Power hotspots in space: powering CubeSats via inter-satellite optical wireless power transfer

Marwa Qaraqe, Muhammad Usman, Ahmet Serbes, Imran Shafique Ansari, Mohamed Slim Alouini

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


The desire to provide global Internet coverage is driving traditional terrestrial networks to evolve towards an integrated space and terrestrial network wherein miniaturized satellites, a.k.a CubeSats, remain at the core. Although both academia and industry are investigating the potential of CubeSats to provide global connectivity, they still fall short of the power generation capacity to enable high data rate communication in gigabits per second range. This article spotlights on alternate sources of energy that can provide the power demands needed for high data rate communication. We present the concept of power HotSpots wherein the bigger satellites in low earth orbits (LEO), having power generation capacity much larger than CubeSats, can transfer their excess energy to CubeSats in need, using optical wireless technology. This provides a business opportunity for larger enterprises having the capability of launching bigger satellites to sell their power to CubeSats. As a proof of concept, this article presents a basic simulation regarding optical wireless power transfer (OWPT) to CubeSats. In addition, we highlight future research challenges in this area to maximize OWPT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Magazine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems


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