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PowerHab IGLUNA 2020 Campaign - Virtual Field Campaign Experience


This article details the experience of the University of Strathclyde PowerHab student team who attended the Swiss Space Center IGLUNA 2019/20 virtual field campaign. The field campaign is the final stage of the IGLUNA project and allows the student teams who participated throughout the year to present their work and demonstrate their developed prototypes. PowerHab presented their finalized holistic lunar habitat power system as well as providing in-depth analysis into all their relevant subsystems. The team also managed to produce and demonstrate prototypes of a lithium-ion battery management system and regenerative hydrogen fuel cell which demonstrated some of the concepts that would be implemented in the full-scale system. As a result of the work carried out by the team, PowerHab finished in the top 3 teams that attended the field campaign and as a result, was granted the opportunity to present to ESA Director General Jan Wörner and SSC Scientific Technical Adviser Johan Richard.

Lunar Habitat Power System Overview

This section details the finalized version of the lunar habitat power system that was presented at the field campaign.


Several key requirements of the designed system are first highlighted to provide justification for the sizing of the subsystems as follows.

Requirement Explanation
Generation Provide up to 150 kW per hour to the lunar habitat
Storage Provide up to 150 kW per hour for up to 52 hours to account for the lunar night period
Resources Provide a smart use of materials present on the moon to minimise rocket launch mass


Finalised Power System Design

The finalised power system that was presented at the field campaign is shown and a brief explanation of each subsystem is provided. If you wish for a more in-depth look at the developed system, please view PowerHab’s previous article


Space Segment

Solar Reflector Satellite

The SRS satellites are used to reflect solar energy towards the developed SPS satellites to allow for larger amounts of solar energy to be harvested and to allow for the SPS to receive solar energy during lunar eclipse events if the SRS is out with the cast shadow cone.

Solar Powered Satellite

The SPS has large solar panels attached which are used to harness solar energy, this energy is then used to transmit microwaves to the lunar surface in what is known as wireless power transmission. A transmitter on the satellite emits microwaves at 94 GHz which are beamed down and collected by a microwave rectenna on the lunar surface which then converts the energy back to electricity.

Ground Segment

Solar Panels

A large array of ground based solar panels were implemented to allow for solar energy harvesting on the ground as well as space to provide a first stage deployment energy generation option.

Lithium-Ion Battery System

A large format battery energy storage system was designed which utilises a modular design of numerous battery banks spread across the lunar surface.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell System

The hydrogen fuel cell system acts as an in-situ renewable energy storage device that utilises the theorized water present at the lunar south pole as fuel minimising the mass required for implementation.

Thermal Mass System

A thermal mass system was also developed as an in-situ storage option that utilises lunar regolith soil and solar energy to heat a piping fluid that would then power a Stirling engine.

System Overview

The finalised power system met the minimum 150 kW power generation and storage requirements as each subsystem was designed to be able to generate or store the full energy requirement to provide redundancy for the design.

PowerHab’s Experience at the IGLUNA 2020 Virtual Field Campaign

The 2020 virtual field campaign took place from the 10th – 19th of July 2020 where over the course of the campaign all 15 project teams that attended were able to present their findings and various prototypes to the general public via YouTube livestreams. As well as the project shows, numerous experts in various fields within the space industry such as ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, were invited to present on their amazing experiences and to highlight the future possibilities of many of the students who attended the field campaign. After Thursday the 16th, the presentations ended, and Friday was used as a networking day where teams could arrange calls with various companies and were provided with the opportunity to receive feedback from both the SSC and ESA experts. Saturday and Sunday were then left for award presentations and for the top 3 teams to present to the ESA Director General before a closing ceremony. The entire schedule is highlighted below.


PowerHab were due to present on the last day of presentations on Thursday the 16th and so in the run up to the presentation, the team rehearsed and attended other teams and space experts presentations making up some of the interactive audience by asking questions and providing words of confidence via the YouTube livestream chat.

PowerHab Project Show – Thursday 16th

The PowerHab presentation took place on the morning of the 16th of July from 10-11 am, the presentation consisted of a 40-45 minute project show where the team demonstrated their work carried out in the past year, followed by 15 minutes of questions form the SSC and youtube audience.


