Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (ME)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Richard L. Fork

Committee Member

Robert Lindquist

Committee Member

Patrick Reardon

Subject(s)

Ultrashort laser pulses., Space vehicles--Propulsion systems.

Abstract

This thesis effort focuses on the development of a novel, space-based ultrashort pulse transmission system for spacecraft. The goals of this research include: (1) ultrashort pulse transmission strategies for maximizing safety and efficiency; (2) optical transmission system requirements; (3) general system requirements including control techniques for stabilization; (4) optical system requirements for achieving effective ablative propulsion at the receiving spacecraft; and (5) ultrashort pulse transmission capabilities required for future missions in space. A key element of the research is the multiplexing device required for aligning the ultrashort pulses from multiple laser sources along a common optical axis for transmission. This strategy enables access to the higher average and peak powers required for useful missions in space.

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