Laser weapons in space. Features of operation and technical problems

Laser weapons in space. Features of operation and technical problems

It is widely believed that the best medium for using laser weapons (LO) is outer space. On the one hand, this is logical: in space, laser radiation can propagate almost without interference caused by the atmosphere, weather conditions, natural and artificial obstacles. On the other hand, there are factors that significantly complicate the use of laser weapons in space.


Features of the operation of lasers in space


The first obstacle to the use of high-power lasers in outer space is their efficiency, which is up to 50% for the best products, the remaining 50% goes to heat the laser and the equipment surrounding it.

Even in the atmosphere of the planet - on earth, on water, under water and in the air, there are problems with cooling powerful lasers. Nevertheless, the possibilities for cooling equipment on the planet are much higher than in space, since in vacuum the transfer of excess heat without mass loss is possible only with the help of electromagnetic radiation.

On water and under water, the cooling of LOs is easiest to organize - it can be done with outboard water. On the ground, you can use massive radiators with heat removal to the atmosphere. Aviation for cooling LO can use a free flow of air.

In space, heat sinks are utilized by refrigerator emitters in the form of finned tubes connected into cylindrical or conical panels with a heat carrier circulating in them. With an increase in the power of laser weapons, the size and mass of the refrigerator emitters, which are necessary for its cooling, increase, and the mass and especially the dimensions of the refrigerator emitters can significantly exceed the mass and size of the laser weapon itself.

The Skif Soviet orbital combat laser, which was planned to be put into orbit by the Energia superheavy carrier rocket, should have used a gas-dynamic laser, the cooling of which would most likely be effected by the ejection of a working fluid. In addition, the limited supply of working fluid on board could hardly provide the possibility of long-term laser operation.


Product 17F19DM Polyus (Skif-DM) - a dynamic model of the Skif combat laser orbital platform

Energy sources


The second obstacle is the need to provide laser weapons with a powerful source of energy. If you don’t deploy a gas turbine or a diesel engine in space, they need a lot of fuel and even more oxidizer, chemical lasers with their limited reserves of the working fluid are not the best choice for placement in space. Two options remain - to provide power to a solid-state / fiber / liquid laser, for which solar batteries with buffer batteries or nuclear power plants (NPPs) can be used, or use lasers directly pumped by nuclear fission fragments (nuclear-pumped lasers).


Laser reactor circuit


As part of the work being carried out in the United States under the Boing YAL-1 program, it was planned to use a 600 megawatt laser to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at a distance of 14 kilometers. In fact, a power of about 1 megawatt was achieved, while training targets were hit at a distance of about 250 kilometers. Thus, a power of the order of 1 megawatt can be oriented as the basic one for space laser weapons, which can, for example, work from a low reference orbit for targets on the Earth’s surface or for relatively distant targets in outer space (we don’t consider LO designed for “exposure "Sensors).

At a laser efficiency of 50%, to obtain 1 MW of laser radiation, it is necessary to bring 2 MW of electric energy to the laser (actually more, since it is still necessary to ensure the operation of auxiliary equipment and the cooling system). Is it possible to get such energy with the help of solar panels? For example, solar panels installed on the International Space Station (ISS) generate from 84 to 120 kW of electricity. The dimensions of the solar panels required to obtain the indicated power are easily estimated from the ISS photo images. A design capable of providing power to a 1 MW laser will be of enormous size and minimal mobility.


International Space Station

You can consider the battery assembly as a power source for a powerful laser on mobile carriers (it will be required as a buffer for solar batteries in any case). The energy density of lithium batteries can reach 300 W * h / kg, that is, to provide a 1 MW laser with an efficiency of 50%, battery power weighing about 1 tons is needed for 7 hour of continuous operation. It would seem that not so much? But taking into account the need to bookmark the supporting structures, related electronics, devices for maintaining the temperature of the batteries, the mass of the buffer battery will be approximately 14-15 tons. In addition, there will be problems with the operation of batteries in conditions of temperature changes and space vacuum - a significant part of the energy will be "consumed" to ensure the life of the batteries themselves. Worst of all, the failure of one battery cell can lead to the failure, or even explosion, of the entire battery of batteries, at the same time with the laser and the spacecraft-carrier.