The presentation itself took place via zoom and was shared to a YouTube livestream via streaming set up at the Swiss Space Center. For the PowerHab team, all members presented and assembled their prototypes from their homes across Scotland as coronavirus lockdown was in full effect. This added an element of complexity as the team was unable to meet up for rehearsals or even be able to present from only one computer and so the team had to adapt. The members of the team that attended the field campaign are shown as follows:


Gareth Mitchell (Top left), Donald Martin (Bottom left), Drew Gillespie (middle), Gavin Rodgers (Top right), and Finlay Rowe (Bottom Right)

The presentation was a huge success as all team members were able to present their various subsystems as part of the overall power system. The designs shown were explained to the public and corroborated with numerous calculations and analysis. The full-scale power system was presented and demonstrations of both the Hydrogen Fuel Cell and the Lithium-Ion Battery Management System were successful. The public seemed greatly interested in the presentation as PowerHab was one of the most viewed presentations throughout the entire campaign and the team received many questions regarding their work that were addressed and answered confidently.

You can view the PowerHab project show in the video below.


Networking and Feedback – Friday 17th

On Friday, the PowerHab team arranged various meetings throughout the day to provide a networking element to the virtual field campaign.

RS Components Grass Roots Team

The team arranged to meet with the RS Components Grass Roots team who sponsored the project to discuss the team’s success and to discuss how successful the partnership had been. The RS team conveyed their congratulations to the team and commended the hard work that had been carried out throughout the year.

ESA Experts Feedback Session

The team then met with ESA experts who had reviewed their work over the course of the campaign and who also oversaw the teams work at various stages throughout the project. The feedback received was extremely positive with regards to the presentation at the field campaign, it was conveyed that the presentation was extremely professional and that the demonstrations were interesting and engaging to the public.

SSC Feedback and Deliverables

The Friday session was rounded off with a feedback call with the Swiss Space Center where the team mentors provided the teams with their general feedback and then allowed the teams to discuss elements of the project that went well and elements that could do with improvement for future campaigns.

Feedback Overview

The overall conclusion of the feedback provided to the PowerHab team was that the presentation was extremely professional, interesting, and engaging and that the experts were extremely impressed the team’s effort and participation throughout the entire field campaign.

Award Ceremonies – Saturday 18th

On Saturday, the SSC took the day to acknowledge the hard work of the student teams both at the campaign and throughout the year. They handed out awards based on the success of project shows, participation in the field campaign, teamwork, quality of work and proactivity. As such the following teams all received awards for their contribution to the IGLUNA 2020 campaign:

Award Winning Teams
P02 GrowBotHub P11 Celestial
P03 SWAG P12 Smart Lunar Clothing
P05 SAMPLE P14 LDMS for Life
P07 Habitat P15 PowerHab



These teams all received certificates of excellence and furthermore, the SSC decided to award the three most successful teams by allowing them the opportunity to meet and Present to ESA Director General Jan Wörner and SSC Scientific Technical Advisor Johann Richard. The teams that finished in the top 3 were as follows:

  • P15 PowerHab – University of Strathclyde
  • P08 AMPEX – RWTH Aachen University
  • P11 Celestial – Technische Universitäy Berlin


ESA Director General Presentation and Campaign Closure – Sunday 19th

The Sunday marked the end of the IGLUNA 2020 campaign where firstly, the 3 awarded teams presented to the Director General and afterwards the SSC put on a closing ceremony to thank the work of everyone involved throughout the entire campaign.

PowerHab Presentation to ESA Director General

The PowerHab team presented their project show and the various prototypes to Jan and Johann who conveyed how impressed they were by the teams work and all their considerations. Upon completion of the presentation, the team received some feedback, pointers and questions from the pair which proved extremely valuable for future work. The team felt extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to meet both Jan and Johann and this experience rounded off the field campaign in the best possible scenario for the team who could not be happier.



Swiss Space Center Closing Ceremony

Upon completion of the 3 teams’ presentations, the field campaign was concluded by the SSC. Both Jan and Johann said some words as to how impressed they were and how they are looking forward to the future of space exploration with this new generation of students. The finally the Swiss Space Center staff who worked so hard to put on the campaign despite the COVID limitations were commended for their work and finally, numerous alumni who also helped with the project throughout the year were recognized. Thus, concluded the IGLUNA 2020 field campaign.


What Comes Next?

The IGLUNA 2020 campaign has been officially concluded and the PowerHab team that attended this version of the campaign will be replaced by a new group of students for the 2021 campaign. The team aims to continue development of their power system both by further developing currently considered systems and investigating new power systems to determine their feasibility. The team hopes to attend the 2021 field campaign whether in Switzerland or virtual and looks forward to continuing their work.

If you wish to stay updated on the team’s developments, you can follow them on LinkedIn as provided

We are PowerHab! A team of fourth- and fifth-year engineering students from the University of Strathclyde selected to participate in the IGLUNA 2020 campaign with the Swiss Space Center and ESA. Our objective is to develop a system capable of powering a lunar habitat whilst maintaining resiliency in the harsh lunar environment.
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