An advanced concept of launch system from ground to orbit, called laser launch system, has been discussed. As a 100-kW-class fiber laser has been developed today, the laser propulsion is now a realistic option for launching microsatellites frequently at very low cost. In this chapter, we shall discuss several unresolved technical problems such as propulsion design and laser beam transmission through atmosphere. It is proved theoretically that high specific impulse higher than 900 seconds is possible in a new conceptual design. On the other hand, the laser beam may be suffered by the atmospheric turbulence when the launch vehicle reaches at altitude higher than 10 km.
Part of the book: Propulsion Systems