The use of more reliable energy storage devices, convenient from the point of view of their operation in space, is likely to lead to an even greater increase in the mass and dimensions of the structure due to their lower energy density from the calculation of W * h / kg.

Nevertheless, if we do not impose requirements on laser weapons for hours of work, and we use LO to solve special problems that occur once every few days and require a laser operation time of not more than five minutes, this will entail a corresponding simplification of the battery . Rechargeable batteries can be carried out from solar panels, the size of which will be one of the factors limiting the frequency of use of laser weapons.

A more radical solution is to use a nuclear power plant. At present, spacecraft use radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). Their advantage is the relative simplicity of the design, the disadvantage of low electrical power, which in the best case is several hundred watts.


The GPHS-RTG RTG was used on the Ulysses solar probe, Galileo, Cassini-Huygens, New Horizons probes, contains 7,8 kg of plutonium-238, produces 4400 W of thermal power and 300 W of electrical power

A prototype of the promising Kilopower RTG is being tested in the USA, in which Uranium-235 is used as fuel, sodium heat pipes are used to remove heat, and heat is converted into electricity using the Stirling engine. In the prototype of the Kilopower reactor with a power of 1 kilowatt, a rather high efficiency of about 30% was achieved. The final sample of the Kilopower nuclear reactor should continuously produce 10 kilowatts of electricity for 10 years.


Kilopower reactor design


Kilopower 1 kW nuclear reactor prototype

A power supply circuit with one or two Kilopower reactors and a buffer energy storage device can already be operational, providing periodic operation of a 1 MW laser in combat mode for about five minutes, with a frequency of once every several days, through a buffer battery.

In Russia, a nuclear power plant with an electric capacity of about 1 MW for a transport and energy module (TEM) is being created, as well as thermionic nuclear power plants based on the Hercules project with an electric power of 5-10 MW. Nuclear power plants of this type can supply laser weapons without intermediaries in the form of buffer batteries, but their creation faces big problems, which is not surprising in principle, given the novelty of technical solutions, the specifics of the operating environment, and the inability to conduct intensive tests. Space NPS is a topic of a separate material, to which we will definitely return.


The concept of a transport and energy module with a nuclear power plant. The need to cool the nuclear power plant and protect the crew / equipment from radioactive radiation dictates its requirements for the size of the structure

As in the case of ensuring the cooling of powerful laser weapons, the use of a nuclear power plant of one type or another also puts forward increased cooling requirements. Emitter-fridges are one of the most significant elements of a power plant in terms of weight and size; the proportion of their mass, depending on the type and power of a nuclear power plant, can range from 30% to 70%.

Cooling requirements can be reduced by reducing the frequency and duration of laser weapons, and by using relatively low-power RTU type nuclear power plants that recharge a buffer energy storage device.

Standing apart is the placement in orbit of nuclear-pumped lasers that do not require external sources of electricity, since the laser is pumped directly by the products of a nuclear reaction. On the one hand, nuclear-pumped lasers will also require massive cooling systems, on the other hand, the direct conversion of nuclear energy into laser radiation can be simpler than with the intermediate conversion of the heat generated by a nuclear reactor into electrical energy, which will entail a corresponding reduction in size and mass products.

Thus, the absence of an atmosphere that impedes the propagation of laser radiation on Earth, significantly complicates the design of space laser weapons, primarily in terms of cooling systems. A slightly smaller problem is the provision of space laser weapons with electricity.

It can be assumed that at the first stage, approximately in the thirties of the XXI century, a laser weapon will appear in space that can function for a limited time - of the order of several minutes, with the need for subsequent recharging of energy stores for a rather long period of several days.

Thus, in the short term, there is no need to talk about any massive use of laser weapons “against hundreds of ballistic missiles”. Laser weapons with advanced capabilities will appear no earlier than the megawatt class nuclear power plants will be created and developed. And the cost of spacecraft of this class is difficult to predict. In addition, if we talk about military operations in space, then there are technical and tactical solutions that can greatly reduce the effectiveness of laser weapons in space.

