I suspect Laser Tractor Beams are in secret use throughout the world in black budget military programs in order to move items without detection by the rightful owners and here is the proof that they exist and have been scientifically patented.
Patent for Laser Tractor Beam No US20110302906A1.
There is provided a method of using a remote laser source to manipulate a space object having a target, comprising projecting a beam from the remote laser source, wherein the beam has a sufficient intensity and wavelength to cause ablation at a position on the target; imparting an impulse to the space object having the target; modifying at least one beam characteristic selected from the group consisting of intensity, wavelength and position on the target, wherein the position and/or orientation of the space object is altered relative to the remote laser source.
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B64G1/646 Docking or rendez-vous systems
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United States

InventorJohn Elihu SinkoClifford Adam Schlecht
Worldwide applications
2011 US
Application US13/161,407 events
Priority claimed from US35476810P
Application filed by John Elihu Sinko, Clifford Adam Schlecht
Priority to US13/161,407
Publication of US20110302906A1
InfoPatent citations (14) Non-patent citations (1) Cited by (14) Legal events Similar documents Priority and Related ApplicationsExternal linksUSPTOUSPTO PatentCenterUSPTO AssignmentEspacenetGlobal DossierDiscuss
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/354,768 filed Jun. 15, 2010, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The present disclosure relates to a tractor beam system, particularly to a tractor beam system using laser ablation on a target of a space object.
Because scale, distance, or impulse (thrust) limit current technologies, a space tractor beam system constitutes a paradigm shift in how space and space systems are used. Field-propulsion systems, such as laser tweezers, typically operate on micron- to nanometer-scale targets. Magnetic tractor beams are severely limited in range. Power-beaming with conventional propulsion systems can produce tractor-beam-like effects, but the beam itself does not produce significant impulse.
Research on laser ablation propulsion has been conducted worldwide in atmospheric and simulated space environment conditions. Many technical challenges such as beam riding, target tracking and choice of target materials have been overcome. Despite these efforts, laser propulsion is uneconomical when applied to traditional propulsion applications. Chemical rocket propulsion seems appropriate for launch from ground to orbit, and electric propulsion is well suited for most space missions. Therefore, applications for laser propulsion are sought to emphasize its strengths, including finely adjustable impulse bit (nNs to Ns), adjustable specific impulse (Isp) (about 100 to about 3600 seconds), and remote operation. Specifically in laser propulsion, the power source can be separated from the vehicle, enabling operation from a remote location, which is impossible with conventional thrusters.
Phipps (“Laser-powered, Multi-newton Thrust Space Engine with Variable Specific Impulse,” High-Power Laser Ablation VII, Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 7005, 2008, pp. 1X, 1-8; “Very High Coupling Coefficients at Low Laser Fluence with a Structured Target,” High-Power Laser Ablation III, Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 4065, Santa Fe, N. Mex., 2000, pp. 931-938; “A Diode-laser-driven Microthruster,” National Space Grant Foundation, Paper IEPC-01-220, October 2001) describes multi-layer laser ablation propellants and a laser thruster. Initially low-fluence laser light is focused through a transparent substrate layer to generate confined ablation of a second layer. The microthruster can operate bidirectionally, but such operation impairs the optics by depositing ablated exhaust during driving-mode operation. In this system, the laser and necessary optics are onboard and therefore the thruster operation does not constitute remote control as in a laser tractor beam as defined herein.
Rezunov et al. (“Investigations of Propelling of Objects by Light: Review of Russian Studies on Laser Propulsion,” Third International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion, AIP Conference Proceedings, Vol. 766, 2005, pp. 46-57; “Performance Characteristics of Propulsion Engine Operating both in CW and in Repetitively-Pulsed Modes,” Fourth International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion, AIP Conference Proceedings, Vol. 802, Nara, Japan, 2005, pp. 3-13) describe a laser jet engine. Experiments use impulse from CO2 laser ablation and exhaust combustion to drive a wire-guided laser jet engine craft towards the laser beam for a distance of some meters, using polymer or liquid propellants and operating in atmosphere or under vacuum.
