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Proceedings Paper

Space elevator: an ideal application for the free-electron laser
Author(s): Bradley C. Edwards
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Paper Abstract

All space activities rely completely on rockets to get into space. Advanced propulsion systems are being examined by NASA and others but few if any of these technologies, even if perfected, can provide the high-volume, low-cost transportation system required for future space activities mankind hopes for. A system with the required traits is the space elevator. The space elevator, a cable that can be ascended by mechanical means from Earth to space, would reduce the cost of getting into space by a factor 100 or more while increasing launch capabilities dramatically. Under a NIAC grant we have laid the technical groundwork by examining all aspects of a first elevator. For a cost of $40B the first space elevator could provide low-risk, inexpensive access to space within the next 15 years. A free-electron laser power beaming system is critical to the success of the space elevator, no other system has the performance required to provide power to the climbers. Using the free-electron laser power beaming system the space elevator could efficiently provide inexpensive access to space for placing satellites, human colonization and placement of space-based solar power satellites that could provide large quantities of renewable clean power.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 June 2002
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 4632, Laser and Beam Control Technologies, (4 June 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.469764
Show Author Affiliations
Bradley C. Edwards, Eureka Scientific, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4632:
Laser and Beam Control Technologies
Santanu Basu; James F. Riker, Editor(s)

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