Price Range

200-500 KEURO


The electric on-board power generation system of existing and future telecommunication satellites is structured around two main subsub-systems: (a) Solar arrays and the associated Solar Array Drive Mechanisms (SADM), and (b) the Batteries. The contribution of the corresponding building-blocks to the cost of the platform hardware can be rather significant (more than 10%). One alternative tosolar cells, for which efficiency and spectrum coverage are both limited, is the concentration of the solar energy through a mirrorof parabolic shape. The thermal energy brought by the photons would then be converted into electric energy, through a “thermo acoustic” engine, with a version of the Stirling engine in this case adapted for the space environment since there are no moving parts.Initial experimental assessments led to efficiency figures of 40% reached today, for a global Sun energy to electricity efficiency (asdelivered to a primary bus). Further initial evaluation has indicated that the cost of such machines would be in the order of ten percent of GaAs solar cells, for the same delivered power. Additionally, such engines would not be sensitive a priory to solar flares. This thermo-acoustic solar-to-electric energy conversion technique seems to be very promising, and one should assess its benefitsand associated constraints for use in a telecommunication satellite. This approach is potentially disruptive: before engaging into further technological development there is a need to assess the impacts (benefits and constraints) at system level, through an ARTES1 study. The objective of the proposed activity is thus (1) To define a concept of use of Thermo-Acoustic Engines with Geostationary-Telecommunication Satellites (2) To Assess the Benefits and Constraints of introducing this type of Engines into Satcom Satellites and, (3) Should the Trade Offs performed in (2) lead to a positive balance, define a roadmap for the introduction on the marketof these engines with the aim at supporting the ARTES participating industry in taking benefits of this technique on the global market. The overall approach should include at least the following elements (1) Define the operating modes and constraints associated to thermo-acoustic engines and geostationary satcom (2) Propose new concepts of satcom (including energy storage) and adapt thermo-acoustic energy conversion (3) Review satellite platform concepts and operation (4) Assess possibilities to use thermo-acoustic engine during transfer phase when coupled with electric propulsion (5) Assess budgets (performance, costs, ….) (6) Assess Benefits and Constraints (7) Propose roadmaps – if needed (incl. IOD). This activity shall be implemented with the aim at being implemented with asystem-orientated approach, at platform and satellite level, in order to assess the cost benefits of the proposed thermo-acoustic solar-to-electric energy conversion technique

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