Friday, July 31, 2009

Laser Propulsion: Wild Idea May Finally Shine

New laser propulsion experiments are throwing light on how to build future hypersonic aircraft and beam spacecraft into Earth orbit.

Indeed, a "Lightcraft revolution" could replace today's commercial jet travel. Passengers would be whisked from one side of the planet to the other in less than an hour - just enough time to get those impenetrable bags of peanuts open.

Furthermore, beamed energy propulsion can make flight to orbit easy, instead of tenuous and dangerous.

That's the belief of Leik Myrabo an aerospace engineering professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. He's an expert in directed energy applications, aerospace systems, space prime power, and advanced propulsion.

For the past three decades, Myrabo's burning desire has been to create and demonstrate viable concepts for non-chemical propulsion of future flight vehicles through his research and company Lightcraft Technologies, Inc., of Bennington, Vt.

"Typically, a new propulsion technology takes 25 years to the point where you can actually field it. Well, that time is now," Myrabo told

Real hardware...real physics

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