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Post Info TOPIC: Raytheon Airborne Microwave Platform (RAMP)


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Raytheon Airborne Microwave Platform (RAMP)
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Well, how's this for something new? lol

(Credit to Hesham and TsrJoe for initially pointing it out and locating the material. First pic from Aviation magazine, 1960.)

https://coldwar-c4i.net/RAMP/index.html

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/radio-powered-sky-station/

And it's even talked about on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_unmanned_aerial_vehicles#Beamed_power_UAV_experiments

The idea of using UAVs as a cheaper alternative to satellites for atmospheric research, earth and weather observation, and particularly communications goes back at least to the late 1950s, with conceptual studies focused on UAVs with conventional propulsion, or new forms of propulsion using microwave beamed power or photovoltaic solar cells.

Raytheon suggested what would now be described as a UAV using beamed power, flying at an altitude of 15 kilometers (9.3 mi), as far back as 1959, and actually performed a proof-of-concept demonstration in 1964, with a transmitting antenna powering a helicopter on a 20-meter (65 foot) tether. The helicopter carried a rectifying antenna or "rectenna" array incorporating thousands of diodes to convert the microwave beam into useful electrical power.

The 1964 demonstration received a good deal of publicity, but nothing came of it, since enthusiasm for Earth satellites was very high and the rectenna system was heavy and inefficient. However, in the 1970s, NASA became interested in beamed power for space applications, and, in 1982, published a design for a much lighter and cheaper rectenna system.



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Cool! Gonna give the article a read tomorrow. Sounds really interesting.



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kind of an early Lockheed NE&SS-Akron high altitude airship (HAA) powered by microwaves??

"Perhaps in the not too distant future we will have high efficiency Amplitron-type tubes mounted in sky stations all the while beaming power through space at the earth, providing electricity for cars, houses and factories without local wiring.

Because the idea worked out smashingly for Tesla right? :P



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They didn't say anything about it being free... biggrin



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true :P



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Really interesting that the platform was going to use heat generated from the microwave power to drive the rotor by expelling it through tip jets like a cold/hot-cycle drive.



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Makes sense, since the principle seemed pretty promising around that timeframe.

While checking the NTRS, I found these technical reports which also talk about the RAMP and other beam-powered platform designs:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19810018863.pdf

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19680010576.pdf

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19690025525.pdf

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19900000834.pdf

And there's this:

http://www.spacedevelopmentfoundation.org/wordpress/documents/2019/06/kazemi-millimeter-wireless-power-transfer-technology.pdf/



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The rectenna demo helicopter from 1964:



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Helicopter demo platform with self-positioning sensors from 1968:



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It looks like the demo helicopters are part of a separate program sponsored by the Air Force but based on the technology proposed for the RAMP. The PDFs say it was a project at Purdue University to study converting microwave power to DC power with the rectenna system. I think systems like the RAMP could be referred to as pseudosatellites since they perform on a similar principle without needing to orbit outside of Earth's atmosphere, though actual satellite systems were studied later. Fascinating subject.



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