- Conference date: 18–22 April 2010
- Location: Santa Fe, (New Mexico)
The development of microsatellites requires the development of engines to modify their orbit. It is natural to use solar energy to drive such engines. For an unlimited energy source the optimal thruster must use a minimal amount of expendable material to minimize launch costs. This requires the ejected material to have the maximal velocity and, hence, the ejected atoms must be as light as possible and be ejected by as high an energy density source as possible. Such a propulsion can be induced by pulses from an ultra‐short laser. The ultra‐short laser provides the high‐energy concentration and high‐ejected velocity. We suggest a microthruster system comprised of an inflatable solar concentrator, a solar panel, and a diode‐pumped fiber laser. We will describe the system design and give weight estimates.
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