Written by the founder of the First International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion, this book explains the fundamental physics behind the emerging field of laser propulsion. This type of propulsion, which needs no engine or traditional fuel, will become an integral part of space development in the first quarter of this century. Comprehensively addressing the technology for the first time, the author includes in-depth discussions of the physics phenomena behind laser propulsion, such as plasma dynamics, ablative laser propulsion, propagation and reception of light, and more. At the cutting edge of this new technology, this text combines reviews of current research papers and projections for the future.
Table of Contents
From Archimedes to Kantrowitz: A Historical Introduction to Laser Propulsion. Basic Definitions: Specific Impulses, Thrust, and Efficiency. Phenomenology of Laser Propulsion: From the Laser to the Lightcraft. Basic Physics of Energy and Momentum Transfers. Plasmadynamics of Laser Propulsion. Ablative Laser Propulsion. Propagation and Reception of Light. Laser Propulsion: Missions and Applications. Other Scenarios: The Review of Beamed Energy and Momentum Concepts. The Future of Laser Propulsion.