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PROCSIMA: Diffractionless Beamed Propulsion for Breakthrough Interstellar MissionsThe following report describes a new propulsion concept based on self-guiding of combined light and particle beam and explores the physics, technology and design principles needed to implement such a system for an interstellar fly-by mission to Proxima b. While the relevant self-focusing mechanism has been considered in an optical context, this is the first application to space propulsion known to the authors.The purpose of the present study is to provide a broad overview of the pertinent physics and design principles, credibly assess propulsion capabilities, and lay a comprehensive foundation for further, more targeted investigations of critical system elements and processes. Starting from basic principles, this report describes the equations of motion and physical phenomena needed to establish the feasibility of self-guiding and furthermore analyze the production and sustainment of the self-guided beam. Compared with laser or particle beam propulsion alone, the self-guided beam concept introduces a plethora of light-matter interactions and additional complexities, imposing certain constraints on the geometric and physical characteristics of the beam sources. In particular, we have the identified the particle beam as a crucial element of the proposed concept. System constraints are quantitatively analyzed and then explored by developing and applying a mission design process to a Proxima b flyby mission as well as a nearer-term mission to the solar gravitational lens point.
Document ID
20190014041
Acquisition Source
Headquarters
Document Type
Contractor or Grantee Report
Authors
Limbach, Christopher
(Texas A&M Univ. College Station, TX, United States)
Hara, Kentaro
(Texas A&M Univ. College Station, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
May 9, 2019
Publication Date
April 17, 2019
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
HQ-E-DAA-TN67917
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: 17-NIAC18B-0165
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Portions of document may include copyright protected material.
Keywords
Mechanism
Diffractionless
Optical
Technology
Mission
Physics
Exploration
Interstellar
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