19 September 2016 Building the future of WaferSat spacecraft for relativistic spacecraft
Author Affiliations +
Abstract
Recently, there has been a dramatic change in the way space missions are viewed. Large spacecraft with massive propellant-filled launch stages have dominated the space industry since the 1960’s, but low-mass CubeSats and low-cost rockets have enabled a new approach to space exploration. In recent work, we have built upon the idea of extremely low mass (sub 1 kg), propellant-less spacecraft that are accelerated by photon propulsion from dedicated directed-energy facilities. Advanced photonics on a chip with hybridized electronics can be used to implement a laser-based communication system on board a sub 1U spacecraft that we call a WaferSat. WaferSat spacecraft are equipped with reflective sails suitable for propulsion by directed-energy beams. This low-mass spacecraft design does not require onboard propellant, creating significant new opportunities for deep space exploration at a very low cost. In this paper, we describe the design of a prototype WaferSat spacecraft, constructed on a printed circuit board. The prototype is envisioned as a step toward a design that could be launched on an early mission into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), as a key milestone in the roadmap to interstellar flight. In addition to laser communication, the WaferSat prototype includes subsystems for power source, attitude control, digital image acquisition, and inter-system communications.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Travis Brashears, Travis Brashears, Philip Lubin, Philip Lubin, Nic Rupert, Nic Rupert, Eric Stanton, Eric Stanton, Amal Mehta, Amal Mehta, Patrick Knowles, Patrick Knowles, Gary B. Hughes, Gary B. Hughes, } "Building the future of WaferSat spacecraft for relativistic spacecraft", Proc. SPIE 9981, Planetary Defense and Space Environment Applications, 998104 (19 September 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2238471; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238471
PROCEEDINGS
8 PAGES


SHARE
RELATED CONTENT

PACT a sensitive 100 keV 10 MeV all sky...
Proceedings of SPIE (July 23 2014)
GAMCOTE: a prototype for an advanced Compton Telescope
Proceedings of SPIE (July 10 2016)
The low energy detector of Simbol-X
Proceedings of SPIE (July 21 2008)
GLAST LAT silicon tracker
Proceedings of SPIE (January 09 2003)

Back to Top