Power Hotspots in Space: Powering CubeSats via Inter-Satellite Optical Wireless Power Transfer

The desire to provide global Internet coverage is driving traditional terrestrial networks to evolve towards an integrated space and terrestrial network wherein miniaturized satellites, a.k.a CubeSats, remain at the core. Although both academia and industry are investigating the potential of CubeSats to provide global connectivity, they still fall short of the power generation capacity to enable high data rate communication in gigabits per second range. This article spotlights on alternate sources of energy that can provide the power demands needed for high data rate communication. We present the concept of power HotSpots wherein the bigger satellites in low earth orbits (LEO), having power generation capacity much larger than CubeSats, can transfer their excess energy to CubeSats in need, using optical wireless technology. This provides a business opportunity for larger enterprises having the capability of launching bigger satellites to sell their power to CubeSats. As a proof of concept, this article presents a basic simulation regarding optical wireless power transfer (OWPT) to CubeSats. In addition, we highlight future research challenges in this area to maximize OWPT.

Qaraqe, M., Usman, M., Serbes, A., Ansari, I. S., & Alouini, M.-S. (2022). Power Hotspots in Space: Powering CubeSats via Inter-Satellite Optical Wireless Power Transfer. IEEE Internet of Things Magazine, 5(3), 180–185. https://doi.org/10.1109/iotm.001.001.2200071


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