Nevertheless, laser weapons, even limited in time of continuous operation and frequency of use, can become an important tool for conducting combat operations in space and from space.
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  1. Ross xnumx 23 May 2020 05: 13 New
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    Laser weapons in space. Features of operation and technical problems

    To laugh about the war. In Russian space, the main problem is the design and operation of the laser? Shredded scientific thought. There would be an engineer Garin ... wassat
    Just do not be offended, the main problem here is to meet the launch schedule ...
    But, in the absence of other "sore" questions, the laser problem comes first ... after the Lunar Expedition and the exploration of Mars ...
    1. Vol4ara 24 May 2020 11: 37 New
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      Quote: ROSS 42
      Laser weapons in space. Features of operation and technical problems

      To laugh about the war. In Russian space, the main problem is the design and operation of the laser? Shredded scientific thought. There would be an engineer Garin ... wassat
      Just do not be offended, the main problem here is to meet the launch schedule ...
      But, in the absence of other "sore" questions, the laser problem comes first ... after the Lunar Expedition and the exploration of Mars ...

      It will be ridiculous, nuclear engineers will build a megawatt compact laser, and then Rogozin will say that he drowned
      1. Vladimir_2U 25 May 2020 10: 16 New
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        Quote: Vol4ara
        nuclear scientists will build a megawatt compact laser, and then Rogozin will say that he drowned
        Not drowned, but plunged for effective cooling. )))
  2. LAWNER 23 May 2020 05: 15 New
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    I understand correctly? To service such plants, scientists are needed ... And at least doctors of technical sciences. You will find a lot of them for sending into space, on warships.? Yes, and their view of the war is different from the view of the regular military.
    It’s one thing to invent, at the expense of the state. Another, to destroy people yourself by pressing a button.
    1. Svetlana 23 May 2020 07: 57 New
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      Yes, you understand correctly. To service such facilities and experiments on them, we need very, very competent people, which today are all the astronauts hanging in space for six months or more. But here is the scientific degree of them, it is not important. Knowledge of the subject is important.
    2. ccsr 23 May 2020 12: 28 New
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      Quote: LAWNER
      I understand correctly? To service such plants, scientists are needed ... And at least doctors of technical sciences. You will find a lot of them for sending into space, on warships.?

      Never mind - this idea was abandoned in the late seventies, when they wanted to turn astronauts into scouts, and nothing came of it, although several Almaz battle stations were created for them. In general, this is a utopia and no one will go for the creation of such a station for military purposes - too expensive and ineffective.
      1. Vol4ara 24 May 2020 11: 42 New
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        Quote: ccsr
        Quote: LAWNER
        I understand correctly? To service such plants, scientists are needed ... And at least doctors of technical sciences. You will find a lot of them for sending into space, on warships.?

        Never mind - this idea was abandoned in the late seventies, when they wanted to turn astronauts into scouts, and nothing came of it, although several Almaz battle stations were created for them. In general, this is a utopia and no one will go for the creation of such a station for military purposes - too expensive and ineffective.

