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Proceedings Paper

Hole-boring through clouds for laser power beaming
Author(s): Ronald J. Lipinski; Robert F. Walter
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Paper Abstract

Power beaming to satellites with a ground-based laser can be limited by clouds. Hole-boring through the clouds with a laser has been proposed as a way to overcome this obstacle. This paper reviews the past work on laser hole-boring and concludes that hole-boring for direct beaming to satellites is likely to require 1 - 50 MW. However, it may be possible to use an airborne relay mirror at 10 - 25 km altitude for some applications in order to extend the range of the laser (e.g., for beaming to satellites near the horizon). In these cases, use of the relay mirror also would allow a narrow beam between the laser and the relay, as well as the possibility of reducing the crosswind if the plane matched speed with the cloud temporarily. Under these conditions, the power requirement to bore a hold through most cirrus and cirrostratus clouds might be only 500-kW if the hole is less than 1 m in diameter and if the crosswind speed is less than 10 m/s. Overcoming cirrus and cirrostratus clouds would reduce the downtime due to weather by a factor of 2. However, 500 kW is a large laser, and it may be more effective instead to establish a second power beaming site in a separate weather zone. An assessment of optimum wavelengths for hole boring also was made, and the best options were found to be 3.0 - 3.4 micrometers and above 10 micrometers .

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 April 1995
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2376, Laser Power Beaming II, (26 April 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.208192
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald J. Lipinski, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Robert F. Walter, W.J. Schafer Associates, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2376:
Laser Power Beaming II
Harold E. Bennett; Richard D. Doolittle, Editor(s)

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