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Recent Wireless Power Transmission Technologies in Japan for

Space Solar Power Station/Satellite
Naoki Shinohara1) and Shigeo Kawasaki2)
1) Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto University,
2) Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

ABSTRACT — Wireless Power Transmission technology The other Japanese SPS is designed by METI (Ministry
via microwave (Microwave Power Transmission ; MPT) was of Economy, Trade and Industry) and USEF (Institute for
advanced from 1960’s and many researchers which had a Unmanned .Space Experiment Free Flyer)[4]. USEF-SPS
dream to realize the Space Solar Power Satellite/Station is so called tethered SPS. The attitude stability is
(SPS). In Japan, many kinds of the SPS were proposed and
designed in recent ten years. We will show the newest
maintained by the gravity gradient of the field. The
Japanese SPS and its characteristics. We also show some difference of gravity at the bus and panel make the system
results of the recent Japanese MPT experiments, Ubiquitous stabilize without active attitude stabilization system. The
Power Source, MPT for moving rover, Wireless charging SPS consists of sandwich panel (solar cell – microwave
system of electrical vehicle. transmitter – phased array antenna). The combination of
Index Terms — Microwave Power Transmission, Space solar cell and antenna makes short power distribution
Solar Power Satellite, Active Integrated Antenna. length inside the panel.


Wireless Power Transmission technology via
microwave (Microwave Power Transmission ; MPT) was
advanced from 1960’s[1] and many researchers which had
a dream to realize the Space Solar Power Satellite/Station
(SPS)[2]. The concept of the SPS is very simple. It is a
gigantic satellite designed as a CO2-free electric power
plant orbiting in the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).
The generated huge electric power will be transmitted
from the SPS to ground via microwave. The SPS system
has advantage in producing electricity with much higher
efficiency compared with a photovoltaic system on the
In Japan, many kinds of the SPS were proposed and
designed in recent ten years. We show two SPS designed
in Japan. One is designed by JAXA (Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency)[3]. The characteristics of the JAXA-
SPS are as follows ;
• The buoyancy can be used to fly the primary
mirrors independently
• Formation flying mirrors to avoid the rotary
• The whole system becomes mechanically
more stable and reliable.
• The adoption of some wavelength selective film
that could cut unusable light wavelengths is also
considered. Fig. 1. Resent Designed Japanese SPS (a) JAXA2004 model
(b) USEF2002 model

978-1-4244-2699-7/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE 13 RWS 2009

• Fans for cooling
We need more efficient and higher quality and more
economical MPT system for the SPS. However, there was • DC Power controller for FETs
no commercial MPT system and there were only some • DC power source for all elements
elemental and experimental MPT systems in the world. AIA is suitable for small and light weight microwave
There are some reasons. One is frequency regulation transmitter because the AIA is all integrated antenna and
problem. The other is shortage of effective and circuits.
economical MPT applications. Therefore, we proposed 3
steps of the commercial MPT system to the SPS as (a)
follows ; Transmitting System
• - 10 years (1st Step)
Weak Power - Wireless Power Transmission
under Present Frequency Regulation (RF-ID,
LED, IC, Ubiquitous Power Source, Energy
Harvesting..) or High Power - Wireless Power
Transmission in Closed Area under Present
Frequency Regulation
• 10 – 20 years (2nd Step)
High Power - Wireless Power Transmission
under New Frequency Regulation (Special
Frequency for WPT, not yet) to/from Moving
Target/Transmitter on Ground Receiving
• 20 – 30 years (Final Step) System
Wireless Power Transmission in/from/to Space
(Space Solar Power ; SPS)
As a first step to the SPS, Kyoto University group
proposed concept of ‘Ubiquitous Power Source’ to charge
batteries of mobile phones or note PC via microwaves (b)
(Fig.2)[5]. We bring a receiving system, rectenna, instead
of heavy battery in the UPS system. Design of the
ubiquitous power source system is limited a safety level of
microwave to human beings because the concept is
“power source in every time and in everywhere”. The
safety level is under 1 mW/cm2 for continuous all over the
human body. Against the safety level, we would like to
get higher power from the microwave. However, it is
enough to charge a battery of a mobile phone with a
rectenna array of optimized size under 1 mW/cm2(Fig.2).
We can also apply the MPT technologies not only for
the UPS and SPS but also MPT for moving target. The
USEF conducts the MPT experimental project with Kyoto
University from FY2004 (Fig.3)[6]. We achieved
33.3g/W of 5.8GHz 120WCW 32 AIAs, (2) advancement
Fig. 2. (a) concept of Ubiquitous Power Source
of power management of rectenna with DC/DC converter
(b) Experimental Result of Wireless Charging of Mobile Phone
and buffer battery, (3) successfully coexistence of 100W
microwave and 10mW wireless communication waves.
Frequency is 5.8GHzCW. The characteristics of the
microwave transmitting sub-system are as follows ;
• 32 element AIA with linear polarized rectangular
microstrip antenna array and 4W output 3-stage
high power amplifiers on bent di-electric base for
expand cooling area
• Microwave power source with pre-amplifier and

Transmitting Antenna

Rectenna Array


Microwave Power

Rover (Antenna, Command
Command Controller
Fig.3 MPT experiment with 32 AIAs as a power transmitter for moving rover

The SPS with the MPT is hopeful power station in
future. In Japan, many researchers continue to design new [1] Brown, W. C., “The history of Power transmission by radio
waves”, IEEE transaction on microwave theory and
SPS and carry out experiments, especially MPT
techniques, MTT-32, pp.1230-1242, 1984.
experiments. However, road to the SPS is far and steep
[2] Glaser, P. E.; "Power from the Sun ; Its Future", Science, 162,
because there is no application of the MPT on ground. pp.857 - 886, 1968
The high power MPT application systems and/or weak [3] Oda, M., “Realization of the Solar Power Satellite Using the
power MPT application systems are hopeful milestone to Formation Flying Solar Reflector”, NASA Formation Flying
clime up to the SPS. symposium, 2004.
[4] Sasaki, S., K. Tanaka, K. Higuchi, N. Okuizumi, S.
Kawasaki, N. Shinohara, K. Senda, and K. Ishimura, “A
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT New Concept of Solar Power Satellite : Tethered-SPS”,
Acta Astronautica, Vol.60, 2006, pp.153-165
A Part of this study (MPT for moving target) was subsidized [5] Shinohara, N., T. Mitani, and H. Matsumoto, “Study on
by the Japan Keirin Association through its Promotion Funds Ubiquitous Power Source with Microwave Power
from KEIRIN RACE and was supported by the Mechanical Transmission”, Proc. of International Union of Radio
Social Systems Foundation and the Ministry of Economy, Trade Science (URSI) General Assembly 2005, 2005, CD-ROM
and Industry. C07.5(01145).pdf
Experiment in the present study (MPT for moving target) was [6] Shinohara, N., K. Nagano, T. Ishii, S. Kawasaki, T. Fujiwara,
carried out with the METLAB system of Research Institute for S. Nakayama, Y. Takahashi, S. Sasaki, K. Tanaka, Y.
Hisada, Y. Fujino, S. Mihara, T. Anzai, and Y. Kobayashi,
Sustainable Humanosphere (RISH) at Kyoto University as a
“Experiment of Microwave Power Transmission to the
collaborative research project conducted by Institute for Moving Rover”, Proc. of International Symposium on
Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF). Antennas and Propagation (ISAP2007), 2007, CD-ROM