Laser Ablation Propulsion is a broad field with a wide range of applications. We review the 30-year history of laser ablation propulsion from the transition from earlier pure photon propulsion concepts of Oberth and Saenger through Kantrowitz's original laser ablation propulsion idea to the development of air-breathing 'Lightcraft' and advanced spacecraft propulsion engines. The polymers POM and GAP have played an important role in experiments and liquid ablation fuels show great promise. Some applications use a laser system which is distant from the propelled object, for example, on another spacecraft, the Earth or a planet. Others use a laser thatmore »
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The impulse formation by laser ablation is limited by the premature absorption of the incident laser radiation in the initially produced cloud of ablation products. The power fraction of a CO2 laser pulse transmitted through a small hole in a POM sample for pulse energies of 35 to 150 J focused on a spot of 2 cm2 has been compared with the incident power. The plasma formation in vacuum and in air of 3500 Pa and the spread of the shock wave with velocities of 1.6 to 2.4 km/s in the low pressure air was observed by Schlieren photography. Amore »
Creator / Author"Schall, Wolfgang"
Creator / Author