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NASA Study on the possibility of using Beamed Energy Propulsion for Space Launches

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posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 11:32 PM
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I'm hoping my fellow ATSers might be able to help me out.

I ran across this interesting article on the possibility of using Beamed Energy Propulsion for Space Launches:

Beaming rockets into space


Instead of explosive chemical reactions on-board a rocket, the new concept, called beamed thermal propulsion, involves propelling a rocket by shining laser light or microwaves at it from the ground.
Sounds like an interesting technology, right? Here's an illustration:



A conceptual microwave-propelled lightcraft receives microwave beams from an array of microwave sources on the ground. Credit: Kevin Parkin


It sounds pretty interesting to me, what do you think? Is it feasible?

Here's where you might be able to help. Note this statement from the article:


NASA is now conducting a study to examine the possibility of using beamed energy propulsion for space launches. The study is expected to conclude by March 2011.
Even if they didn't finish exactly in March, I was hoping to see something about their study by now. But I can't find anything.

I tried Google, and I even went to the NASA search site. The Ames research center was mentioned in the article, so I used that as one parameter, and used after March 2011 publication date as another parameter, and entered the keywords "beamed energy propulsion" in this search:

ntrs.larc.nasa.gov...|1&N=4294966753&No=20&Ntt=beamed%20en ergy%20propulsion

It returned 22 results but none seem to be the study referenced in the article. If anyone is better at searching than I am, do you have any suggestions for me on how to find a report on the referenced study that was supposed to be completed in March 2011? If you can help me find it, thanks in advance.

And what do you think about this technology? Does it have a chance of working?




posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 11:50 PM
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Cool idea, though not being a physicist I couldn't say if it is feasible or not. The article made it sound as though it was, which could nopen up a lot of possibilities for the future of space travel for sure.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:02 AM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


This all comes from THE TESLA PAPERS. Tesla's works. We are a hundred or so years behind those inventions of his and we are now starting to realize and use some of them.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:06 AM
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Interesting concept.

And is it just me, or is that the worst graphic illustration ever?



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:14 AM
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This does sound feasible in my opinion, but my gut feeling is that this won't work very well, and they will see that in testing right from the start. Haha, the only prophecy I have made thus far. But, I also think they may work out the issues, and this could be a viable option for manned spacecraft.

It is obvious that NASA needs to steer away from any liquid or gas propellents, as that was the old days. Sure it was rather effective, but also rather costly and potentially hazardous. They should just ask DARPA for their anti-gravity plans...All kidding aside, finding a viable option for space travel is a relatively large issue in this branch of science right now, or I mean it should be...I don't know how seriously it is being looked into, but we know NASA doesn't have the best funding when compared with other government agencies. I wonder if NASA too has a "black-budget?"

This is sort of sci-fi, but it isn't too technical or seemingly impossible (like anti-gravity,) so like I said, this is feasible. I just don't think it will work all that well from the get go. But if they can stay on their toes I would bet this system could be seen in spacecraft within the next 20 years or so. I guess it all depends on how the testing goes, and the funding issue.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:15 AM
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I can't find the study but apparently NASA was impressed.

LaserMotive, an independent R&D company specializing in laser power beaming and winner of the 2009 NASA sponsored Power Beaming Competition, today announced it is one of the companies named to work on the new NASA “Ride the Light” project, one of the space organization’s new space technology projects in the Game Changing Technology division to pursue revolutionary technology required for future missions.

lasermotive.com...

Here's some stuff. Why not? Give it shot!




posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:22 AM
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see

BEW

beamed energy weapons

didnt the pyramids use gamma rays for somethin? i forget waat...



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:42 AM
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That's pretty cool. What's even cooler is the concept was utilized in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's science fiction novel "Footfall" first published in 1985. If the concept dates from earlier I missed it.


ps

It's still a great science fiction novel if you like scifi and haven't read it.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 02:37 AM
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Here is what I've found:

Meanwhile, engineers at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have spent the last six months studying beamed propulsion, looking at Parkin's plans along with two other schemes for beam-riding spacecraft. NASA won't yet talk about its findings

sixwoffers.blogspot.com...

Glenn Research Center are doing beamed energy research. But no trace of a report about beamed propulsion.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 02:47 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
Here's some stuff. Why not? Give it shot!
Thanks for those videos.
The first one shows how they demonstrated the beaming propulsion technology. It looks like a fairly small demo craft but it seems to work on that small size at least, and over a short distance. How well will it scale up to larger craft and will it work over longer distances (meaning higher altitudes)? I guess time will tell.

The second video shows they are into all kinds of beaming, not just for propulsion. Their founders seem like some pretty smart physicists, so maybe they can figure it out.


Originally posted by JiggyPotamus
This is sort of sci-fi,
Check out the video Phage posted. Since they have a working demo I'd say it's not sci-fi.

On the other hand it's certainly not in mainstream use yet either, and who knows how well it will scale up to larger craft and higher altitudes.

