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Ground-Based and Space-Based Laser Beam Power ApplicationsA space power system based on laser beam power is sized to reduce mass, increase operational capabilities, and reduce complexity. The advantages of laser systems over solar-based systems are compared as a function of application. Power produced from the conversion of a laser beam that has been generated on the Earth's surface and beamed into cislunar space resulted in decreased round-trip time for Earth satellite electric propulsion tugs and a substantial landed mass savings for a lunar surface mission. The mass of a space-based laser system (generator in space and receiver near user) that beams down to an extraterrestrial airplane, orbiting spacecraft, surface outpost, or rover is calculated and compared to a solar system. In general, the advantage of low mass for these space-based laser systems is limited to high solar eclipse time missions at distances inside Jupiter. The power system mass is less in a continuously moving Mars rover or surface outpost using space-based laser technology than in a comparable solar-based power system, but only during dust storm conditions. Even at large distances for the Sun, the user-site portion of a space-based laser power system (e.g., the laser receiver component) is substantially less massive than a solar-based system with requisite on-board electrochemical energy storage.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Bozek, John M.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1995
Subject Category
Lasers And Masers
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:106744
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 233-01-05
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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