Progress to Ultralight 16 Square Meter Nanocrystal Solar Sails for Breakthrough Starshot

Breakthrough Starship wants to use a 100 Gigawatt laser array to push an ultralight 4 meter X 4 meter nanocrystal solar sail. StarChip is the name used by Breakthrough Initiatives for a very small, centimeter-sized, gram-scale, interstellar spacecraft envisioned for the Breakthrough Starshot program. The light sail is envisioned to be no larger than 4 …

Read more

Accion Systems Ion Thruster Chips Gets $11 Million in Funding

Accion Systems technology is built around a thruster chip architecture. Each chip houses hundreds of microscopic emitters that produce beams of ions generated from our novel propellant source: ionic liquid. They plan to eventually scale to millions of emitters per chip which would enable thrust that is 6000 times higher than they currently have. They …

Read more

Silicon and silica oxide nanomaterials would be best for laser pushed sail

California Institute of Technology researchers have worked out that super thin structures made of silicon and silica oxide convert waves of infrared light into a momentum that would accelerate a probe to speeds of around 60,000 kilometres (37,000 miles) per second [20% of light speed]. Optimized thin film structures could be promising candidates for a …

Read more

Using Spacex BFR to rapidly and affordably build interplanetary photonic railway by the 2030s

The Lubin UCSB laser propulsion system efforts have been funded by Breakthrough Starshot for $100 million. They are working working to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled nanocrafts. A large scale network of several 70 Gigawatt lasers on Earth, Earth Orbits, the moon Mars and asteroids is not as distant as one might think because …

Read more

Directed Energy Propulsion has made a lot of experimental progress

Philip Lubin, University of California, Santa Barbara, Directed Energy for Interstellar Study Starting at 26 minutes of this video. They are making progress with laser locking over kilometer distances. They are making 2 gram starchip prototypes. they are looking at making ultrathin starchips that would be a meter across but very lightweight. Arxiv – A …

Read more

Proof of concept lightsail material suitable for interstellar mission

Proposals using large light sails like the Starshot Breakthrough, require mirrors with lateral sizes of 4 × 4 m2, thicknesses of 0.05 lambda, reflectivities of 90 %, ppm level optical absorption and a total mass of only 1 gram. Photonics Crystal are designed with a lattice of holes which remove about 30 % of the …

Read more

Progress to stable laser propelled sails

Stable flight of a laser sail is an essential requirement of beam-driven propulsion. Centauri Dreams talked to James Benford about work towards stable beam flight. It places considerable demand upon the shape of the sail and beam. James Benford takes a hard look at where we are now in the matter of sail stability. He …

Read more

NASA Concept to use 100 MW beamed power for ion drive that is 20 times better

John Brophy at NASA Jet propulsion laboratory combines a near term 100 megawatt laser beamed power system to enable an ion drive with 70 megawatts of power and 58000 ISP. They propose a new power/propulsion architecture to enable missions such as a 12-yr flight time to 500 AU—the distance at which solar gravity lensing can …

Read more

Simplicity of Megatsunami’s triggered by Tsar Bomba class nuclear devices

Russia is developing a 100 megaton nuclear bomb that is put into a robotic submarine drone. It would explode in bay or off of a coast and trigger and megatsunami. It might also include cobalt 60 to spread radioactive fallout in the tsunami. Some have questioned the 400+ page analysis in the Water Waves Generated …

Read more

China’s New 25 ton capacity Long March 5 rocket is on the launch pad and ready for November launch

China’s largest carrier rocket, the Long March-5, will make its first trip into space in early November this year. The rocket, which arrived at the Wenchang launch center in south China’s Hainan Province in September, was transported to the launch area on Friday morning, after finishing final assembly and tests, said the State Administration of …

Read more