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Laser Propulsion - A new Technology for Space Flight

Eckel, Hans-Albert and Karg, Stephanie and Scharring, Stefan (2010) Laser Propulsion - A new Technology for Space Flight. Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress, 31. Aug. - 2. Sep. 2010, Hamburg.

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In the last decades the principle of laser propulsion has been demonstrated by several laboratory experiments all over the world. The primary goal of these investigations was the development of alternative launch concepts for very small satellites (nanosats) from earth’s surface to low earth orbits (LEO). Unfortunately, it turned out, that the required laser power will not be available in near future. The rapid progress in the field of solid-state laser technology triggered the development of powerful compact pulsed laser sources even for applications in zero gravity environments and space. Equipped with this new laser sources laser propulsion technology offers new concepts for position keeping and attitude control of satellites or satellite constellations in orbit. Beam control with active and adaptive optical systems enables long range or remote laser propulsion. A future step may be space missions with sampling probes to asteroids or small planets and the return on a tractor beam. Today, the main objective is the development and evaluation of precise laser thrusters in the range from 0.1 µN to 1 mN. Alternative micro propulsion concepts are absolutely essential for many missions with precise attitude and orbit control. There is a growing demand due to geodesic missions measuring earth’s gravity (successors of CHAMP, GRACE or GOCE), x-ray astronomy with telescopes built out of 2 satellites with highly constant distance, and astronomical missions with arrays of telescopes in a synthetic aperture architecture (Darwin). Due to its high precision and the simple (propellant) infrastructure laser propulsion is an ideal technology for micro thrusters. Precise adjustable thrust can be generated by laser induced ablation of metals or composites with pulsed laser sources. Solar pumped laser systems are an ideal technology for in orbit laser propulsion.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/64736/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Laser Propulsion - A new Technology for Space Flight
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Laser, Laser propulsion, Lightcraft
Event Title:Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress
Event Location:Hamburg
Event Type:national Conference
Event Dates:31. Aug. - 2. Sep. 2010
Organizer:Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt
HGF - Research field:other
HGF - Program:other
HGF - Program Themes:Aircraft Research (old)
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AR - Aircraft Research
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Laser Research and Technology (old)
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Technical Physics
Deposited By: Eckel, Dr.rer.nat. Hans-Albert
Deposited On:16 Jul 2010 14:32
Last Modified:16 Jul 2010 14:42

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