TSC Conducts Successful Laser Propulsion Demonstration For Air Force
On February 12, Technology Service Corporation (TSC) successfully completed the first demonstration of the company's Coded Optical Power System (COPS(TM)) at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles, CA. This technology allows power to be delivered to remote systems via free space laser transmission with efficiencies approaching 50 percent while simultaneously transmitting data.
"We are very pleased with the outcome of our first laser power demonstration," said Royal Koepsell, Operations manager, TSC. "We look forward to continuing our work with the Air Force and demonstrating the feasibility of using a laser as the sole source of power and data for space hardware."
The demonstration supports the Space and Missile Systems Center's investigation of novel power concepts for micro/nano satellites and provides an initial benchmark for the development of new concepts in support of DARPA's space based power utility strategy. Although laser propulsion is not a new idea, the ability to provide power and data to micro/nano satellites is breakthrough technology.
"This demonstration is the first in a series initiated by the Air Force to look at distributed satellite utility in space," said Bill Floyd, Division Chief, Office of
Development and Transformation, Space and Missile Systems Center. "This phase efficiently transferred laser energy that in turn could be used to power microsatellites."
The demonstration was novel in the way it was executed. With the exception of the transmitting laser, viewing window, one lens, and the power converter, all of the support materials were purchased from the local hardware store. Precision optics and directing mirrors were not used. The demonstration took approximately 15 minutes to set up and was conducted on a conference table top.
"This is exactly the way demonstrations need to be done and will lead us into the future of space propulsion and remote communications," said Col. Dean, Director, Office of Development and Transformation, Space and Missile Systems Center.
The COPS(TM), a TSC proprietary concept, was used to power a pulsed plasma thruster. For the demonstration, the COPS(TM) used an Apollo Instruments solid state laser transmitter operating in a continuous wave mode at 808 nanometers (nm) with a power range of 10 - 30 watts. The COPS(TM) delivered more than five watts of electrical power at approximately 13 volts. The demonstration lasted approximately 30 minutes.
TSC's follow on efforts related to space based laser power include:
Development of a 100-watt baseline converter Demonstration of simultaneous power/data transfer Integrated satellite power and data demonstration A space power utility demonstration. TSC is a high-technology company primarily engaged in providing engineering consulting services, advanced information technologies, and specialized products to the U.S. government and industry. The company's four main business areas are System Engineering and Technical Services, Advanced Sensors, Geographic Information Systems and Operational Support.
Technology Service Corporation
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