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An amplified photon thruster that could potentially shorten the trip to Mars from six months to a week has reportedly attracted the attention of aerospace agencies and contractors.
The demonstration produced a photon thrust of 35 µN and is scalable to achieve much greater thrust for future space missions, the institute said. Applications include highly precise satellite formation flying configurations for building large synthetic apertures in space for earth or space observation, precision contaminant-free spacecraft docking operations, and propelling spacecraft to unprecedented speeds -- faster than 100 km/sec.
“This is the tip of the iceberg," Bae said in a statement from the institute. "PLT has immense potential for the aerospace industry. For example, PLT-powered spacecraft could transit the 100 million km to Mars in less than a week.”
Originally posted by an0maly33
... propelling something the size of a small probe or something the size of a manned module?
Several aerospace organizations have expressed interest in collaborating with the institute to further develop and integrate PLT into civilian, military and commercial space systems, Bae said, and he has recently been invited to present his work by NASA, JPL, DARPA and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
Originally posted by Soylent Green Is People
This is truly a potentially great technology, but I wonder if "one week to Mars" is a bit optimistic for a manned flight. I wonder what acceleration and deceleration would be required to get to Mars in one week...and can a human body survive that acceleration/deceleration?
Bae considers PLT to be well suited to various space applications, such as accelerating spacecraft to near light speed and meeting thrust power requirements for NASA spacecraft formation flight configurations.
Another of Bae’s innovations, the patent-pending photon tether formation flight (PTFF), is designed to harness the PLT system to control spacecraft flying in formation with nanometer precision. Bae expects PTFF to offer precision 100,000 times greater than that of today’s formation-flying spacecraft missions, such as the European Space Agency’s upcoming Proba-3, as well as to aid in the creation of large telescopes and synthetic apertures in space for Earth and space monitoring.
Originally posted by looofo
a = 2s/t^2
Min distance earth/mars = 56000000km
3.5 days acceleration and 3.5 days deceleration
a= 2*28000000000m/(3.5*24*60*60)^2 = 6m/s^2
Not even 1g of acceleration.
So if I am right, it would be a really pleasure of a trip at 2/3 earth gravitation.
Correct me if I did a mistake, I am not an expert.
Another of Bae’s innovations, the patent-pending photon tether formation flight (PTFF), is designed to harness the PLT system to control spacecraft flying in formation with nanometer precision. Bae expects PTFF to offer precision 100,000 times greater than that of today’s formation-flying spacecraft missions,
...Proba-3, currently in its preparatory study phase, will comprise of two independent, three-axis stabilised spacecraft flying close to one another with the ability to accurately control the attitude and separation of the two craft...
Originally posted by Wolfie_UK
post by looofo
Any chance of working out the times for a nuclear tipped warhead launched from the USA to hit Bejing or Moscow.
S2.01 Precision Spacecraft Formations for Telescope Systems
Lead Center: JPL
Participating Center(s): GSFC
This subtopic seeks hardware and software technologies necessary to establish, maintain, and operate precision spacecraft formations to a level that enables cost effective large aperture and separated spacecraft optical telescopes and interferometers. Also sought are technologies (analysis, algorithms, and testbeds) to enable detailed analysis, synthesis, modeling, and visualization of such distributed systems.
Formation flight can synthesize large effective telescope apertures through, multiple, collaborative, smaller telescopes in a precision formation. Large effective apertures can also be achieved by tiling curved segments to form an aperture larger than can be achieved in a single launch, for deep-space high resolution imaging of faint astrophysical sources. These formations require the capability for autonomous precision alignment and synchronized maneuvers, reconfigurations, and collision avoidance. The spacecraft also require onboard capability for optimal path planning and time optimal maneuver design and execution.
Innovations are solicited for: (a) development of nanometer to sub-nanometer metrology for measuring inter-spacecraft range and/or bearing for space telescopes and interferometers (b) development of combined cm-to-nanometer-level precision formation flying control of numerous spacecraft and their optics to enable large baseline, sparse aperture UV/optical and X-ray telescopes and interferometers for ultra-high angular resolution imagery. Proposals addressing staged-control experiments which combine coarse formation control with fine-level wavefront sensing based control are encouraged.
Innovations are also solicited for distributed spacecraft systems in the following areas:
* Distributed, multi-timing, high fidelity simulations;
* Formation modeling techniques;
* Precision guidance and control architectures and design methodologies;
* Centralized and decentralized formation estimation;
* Distributed sensor fusion;
* RF and optical precision metrology systems;
* Formation sensors;
* Precision microthrusters/actuators;
* Autonomous reconfigurable formation techniques;
* Optimal, synchronized, maneuver design methodologies;
* Collision avoidance mechanisms;
* Formation management and station keeping.