A solar heated AMTEC spacecraft power system

E. Paul Chivington, Terry L. Hershey, Michael Schuller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have developed a conceptual design for a new power system for spacecraft. The system converts solar energy to electricity with a static energy device known as AMTEC, Alkali Metal Thermal to Electric Conversion. Sunlight is collected by a solar concentrator and focused on a thermal receiver. The receiver converts sunlight to heat and passes the heat to the AMTEC cells, which provide the on orbit power needed to operate the spacecraft. The receiver also stores sufficient energy, in a phase change material, to provide heat during the eclipse portion of the orbit. We have shown that the mass of the conceptual design should be competitive with a solar photo-Voltaic (PV) system with AMTEC cell efficiencies of 20% and light weight solar receivers. The solar heated AMTEC system may have advantages over PV systems in orbits where radiation damage to solar cell; is a major concern. However, the pointing and tracking of the power system concentrator is more complicated than for solar panels.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, 1994
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
Pages300-305
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes
EventIntersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, 1994 - Monterey, United States
Duration: 7 Aug 199412 Aug 1994

Other

OtherIntersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, 1994
CountryUnited States
CityMonterey
Period7/8/9412/8/94

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Paul Chivington, E., Hershey, T. L., & Schuller, M. (1994). A solar heated AMTEC spacecraft power system. In Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, 1994 (pp. 300-305). [AIAA-94-3814-CP] American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA.