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The ALP-PALS Project: optimal coupling for laser propulsion

Boody, F. P. and Badziak, J. and Eckel, Hans-Albert and Gammino, S. and Krása, J. and Láska, L. and Mezzasalma, A. and Pakhomov, A. J. and Parys, P. and Pfeifer, M. and Pisarczyk, T. and Rohlena, K. and Schall, Wolfgang and Torrisi , L. and Wolowski, J. (2006) The ALP-PALS Project: optimal coupling for laser propulsion. In: High-Power Laser Ablation VI, 6261. SPIE. High-Power Laser Ablation, 2006-05-07 - 2006-05-12, Taos Convention Center, Taos, NM, USA. ISBN 0-8194-6326-4.

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Abstract

Since the early 1970s ablative laser propulsion (ALP) has promised to revolutionize space travel by reducing the 30:1 propellant/payload ratio needed for near-earth orbit by up to a factor of 50, by leaving the power source on the ground. But the necessary sub-ns high average power lasers were not available. Dramatic recent progress in laser diodes for pumping solid-state lasers is changing that. Recent results from military laser weapons R and D programs, combined with progress on ceramic disk lasers, suddenly promise lasers powerful enough for automobile-size, if not space shuttle-size payloads, not only the 4 - 10 kg "microsatellites" foreseen just a few years ago. For ALP, the 1.6-μm Er:YAG laser resonantly pumped by InP diode lasers is especially promising. Prior coupling experiments have demonstrated adequate coupling coefficients and specific impulses, but were done with too long pulses and too low pulse energies. The properties of ions produced and the ablated surface were generally not measured but are necessary for understanding and modeling propulsion properties. ALP-PALS will realistically measure ALP parameters using the Prague Asterix Laser System (PALS) high power photodissociation iodine laser (λ = 1.315 μm, EL ≤1 kJ, τ ~ 400 ps, beam diameter ~29 cm, flat beam profile) whose parameters match those required for application. PALS' 1.3-μm λ is a little short (vs. 1.53-1.72 μm) but is the closest available and PALS' 2ω / 3ω capability allows wavelength dependence to be studied.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech, Paper)
Title:The ALP-PALS Project: optimal coupling for laser propulsion
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Boody, F. P.Ion Light Technologies GmbH (Germany)
Badziak, J. Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)
Eckel, Hans-AlbertUNSPECIFIED
Gammino, S.INFN, Lab. Nazionali del Sud (Italy)
Krása, J. Institute of Physics (Czech Republic)
Láska, L.Institute of Physics (Czech Republic)
Mezzasalma, A.Univ. of Messina (Italy)
Pakhomov, A. J.Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (USA)
Parys, P.Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)
Pfeifer, M. Institute of Physics (Czech Republic)
Pisarczyk, T.Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)
Rohlena, K.Institute of Physics (Czech Republic)
Schall, WolfgangUNSPECIFIED
Torrisi , L.INFN, Lab. Nazionali del Sud (Italy) and Univ. of Messina (Italy)
Wolowski, J.Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)
Date:May 2006
Journal or Publication Title:High-Power Laser Ablation VI
Refereed publication:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:No
Volume:6261
Editors:
EditorsEmail
Phipps, ClaudeUNSPECIFIED
Publisher:SPIE
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
ISBN:0-8194-6326-4
Status:Published
Keywords:Laser space propulsion, Laser ablation, Coupling coefficient, Ion properties
Event Title:High-Power Laser Ablation
Event Location:Taos Convention Center, Taos, NM, USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:2006-05-07 - 2006-05-12
Organizer:SPIE
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Aircraft Research
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AR - Aircraft Research
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Laser Research and Technology
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Technical Physics
Deposited By: Dr.rer.nat. Hans-Albert Eckel
Deposited On:05 Mar 2007
Last Modified:27 Apr 2009 13:19

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