• Laser propulsion using a high power CO_2 laser more »
    In conventional rocket propulsion, big and costly efforts are undertaken only to carry the propellant. Laser propulsion with a remote supply for beamed energy would be a breakthrough like catenary lines once had been in railway engineering. At the high energy laser lab of the Institute of Technical Physics at DLR Stuttgart, experimental studies have been carried out with a small parabolic thruster of 50 – 100 g mass. The radiation of a CO2 laser pulse is focused inside the chamber by the reflecting thruster walls yielding air-breakdown followed by laser-supported plasma detonation. Pressure increase and particle flow lead to momentum transfer to the thruster which is accelerated in a series of laser pulses to more than 10 m/s in less than 0.5 s. The video of a wire-guided flight using an optical power of 8 kW gives a proof-of-principle of this environment-friendly technique which employs only light and atmospheric air as propellant (air-breathing mode). Flight stabilization as well as research on suitable ablative propellants for in-space flights are subject of current research of the scientific community of beamed energy propulsion.
  • Astrium Space Situational Awarness
  • DLR activities related to the Cleanspace project: debris monitoring, beam propagation, laser source development
  • Cleanspace-Active phasing & pendulum
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    Experiment in vacuum of laser matter interaction produced by a coherent beam coupling of nine arms during the demonstration day of the CLEANSPACE project.