        Previously, pilots were needed to control the aircraft. Now for the functioning of the laser you need a laser and an energy source in krsmos, and people on Earth
  3. Thrifty 23 May 2020 05: 38 New
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    Yes, the laser has become a new “icon!” The second question is, which type of laser, even in space, gives an efficiency of 50 percent? The fact that lasers with a power of megawatts are tested and more does not mean that such lasers can be created in bulk. The prototypes are very heavy, difficult to manufacture, they use analogs of alloys and metals based on rare-earth elements, which leads to the perplexing of the laser at times. And there is absolutely nothing to replace these metals because of their physical and technical properties. And, to the author, even if you received a pulse of one megawatt at the output, calculate the time for cooling and reloading your laser, the resource of its "barrel", and you will understand that this is just an expensive, terribly expensive thing that will ruin your army, such prototypes are not suitable for real application. They are producing new technologies, new materials, new options for focusing the pulse, or beam. It didn’t even touch on the future, it’s an attempt now to get everything at once at all, and high efficiency, and the inexpensive cost of a pulse or beam, the ability to quickly recharge the laser for frequent use. Only, you can’t deceive physics, and the matter does not go beyond laboratory grotesques.
    1. Vadim237 23 May 2020 15: 13 New
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      Perhaps a similar megawatt-class laser was created on Boeing 10 years ago and tested as a missile defense segment, and this, like the MIRACL chemical laser with an output power of 1985 megawatts, created in 2,2, clearly went beyond laboratory grotesques and was the first high-power laser adopted and Peresvet became our serial production, and what rare-earth metals are you talking about in mass-produced chemical and gas lasers, these materials do not have the most expensive in lasers, this is optics and a power source you can use superionistors one shot one superionist then reload on new such orbital lasers with cooling designed for nuclear power engines can be done right now but you need a call everyone is waiting for the first weapon to appear in orbit and then the interceptors and lasers, lasers, railguns, beam weapons, x-ray lasers and so on. Carriers for removing such systems are already available.
  4. Momotomba 23 May 2020 08: 31 New
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    I still don’t understand where to shoot this thing ... On the ground? On missiles? Or other satellites? What are we inventing?)
    1. Vadim237 23 May 2020 15: 14 New
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      Everything that flies in space.
      1. Momotomba 24 May 2020 21: 08 New
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        In general, why shoot down satellites? Could it be easier to strip them of communication with the REB method? Or instead of a laser, burn their communication equipment with a pulse ... It's easier and cheaper, nothing needs to be invented ... But let the iron fly
        1. Vadim237 25 May 2020 01: 05 New
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          By impulse, you can disable all your satellites, both your own and those of others - but you can seriously say that all military satellites are protected from powerful EMP.
    2. Oyo Sarkazmi 23 May 2020 17: 35 New
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      Quote: Momotomba
      where to shoot this thing ...

      Only affordable for taxpayers.
      Even at the dawn of SOI, our scientists said - in no way can the beam divergence be defeated. At a distance of 300 km, the spot of exposure will be 6 meters in diameter. Zilch. But the wise members of the Politburo (who are over 70) threatenedly hooted at them - Reagan said that he would shoot down warheads at a distance of 2000 km, and he was the American president and could not lie.
      Lasers of any power (and the more powerful the higher the divergence) are suitable only for shooting sparrows at a distance of up to 25 km.
      1. Podvodnik 23 May 2020 20: 53 New
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        in no way can the beam diverge


        Really. You will have to focus a spot of small diameter (a few cm) and not at a distance of 25 km. But even if they make such a super-duper focusing device, they will build a source of energy of suitable power and put this bandura into space. And they can even shoot. There remains a very simple question: "WHERE?". How to direct a beam to a target and hold at the right point for some time to destroy it? And the target does not stand still and moves with great speed. And this is for example 2000 km away? Oh well. A flag in their hands and a drum on their neck.
      2. Vadim237 23 May 2020 22: 42 New
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        You tell us about our beam divergence - they didn’t know this when they created Peresvet. But in the end, the problem was solved.
        1. Momotomba 24 May 2020 07: 39 New
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          And where does Peresvet shoot? Such a mysterious contraption ... Big and green)
          But apart from the divergence, you still need to defeat the dust in the atmosphere, unevenness and heterogeneity ... Is the laser worth it ??
          1. Vadim237 24 May 2020 14: 55 New
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            Probably the same as American lasers
            1. Momotomba 24 May 2020 21: 00 New
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              A rocket or a shell is not easier? Yes, and all-weather, unlike a laser ...
              1. Vadim237 25 May 2020 01: 09 New
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                Missiles cost several hundred thousand dollars and a whole ammunition load of shells which also costs a lot. Yes, if the lasers work in a normal pagoda - this will already be a significant cost savings for all of the above.
                1. Momotomba 25 May 2020 06: 27 New
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                  Perhaps I agree ... Apparently you just have to wait and do something worthwhile
          2. Oyo Sarkazmi 24 May 2020 21: 57 New
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            Quote: Momotomba
            And where does Peresvet shoot?

