Full Content is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Proceedings Article

Laser-powered multi-newton thrust space engine with variable specific impulse

[+] Author Affiliations
Claude R. Phipps, James R. Luke

Photonic Associates, LLC

Wesley Helgeson

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Proc. SPIE 7005, High-Power Laser Ablation VII, 70051X (May 12, 2008); doi:10.1117/12.786459
Text Size: A A A
From Conference Volume 7005

  • High-Power Laser Ablation VII
  • Claude R. Phipps
  • Taos, NM | April 20, 2008

abstract

Recently we became interested in applying previous work with liquid fueled laser powered minithrusters for spacecraft orientation to the conceptual design of a multi-newton thruster based on the same principles. Solid-fuel configurations (such as the fuel tapes used in the Photonic Associates microthruster) are not amenable to the range of mass delivery rates (g/s to g/s) necessary for such an engine. We will discuss problems for this design which have been solved, including identifying a practical method of delivering liquid fuel to the laser focus, avoiding splashing of liquid fuels under pulsed laser illumination, and avoiding optics clouding due to ablation backstreaming on optical surfaces from the laser-fuel interaction region. We have already shown that Isp = 680 seconds can be achieved by a viscous liquid fuel based on glycidyl azide polymer and an IR-dye laser absorber. The final problem is mass: we will discuss a notional engine design which fits within a 10-kg "dry mass" budget. This engine, 80kg mass with fuel, is designed to fit within a 180-kg spacecraft, and use 3kW of prime power to deliver a Δv of 17.5 km/s to the spacecraft in sixteen months. Its specific impulse will be adjustable over the range 200<Isp<3,600 seconds and maximum thrust will be 6N, based on performance which has been demonstrated in the laboratory. Such an engine can put small satellites through demanding maneuvers in short times, while generating the optimum specific impulse for each mission segment. We see no reason why Isp = 10,000 seconds cannot be achieved with liquid fuels.

© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Citation

Claude R. Phipps ; James R. Luke and Wesley Helgeson
"Laser-powered multi-newton thrust space engine with variable specific impulse", Proc. SPIE 7005, High-Power Laser Ablation VII, 70051X (May 12, 2008); doi:10.1117/12.786459; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.786459


Access This Proceeding
Sign in or Create a personal account to Buy this proceeding ($15 for members, $18 for non-members).

Figures

Tables

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Related Book Chapters

Topic Collections

Advertisement
  • Don't have an account?
  • Subscribe to the SPIE Digital Library
  • Create a FREE account to sign up for Digital Library content alerts and gain access to institutional subscriptions remotely.
Access This Proceeding
Sign in or Create a personal account to Buy this proceeding ($15 for members, $18 for non-members).
Access This Proceeding
Sign in or Create a personal account to Buy this article ($15 for members, $18 for non-members).
Access This Chapter

Access to SPIE eBooks is limited to subscribing institutions and is not available as part of a personal subscription. Print or electronic versions of individual SPIE books may be purchased via SPIE.org.