There may also be some safety concerns, especially at the higher power levels when they scale it up. I think the plan would be to set it up in the desert but if the beams bounce back and kill a few rattlesnakes, the environmentalists might not be too happy about that! I've got nothing against rattlesnakes, but I'd want to make sure it doesn't hurt any people. I think there's a risk to the technology, but the same can be said about chemical rockets.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 02:51 AM
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Originally posted by moebius
sixwoffers.blogspot.com...

Glenn Research Center are doing beamed energy research. But no trace of a report about beamed propulsion.
Thanks for that link. Actually, I think it answers my question (sort of), by implying that there apparently is no report:


NASA won't yet talk about its findings...


I'm not sure why they won't talk about it yet if they completed the study in March?



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 02:54 AM
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Originally posted by amongus
Interesting concept.

And is it just me, or is that the worst graphic illustration ever?
I agree the illustration is bad. To me it looks more like a beamed energy weapon trying to destroy a rocket propelled spacecraft, instead of beamed energy propulsion.

Thankfully the video Phage posted provides a good video demonstration of how the technology works!



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 08:15 AM
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I first heard of this as a means of propelling cars riding a space elevator. I suppose that might be a bit easier than beaming energy at a free-flying spacecraft.

And of course, the idea of harvesting energy from orbiting solar panels and beaming it down as microwaves has been around since the Sixties.

I imagine it’s possible. They physics is easy; it’s mainly an engineering problem, and those tend to find solutions when the need – or the potential profit – is great enough.

Things might get a bit hot aboard a microwave-powered spaceship, though...



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:14 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
I first heard of this as a means of propelling cars riding a space elevator. I suppose that might be a bit easier than beaming energy at a free-flying spacecraft.
Agreed.

That's sort of how the test was done, on a cable attached to a helicopter.

How stable it will be without the cable remains to be seen, or at least I haven't seen that yet.

I don't have high hopes for a space elevator anytime soon. It looks to me like the technical challenges are beyond our current capabilities, though we may figure it out someday.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:26 PM
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Any energy that can be concentrated into a beam to act as a catalyst or part of a propulsion system can be used as a weapon. It takes a lot of energy to overcome gravity and the pull of the earth, and I do study physics.

Fg = GM/R^2

That's how much is required to send an object into orbit, and it turns out it's quite a bit. Since gravity variance isn't really that important, we can measure potential energy as m*g*h and get:

2.13 x 10^11 J

Kinetic energy is measured by mv^2/2 which works out to be:

3.27 x 1012 J

Kinetic energy surpasses potential energy and by adding you get:

3.38 x 10^12 J

You're talking about close to a hundred thousand dollars of energy to send something into orbit with a beamed weapon, I mean propulsion system. It sure would be easier, more profitable, and likely the military would rather perfect blowing stuff up with it before they test sending stuff up with it...

Unles they could blow stuff up and send it into orbit..





edit on 2011/10/12 by sbctinfantry because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by sbctinfantry
You're talking about close to a hundred thousand dollars of energy to send something into orbit with a beamed weapon, I mean propulsion system.
How does that compare with the economics of using a chemical rocket?

With the chemical rocket, you have the payload, plus a lot of extra fuel, plus extra fuel to propel the extra fuel, etc. So the payload is relatively small relative to the launch weight. With the beamed energy launch, the payload could conceivably be a large percentage of the launch weight.

The OP article talks about the economics:


The smallest real laser launch system would have 25 to 100 megawatts of power while a microwave system would have 100 to 200 megawatts. Building such an array would be expensive, says Kare, although similar to or even less expensive than developing and testing a chemical rocket. The system would make most economic sense if it was used for at least a few hundred launches a year.

In addition, says Parkin, “the main components of the beam facility should last for well over ten thousand hours of operation, typical of this class of hardware, so the savings can more than repay the initial cost.”



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 06:45 PM
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NASA is still in Disney's Fantasy Land and always will be.
Proven things work and other ideas will never make the grade.
It's a shame we fell for rocketing to the moon.
Now NASA owns us and will never get true universal propulsion
especially on a beam. Beams and all the cosmic power flight systems are
locked away from NASA. NASA and the Disney story to be
continued. Who ever said they had and demonstrated a beam drive
radio controlled flight, no one right now but years ago there was
a 100 mile round flight as an urban legend as flying in an iron stove.



posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 10:25 PM
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reply to post by TeslaandLyne
 

There are lots of urban legends. That's one reason why Snopes.com exists.

Regarding the technology being locked away from NASA, did you watch the video Phage posted where it's already been tested in a small demonstration? It's not looking too locked away to me.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 01:11 AM
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You kind of lose most of your energy when you create the beam. If you could harvest 100% of the energy output, that wouldn't be an issue. You're probably looking more at least $100k a second because we all know you're only going to harness about 1% of your output unless it is a closed environment.

I thought I was pretty clear but I can see where I'm not, I'll just tell you to give me the benefit of the doubt or learn mathematics.



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 02:50 AM
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The smallest real laser launch system would have 25 to 100 megawatts of power while a microwave system would have 100 to 200 megawatts.

OMG watch out for Dr. Evil hehe. www.youtube.com...




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