            Well, the phenomenon of self-focusing manifests itself in the atmosphere - along the axis of the beam, the air heats up to a thousand degrees (yes, within a microsecond), the speed of light in hot air drops, and the photons at the borders of the beam, where the speed of light is higher, tend to turn to the axis of the beam.
            But self-focusing is not free. The energy of the beam is used for heating, its energy density drops faster than the square of the distance, and the striking ability disappears at a distance of more than 10 km.
            So games with lasers are just games of curious scientists. Which, with promises to the dumb military and members of the Politburo, beat out sweet cookies for basic research.
            1. Vadim237 25 May 2020 01: 11 New
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              At ranges of 80 and 150 kilometers, missiles were shot down - this was 10 years ago.
              1. Oyo Sarkazmi 25 May 2020 14: 34 New
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                Quote: Vadim237
                At a distance of 80 and 150 kilometers, missiles were shot down

                I read only about 2,5 km from a stationary laser on a balloon-like target.
                1. Vadim237 25 May 2020 19: 00 New
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                  Ask about the Boeing with a YAL 1 laser.
            2. Ka-52 25 May 2020 12: 43 New
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              along the axis of the beam, the air heats up to a thousand degrees (yes, within a microsecond), the speed of light in hot air decreases,

              oh they piled it)))) what kind of quantum fantasies? No heating will affect the speed of light, especially at energies such as in the beam. The bottom line is that the process of refraction of the medium in a high-intensity light stream works here. Due to the nonlinearity of the process, the rays at the boundary are refracted toward the channel axis. Which causes its narrowing. But the phenomenon does more harm than good. They fight it more often than they use it, since uncontrolled compression leads to beam decay.
            3. psiho117 4 June 2020 13: 24 New
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              Quote: Oyo Sarkazmi
              the speed of light in hot air drops, and photons at the boundaries of the beam, where speed of light is highertend to turn toward the axis of the beam.

              Ugh on you, children of the exam ...
              The speed of light falls, the photons turn ...
              1. Oyo Sarkazmi 4 June 2020 14: 40 New
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                Gee. Maybe spread the tables of refractive index of cold plasma, depending on temperature? I think it is unnecessary.
                Air temperature rises, molecules partially ionize, free electrons increase the refractive index, and the speed of light in this medium decreases.
                So, for child prodigy: the speed of light in a heavy optical glass - flint - is 200000 km / s. One third less than in vacuum.
  5. Peter Tverdokhlebov 23 May 2020 08: 39 New
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    In addition, if we talk about military operations in space, then there are technical and tactical solutions that can greatly reduce the effectiveness of laser weapons in space.

    What are these decisions?
    1. dauria 24 May 2020 01: 12 New
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      What are these decisions?


      Pour a bag of dust from a vacuum cleaner in space in front of a warhead. And let him fly in a cloud of dust ... wink Dust does not lag behind the warhead until it enters the atmosphere. And then it doesn’t matter.
      1. Vadim237 24 May 2020 18: 28 New
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        The concept of the use of laser weapons provides for the defeat of ICBMs in the Upper Stage in the United States since the 90s, ion beam proton meson accelerators have been developing beam weapons.
        Hitting the target, atoms are easily ionized, losing a single electron, while the depth of penetration of particles increases by tens or even hundreds of times. As a result, thermal destruction of the metal occurs.

        In addition, during the deceleration of beam particles, a so-called "bremsstrahlung" will appear in the metal, propagating along the beam. These are hard range X-ray quanta and X-ray quanta.

        As a result, even if the casing is not pierced by an ion beam, bremsstrahlung is likely to destroy the crew and damage the electronics.

        Also, under the influence of a beam of high-energy particles, eddy currents will be induced in the skin, giving rise to an electromagnetic pulse. "Such a weapon in space is excellent for selecting real warheads from false ones - since this flow can trigger a nuclear reaction in the charge material, thereby the warheads begin to glow in X-ray long before entering the atmosphere, they are thus determined and struck by atmospheric interceptors by high-power pulsed lasers and anti-ballistic missiles, and no dust will help.
    2. dauria 24 May 2020 01: 31 New
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      What are these decisions?


