Optimal trajectories for a ground-to-orbit laser-propelled launch vehicle

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1993
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Humble, William Edward
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Pierson, Bion
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Abstract
The focus of this research has been on the optimal trajectories for launching a laser-propelled vehicle of the type to Low Earth Orbit. The launch system modeled in this research is based on work done by Jordin T. Kare and consists of a ground based laser capable of 300 megawatts of average power. It is assumed to be constructed atop a 3000 meter mountain peak, which places it above the thickest part of Earth's atmosphere. Such a launch vehicle is given some initial upward boost before the laser is turned on. Control of the steering angle 8 is assumed to be handled from the ground by altering the power distribution across the high-energy pulse.
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