Abstract

The solar power satellite (SPS) concept is an elegant solution to the challenge of providing large-scale energy for humanity: a large platform, positioned in space in a high Earth orbit, continuously collects and converts solar energy into electricity. SPS-ALPHA is composed of a large number of small modules, which enables the modularity and lower cost of machining/space transport. Until now two options of SPS-ALPHA have been proposed, the Mark-I version (sigmoid-curve-based shape) and the Mark-II version (conical shape). The current study aims to find the optimal design parameters of the reflecting modules for these two versions where high optical efficiency and a stable irradiance distribution are both achieved for an effective photovoltaic layout design. To meet this target, the ant colony optimization algorithm, combined with dynamic source–target mapping, was adopted to find the optimal aiming vectors of the reflectors. The optical transmission characteristics under different incident degrees were investigated using a two-step Monte Carlo ray tracing method. The received heat flux distribution and error analysis of the two structural versions are compared as well. This article can provide basic data and a reference for engineering constructions of SPS-ALPHA for the next step.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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