      Well, but seriously - there was such a fabric for the OZK, under the influence of a light flash of a nuclear explosion it emitted smoke and did not allow a person to burn. No one bothers to create a coating on this principle in space - smoke will envelop the warhead and will not blow it away with any “wind”. Although it’s easier to “envelop” and fly yourself in advance. There is no air, no difference in speed either.
      However, polished foil is enough. I saw how an industrial laser cut through 4 mm steel, but did not damage the polished aluminum corner on which this steel sheet lay.
  6. G. Georgiev 23 May 2020 08: 54 New
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    The article was published 3-4 years earlier. It's early now. There are only a few 3 MW Peresvet ground-based lasers.
  7. Operator 23 May 2020 08: 56 New
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    Quote: Thrifty
    which type of laser even in space gives an efficiency of 50 percent

    Silicon carbide diode with a specific power of 25 kW / cmXNUMX, of course.
    1. Thrifty 23 May 2020 09: 01 New
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      Operator - and how many pulses can a laser with such a diode give out per unit of time? How long does it take for its normal cooling?
      1. Operator 23 May 2020 09: 57 New
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        A silicon carbide diode provides a continuous mode of laser radiation, the main thing is that the refrigerator can work in the same mode.
      2. Interlocutor 23 May 2020 18: 49 New
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        While cooling it is problematic. Vacuum. There are no molecules nearby. Heat takes nothing. And that means only increasing the area of ​​heat transfer ...
  8. Operator 23 May 2020 09: 04 New
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    In general, until lasers with 100% efficiency are invented, which allow abandoning refrigerators weighing several tens of tons, megawatt lasers are possible only air-based with the discharge of heat into the atmosphere.

    And so as not to get up twice - the only real source of energy for space-based lasers is a nickel-63 radioisotope generator with direct conversion of nuclear decay energy into electricity. At the moment, Russia is the owner of the technology for industrial production of nickel-63, all other countries are in a deep ass in this matter.
    1. ccsr 23 May 2020 12: 24 New
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      Quote: Operator
      the only real source of energy for space-based lasers is a nickel-63 radioisotope generator with direct conversion of nuclear decay energy into electricity.

      What do you mean by direct energy conversion, if earlier the current was received from semiconductor thermoelectric converters in such generators.
      1. Operator 23 May 2020 13: 06 New
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        During nuclear decay, the nickel-63 isotope emits electrons and positrons, i.e. directly generates an electric current without intermediate thermionic conversion of heat from nuclear decay.
        1. ccsr 23 May 2020 13: 24 New
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          Quote: Operator
          During nuclear decay, the nickel-63 isotope emits electrons and positrons, i.e. directly generates electric current

          Where can I find out about this? I’m just curious to know how much power can be learned from such plants and why we don’t refuse traditional types of nuclear power plants. Can provide links where there is a description of such systems.
          1. Operator 23 May 2020 14: 26 New
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            Details for "nickel-63 nuclear battery device."

            The current strength is determined by the number of parallel-connected nickel-63 layers in the current source.

            A nuclear battery will not be able to replace conventional nuclear power plants due to the higher cost of electricity (not yet determined for serial products) and the lack of power control - for 50 years the battery has been continuously giving out its maximum capacity, which is quite suitable for space power sources (equipped with refrigerators), continuously operating beacons, weather sensors, portable sources of infantry equipment, laptops, smartphones (equipped with radiators), etc., but not for general power supply.
            1. ccsr 23 May 2020 17: 11 New
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              Quote: Operator
              The current strength is determined by the number of parallel-connected nickel-63 layers in the current source.

              I looked at the information on this battery and immediately realized that it is unlikely to be useful for lasers - the order of power is not the same. As for the parallel connection, a lot of them cannot be connected, if only because of the heterogeneity of the elements and self-discharge currents in such structures.
              1. Operator 23 May 2020 18: 21 New
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                The current source on nickel-63 generates electricity, but does not store it, so there is no self-discharge by definition.
                1. ccsr 23 May 2020 18: 31 New
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                  Quote: Operator
                  The current source on nickel-63 generates electricity, but does not store it, so there is no self-discharge by definition.

