Laser Systems for Orbital Debris Removal

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The use of a ground based laser for space debris cleaning was investigated by the ORION project in 1996. Since that study the greatest technological advance in the development of high energy pulsed laser systems has taken place within the NIF project at LLNL. The proposed next laser system to follow the NIF at LLNL will be a high rep rate version of the NIF based on diode-pumping rather than flashlamp excitation; the so called 'LIFE' laser system. Because a single 'LIFE' beamline could be built up in a few year time frame, and has performance characteristics relevant to the ... continued below

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Rubenchik, A M; Barty, C P; Beach, R J; Erlandson, A C & Caird, J A February 5, 2010.

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The use of a ground based laser for space debris cleaning was investigated by the ORION project in 1996. Since that study the greatest technological advance in the development of high energy pulsed laser systems has taken place within the NIF project at LLNL. The proposed next laser system to follow the NIF at LLNL will be a high rep rate version of the NIF based on diode-pumping rather than flashlamp excitation; the so called 'LIFE' laser system. Because a single 'LIFE' beamline could be built up in a few year time frame, and has performance characteristics relevant to the space debris clearing problem, such a beamline could enable a near term demonstration of space debris cleaning. Moreover, the specifics of debris cleaning make it possible to simplify the LIFE laser beyond what is required for a fusion drive laser, and so substantially reduce its cost. Starting with the requirements for laser intensity on the target, and then considering beam delivery, we will flow back the laser requirements needed for space debris cleaning. Using these derived requirements we will then optimize the pulse duration, the operational regime, and the output pulse energy of the laser with a focus of simplifying its overall design. Anticipated simplifications include operation in the heat capacity regime, eliminating cooling requirements on the laser gain slabs, and relaxing B-integral and birefrigence requirements.

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PDF-file: 9 pages; size: 6 Mbytes

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  • Presented at: HPLA 2010, Santa Fe, NM, United States, Apr 18 - Apr 22, 2010

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  • Report No.: LLNL-PROC-423323
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 978910
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc930071

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • February 5, 2010

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 8:28 p.m.

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Rubenchik, A M; Barty, C P; Beach, R J; Erlandson, A C & Caird, J A. Laser Systems for Orbital Debris Removal, article, February 5, 2010; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc930071/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.