Laser Space Propulsion Overview (Preprint)
PHOTONIC ASSOCIATES SANTA FE NM
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In this paper, we review the history of laser space propulsion from its earliest theoretical conceptions to modern practical applications. Applications begin with the Lightcraft flights of Myrabo and include practical thrusters for satellites now completing development as well as proposals for space debris removal and direct launch of payloads into orbit. We consider laser space propulsion in the most general sense, in which laser radiation is used to propel a vehicle in space. In this sense, the topic includes early proposals for pure photon propulsion, laser ablation propulsion, as well as propulsion using lasers to detonate a gas, expel a liquid, heat and expel a gas, or even to propagate power to a remote conventional electric thruster.
- Lasers and Masers