Proceedings PaperSpace debris de-orbiting by vaporization impulse using short pulse laser
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Space debris constitutes a significant hazard to low earth orbit satellites and particularly to manned spacecraft. A quite small velocity decrease from vaporization impulses is enough to lower the perigee of the debris sufficiently for atmospheric drag to de-orbit the debris. A short pulse (picosecond) laser version of the Orion concept can accomplish this task in several years of operation. The "Mercury" short pulse Yb:S-FAP laser being developed at LLNL for laser fusion is appropriate for this task.