There is provided in this disclosure a method for manipulating a space object using a remote laser source, comprising:
projecting a beam of sufficient intensity and wavelength to cause ablation at a position on a target;
imparting an impulse to the target;
modifying the impulse, intensity, wavelength, and/or position on the target to control the position and/or orientation of the space object relative to the remote laser source.
In some embodiments the space object is pushed relative to the remote laser source. In other embodiments, the space object is pulled relative to a remote laser source. In some other embodiments, a torque is applied to the space object relative to the remote laser source. In a particular embodiment, the torque turns the target into a proper alignment with the beam. In some embodiments the thrust directional parity of the target is switched.
In some embodiments, at least a first remote laser source and a second remote laser source are projected. In other embodiments each laser has a different intensity, wavelength, and/or position on the target.
In some embodiments, the target comprises a first layer that is transparent to the wavelength of the first remote laser source. In a particular aspect of this embodiment, the target comprises a first layer of transparent solid material comprising an array of microlenses and a second layer of solid material which is absorbing at the laser wavelength. In another aspect of this embodiment, the target comprises a first layer with a high threshold fluence for ablation, and a second layer with a low threshold fluence for ablation.
In some embodiments the target extends away from the space object. In other embodiments, the target is contained within a central ring on the space object.
In some embodiments, the method further comprises transmitting information between the remote laser source and the space object.
In some embodiments, the space object is selected from the group consisting of satellite, spacecraft, telescope, astronaut, space debris, asteroid, equipment, arrayed satellite, and arrayed telescope.
There is also provided in this disclosure an ablation target, comprising a first layer with a high threshold fluence for ablation, and a second layer with a low threshold fluence for ablation of a remote laser source. In some embodiments, the first layer is transparent to a wavelength of the beam. In a particular aspect of this embodiment, the first layer comprises polyethylene and the second layer comprises polyoxymethylene. In another aspect of this embodiment, the first layer and the second layer are joined together by an adhesive. In another aspect of this embodiment, the remote laser source is a Nd:YAG laser or the beam has a wavelength of 10.6 μm.
FIG. 1 shows conceptual diagrams, in cross-section, of indirect laser propulsion tractor-beam targets. FIG. 1 a shows a target with a central concentrator and peripheral ablator; FIG. 1 b shows a peripheral concentrator and central ablator, and FIG. 1 c is an asymmetric system. Gray arrows indicate direction of ablation exhaust.
FIG. 2 shows examples of two-layer targets in terms of wavelengths λ1 and λ2 and fluences Φ1 and Φ2.
FIG. 3 shows an experimental setup to demonstrate tractor beam propulsion.
Both FIG. 4( a) and FIG. 4( b) show driving mode impulse followed by tractor beam impulse on Target 2. The dark line is a FFT-low pass (0.4 Hz) filtered trace of the result to illustrate the magnitude of impulse delivery.
FIG. 5 shows Φ (z), assuming output aperture radius of the lasers source (WL) is 0.05 m, E=100 J, M2≈10 for 10600 nm, and M2≈2 for all other wavelengths.
FIG. 6 shows extrapolated 1 kg propellant mass lifetime vs. average thrust at 1 Hz repetitively pulsed (rp) using constant m and I based on experimental data for focused CO2 laser ablation of flat plates of polyoxymethylene in vacuum.
FIG. 7 shows propellant consumption of the target as a function of range (M2≈10 for 10600 nm, and M2≈2 for other wavelengths).
FIG. 8 shows impulse as a function of range (M2≈10 for 10600 nm, and M2≈2 for all other wavelengths)
FIG. 9 shows a method for generating reversed thrust with a cooperative target for (a) forward thrust and (b) reverse thrust.
FIG. 10 shows (a) a cooperative target for astronaut retrieval, (b) several targets applied to an EMU-like spacesuit, and (c) steps for astronaut retrieval, including (i) drifting astronaut, (ii) irradiating at λ2 accelerates astronaut towards the station, and (iii) irradiating at λ1 decelerates astronaut for safe retrieval.
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Priority And Related Applications
Priority Applications (1)
Application Priority date Filing date Title
US13/161,407 2010-06-15 2011-06-15 Laser Tractor Beam
Applications Claiming Priority (2)
Application Filing date Title
US35476810P 2010-06-15
US13/161,407 2011-06-15 Laser Tractor Beam

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