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Proceedings Paper

Launching of microsatellites using ground-based high-power pulsed lasers (Plenary Paper)
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Paper Abstract

This paper reviews the basic concepts of laser propulsion and summarizes work done to date using a 10 kW device. The paper describes a candidate megawatt class CO2 laser system which can be scaled relatively near-term to multi-megawatt power levels using demonstrated technology. Such a system would potentially be capable of launching micro-satellites into low earth orbits (LEO) at relatively low cost. Our projections indicate that payloads of about 1kg/megawatt are achievable. The long wavelength of a CO2 laser will require the use of a large aperture telescope and/or large effective beam capture area for the lift vehicle. We believe that these limitations, not withstanding, rep-pulsed CO2 in a blow-down configuration lasting 200-300 seconds could achieve the desired propulsion objectives. The laser would use a helium-free, nitrogen/carbon dioxide mixture to provide a very cost effective fuel.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2004
PDF: 19 pages
Proc. SPIE 5448, High-Power Laser Ablation V, (20 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.548428
Show Author Affiliations
Victor H. Hasson, Trex Enterprises Corp. (United States)
Franklin B. Mead Jr., Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
C. William Larson, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Hsian Pei Chou, Textron Systems Corp. (United States)

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

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