Design of a formation of solar pumped lasers for asteroid deflection

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This paper presents the design of a multi-spacecraft system for the deflection
of asteroids. Each spacecraft is equipped with a fibre laser and a solar
concentrator. The laser induces the sublimation of a portion of the surface of
the asteroid, and the resultant jet of gas and debris thrusts the asteroid off its
natural course. The main idea is to have a formation of spacecraft flying in the
proximity of the asteroid with all the spacecraft beaming to the same location
to achieve the required deflection thrust. The paper presents the design of the
formation orbits and the multi-objective optimisation of the formation in order
to minimise the total mass in space and maximise the deflection of the asteroid.
The paper demonstrates how significant deflections can be obtained with
relatively small sized, easy-to-control spacecraft.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-905
Number of pages15
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • fiber laser
  • neo
  • laser ablation
  • spacecraft
  • asteroid deflection


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