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Proceedings Paper

Laser impulse generation required for space debris deorbiting
Author(s): Keiko Watanabe; Akihiro Sasoh
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Paper Abstract

Impulse generation using laser energy has advantages for aerospace propulsion; energy can be supplied from a remote device, thereby reducing a necessary mass on board and accompanied cost; the specific input energy is not limited by inherent energy of working fluid. After Kantrowitz proposed the concept of laser propulsion in 1972, impulse generation and launch performance either with single or multiple laser pulses has been experimentally studied. Possible application of this technique ranges even to space debris de-orbiting. As the example which actually launched a projectile, Yabe conducted an experiment that 0.1-gram paper airplane with an acryl overlay was launched at about 1.4 m/s using 0.6-J-class Nd:YAG laser. In Tanaka et al.'s experiment, 7 -microgram multi-layered flyer was accelerated to about 13 km/s using 20-J-class Nd:glass laser. Myrabo, using a 10-kW-class repetitive-pulse carbon dioxide laser, successfully launched a 51-gram 'lightcraft' at about 15 m/s up to altitude of 71 m. In these experiments, the values of impulse (i.e., momentum) and momentum coupling coefficient were estimated about 0.14 x 10-3 kg-m/s, 91x10-3 kg-m/s and 765x10-3 kg-m/s and about 240 N/MW, 4 N/MW and 50 N/MW, respectively. The objective of this study is to enhance a laser-driven impulse using a 300-J-class single pulsed laser owing to fluid-dynamic process. In this paper, we discuss a high-speed launch performance of a 1-gram projectile by enhanced impulse and achieved momentum coupling coefficient which are significantly improved using fluid-dynamic effect.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2004
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 5448, High-Power Laser Ablation V, (20 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.548136
Show Author Affiliations
Keiko Watanabe, Tohoku Univ. (Japan)
Akihiro Sasoh, Tohoku Univ. (Japan)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5448:
High-Power Laser Ablation V
Claude R. Phipps, Editor(s)

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