Photonic laser thruster could power spacecraft from Earth

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satellites

Artist’s impression of satellites flying in low Earth orbit, powered by Photonic Laser Thruster technology

Y.K. Bae Corporation

A new laser thruster could be a step towards new technology to push satellites rapidly between planets.

The demonstration model of the Photonic Laser Thruster (PLT) moved a 75o-gram mock satellite along a track in the laboratory using only the power of light.

Laser thrusters, which exert force through light pressure, usually need extremely powerful lasers to generate tiny amounts of thrust. For instance, a different project – Breakthrough Starshot – envisages using gigawatt-scale lasers to accelerate probes the size of a …

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