21 October 2016 Conceptual design of a space-based O2 laser for defense
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A new concept of a space-based-laser (SBL) defense system is proposed. It is based on a chemical oxygen laser (COL) which has been investigated to achieve its oscillation 1-3). A COL is suitable as a high energy laser (HEL) directed energy weapon (DEW) 4) because it could produce a giant pulse of ~0.1 ms which can damage a target by a single shot without producing plasma during the propagation. However since the beam cannot propagate for a long distance due to the absorption in air, it should be used in space considering the capability of operation without electric power supply. Therefore a new SBL defense system using a COL is proposed in order to destroy a ballistic missile in its boost phase. It is based on an SBL at geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) with the altitude of ~36,000 km. Since the beam needs to propagate for a long distance, the focused beam diameter is ~8 m even if the initial beam diameter is 8 m. Therefore an 8 m-diameter focusing mirror, carried by a high altitude airship (HAA) flying at the altitude of more than 20 km, could be used to focus the beam at the target. Although such a large focusing mirror is necessary, the focused spot size can be <1 cm at 30 km away. Thus, much less than 100 kJ pulse can cause a fatal damage. Unlike a conventional SBL defense system based on SBLs and/or relay-mirror satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), the new defense system needs only a single SBL and a single relay mirror HAA (RM HAA) to intercept a ballistic missile if the enemy is a small country since the HAA can always stay close to the enemy’s missile site. Another concept of the defense system is also proposed, which is based on a COL equipped with anther HAA because a COL can be lightweight. These geostationary defense systems can also intercept a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) if the submarine’s location is monitored.
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K. Takehisa, K. Takehisa, } "Conceptual design of a space-based O2 laser for defense", Proc. SPIE 9990, High-Power Lasers 2016: Technology and Systems, 99900E (21 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2238869; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238869

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