Power transmission studies for tethered SP-100The tether and/or transmission line connecting the SP-100 to Space Station presents some unorthodox challenges in high voltage engineering, power transmission, and distribution. The line, which doubles as a structural element of this unusual spacecraft, will convey HVDC from SP-100 to the platform in low Earth orbit, and environment where the local plasma is sufficient to cause breakdown of exposed conductors at potentials of only a few hundred volts. Its anticipated several years operation, and continuously accumulating exposure to meteoroids and debris, raises an increasing likelihood that mechanical damage, including perforation, will be sustained in service. The present concept employs an array of gas insulated solid wall aluminum coaxial tubes; a conceptual design which showed basic feasibility of the SP-100 powered Space Station. Practical considerations of launch, deployment and assembly have led to investigation of reel deployable, dielectric insulated coaxial cables. To be competitive, the dielectric would have to operate reliably in a radiation environment under electrical stresses exceeding 50 kV/cm. The SP-100 transmission line high voltage interfaces are also considered.
Bents, David J. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)