Recent Patents on Space Technology (Discontinued)

Sang H. Choi  
NASA Langley Research Center
Hampton, VA


Assessment Study of Small Space Debris Removal by Laser Satellites

Author(s): Sang H. Choi, Richard S. Pappa.


Space debris in Earth orbit poses significant danger to satellites, humans in space, and future space exploration activities. In particular, the increasing number of unidentifiable objects, smaller than 10 cm, presents a serious hazard. Numerous technologies have been studied for removing unwanted objects in space. Our approach is based on wireless power transmission technology using a short wavelength laser stationed in orbit to vaporize these small objects or to change the trajectory of space debris. This paper discusses the power requirements for space debris removal using lasers. A short wavelength laser pumped directly or indirectly by solar energy can scan, identify, position, illuminate, and eliminate the target through vaporization process or slow down the orbital speed of debris by laser detonation until it reenters the atmosphere. This feasibility assessment covers roughly the power requirement, laser system, and a potential operational scenario.

Keywords: Laser satellite, laser vaporization, power satellite, space debris

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [116 - 122]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/1877611611202020116
Price: $100