous solar power satellite studies have simply assumed geostationary Earth orbit, then designed control systems for maintaining it thus. It is found that an alternative solar power satellite orbital location, known as the geosynchronous Laplace plane, is superior to geostationary in many aspects. A solar power satellite in the geosynchronous Laplace plane requires virtually no fuel to maintain its orbit, minimizes the risk of debris creation at geosynchronous altitude, and is extremely operationally robust (i.e., loss of control is inconsequential). The geosynchronous Laplace plane solar power satellite saves on order of 105  kg per year in fuel compared with a geostationary solar power satellite for near-equivalent power delivery. It is also found that the microwave beam orbit perturbation, which is unique to the solar power satellites, contributes toward stabilization of the longitude of the solar power satellites.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Radice, Dr Gianmarco
Authors: McNally, I., Scheeres, D., and Radice, G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Autonomous Systems and Connectivity
Journal Name:Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Publisher:American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
ISSN (Online):1533-3884

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