Laser propulsion for orbit transfer - Laser technology issuesUsing reasonable near-term mission traffic models (1991-2000 being the assumed operational time of the system) and the most current unclassified laser and laser thruster information available, it was found that space-based laser propulsion orbit transfer vehicles (OTVs) can outperform the aerobraked chemical OTV over a 10-year life-cycle. The conservative traffic models used resulted in an optimum laser power of about 1 MW per laser. This is significantly lower than the power levels considered in other studies. Trip time was taken into account only to the extent that the system was sized to accomplish the mission schedule.
Horvath, J. C. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Frisbee, R. H. (California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, United States)