Centralized Power Supply as Basis of New Philosophy of Space Power Engineering 1999-01-2436
The power supply is one of the most important problems for the perspective spacecraft and vehicles. There are:
the traditional spacecraft for phone- and TV communication, ecological monitoring, geological survey etc.;
the powerful multiprogram space station (for example “ALPHA”, “MIR” etc.);
the transportation vehicles in the near Earth Space (for example for the payload’s delivery from LEO to GEO) with the electric jet propulsion;
the prospective station on the Moon and Mars.
We have the analogous problems of the wireless power transmission from space to the Earth and from the Earth to space. There are well known projects for powerful space station, which utilizes the solar energy and converts it in a focused electromagnetic beam for transportation to the Earth.
The traditional power supply systems of the spacecraft include their own on-board power station (usually by the solar cells or the radioisotope batteries) for each of them. For a side by side comparison, consider the alternative spacecraft power supply concept, which implies usage of the powerful centralized electric power station (powersat) and energy transmission to the user satellites by laser or microwave beams. Some problem of such systems were considered in prior articles and papers  - .