Dissertation Defense: Joseph Rice, Radiometric Design and Analysis of the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative in Launch Space

    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 1:00pm

    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 910 7118 4025
    Join by Skype for Business


    Thesis Title: Radiometric Design and Analysis of the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative in Launch Space


    The Breakthrough Starshot Initiative is a project that aims to achieve interstellar travel on the scale of a lifetime. The project proposes accelerating a small craft attached to a solar sail up to 20% the speed of light using a 100 GW segmented laser launch projector. The goal is to achieve this feat in only 600 s.

    System success relies greatly upon how efficiently the sail can be driven by the launch projector, despite constant fluctuations in the Earth’s atmosphere. Adaptive Optics (AO) will be implemented to counter these fluctuations and facilitate the transfer of energy effectively. The AO system will need a guide beacon for wave-front measurements, and there are multiple architectures being investigated. One such architecture involves the use of reflected drive light as a beacon.

    Here, a model is presented that characterizes the system’s radiometric behavior and provides estimations of reflected drive light. The system is simulated when considering several different launch space configurations. In particular, the system response given different beam shapes and AO performance is provided.