DE Momentum Beaming (DEMB) for Innovative Spacecraft Maneuvering
Traditionally, DE, especially HEL, has mainly been considered for beaming energy or power, however, it can be exploited for beaming momentum as well. In this talk, the author presents an innovative spacecraft maneuvering architecture, DE Momentum Beaming (DEMB), in which momentum is beamed between two spacecraft platforms via the pressure of circulating photons between them with the use of recently developed Photonic Laser Thruster (PLT). Many advanced DoD in-space missions need a wider range of dynamic spacecraft maneuvers than formation flying. Conventional spacecraft maneuvering is performed by momentum applied to a single vehicle by exhausting fuel in forms of plumb or ions, which limits lifetime and delta-V capability. Through momentum beaming, DEMB will drastically reduce the fuel consumption or separate the highly valuable mission vehicle from a lower-cost, replaceable resource vehicle (similar to aerial refueling) to lower the life-cycle cost significantly in a wide range of missions. Therefore, DEMB is projected to enable a wide range of next-generation DoD missions in space and provide ways to enhance existing mission architectures. Exemplary missions that can be enabled by DEMB include that involve orbit-raising or escape, drag compensation, and rendezvous and docking. In addition, the specific DE technologies required for developing DEMB are also discussed.