                  The point is not in the charge reserve, but in the fact that it is not possible to create exactly the same elements and some of them will have differences in internal resistance, and this will necessarily lead to the fact that through them a different strength current will flow through in parallel, and As a result, during prolonged use, this leads to the destruction of the internal structure of the elements. This problem does not exist when connecting elements in series, but with a large number of elements connected in parallel, problems arise - at least that was the case in my time.
                  1. Operator 23 May 2020 19: 26 New
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                    According to Rosatom, this problem has been resolved.
          2. Vadim237 23 May 2020 15: 17 New
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            Such atomic power generation systems are only being tested.
            1. ccsr 23 May 2020 17: 04 New
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              Quote: Vadim237
              Such atomic power generation systems are only being tested.

              And for some reason it seems to me like that - at least I haven’t heard anywhere that they are already in serial use somewhere. That's why I asked the author for a link to understand at what level we are.
              1. remal 25 May 2020 03: 53 New
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                Reactors have been used in space for a long time, but then they were banned after our satellite crashed in Canada.
                1. ccsr 25 May 2020 11: 20 New
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                  Quote: remal
                  Reactors have long been used in space,

                  The reactor, as we understand it, was never launched into space, because they used a completely different principle of generating electricity, creating an RTG, which was even installed on a lunar rover and was a source of current on "moonlit nights."
                  1. remal 25 May 2020 12: 08 New
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                    On moonlit nights, plutonium reactors were operating there as a classic source of heat.
                    1. ccsr 25 May 2020 12: 33 New
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                      Quote: remal
                      On moonlit nights, plutonium reactors were operating there as a classic source of heat.

                      I don’t know what you mean by classical reactors, but a controlled nuclear reaction is used there to produce heat, which is then converted into steam for station turbines. The RTG uses a different principle - they use semiconductor thermoelements, the emf of which is obtained due to different temperatures, moreover, heating of one side is due to constantly emitted heat from a radioisotope source, and cooling of the other due to fins of the structure is an explanation on the fingers. In the classical form, a nuclear reactor in orbit is impossible - the design is too heavy.
  9. peter1v 23 May 2020 09: 54 New
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    The very ambush in lasers is that in airless space (in outer space) they do not transmit energy with a beam. No more dangerous than a bright flashlight. It makes sense to shoot only in the atmosphere, although it additionally scatters the beam.
    1. Blackmokona 23 May 2020 10: 38 New
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      So the sun does not transmit energy to the Earth with its rays? laughing
      1. peter1v 24 May 2020 10: 48 New
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        The sun is not a laser, no matter how you think the opposite
    2. Genry 23 May 2020 10: 58 New
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      Quote: peter1v
      The very ambush in lasers is that in airless space (in outer space) they do not transmit energy with a beam.

      Is the earth flat?
      1. peter1v 24 May 2020 10: 46 New
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        You, as they say, know better
  10. ccsr 23 May 2020 12: 21 New
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    Author:
    Andrey Mitrofanov
    Features of the operation of lasers in space
    The first obstacle to the use of high-power lasers in outer space is their efficiency, which is up to 50% for the best products, the remaining 50% goes to heat the laser and the equipment surrounding it.

    The author of the article described everything in sufficient detail regarding the technical problems of using lasers in space, and this is of interest to those who are interested in this issue.
    But he emphasized the existing problems of orbital lasers in his article, in my opinion, not quite correctly. In order not to go into details, I’ll just name those because of which in the foreseeable future we are unlikely to place lasers in orbit.
    1. The high cost of putting into orbit, and at the same time, the effectiveness of such weapons at such costs is not so great.
    2. Difficulties in the control system and the use of such equipment on commands from the Earth, especially when counteracting the enemy's electronic warfare.
    3. Operational use will mainly concern low orbits, which means that there will be dead zones in which we will not be able to control the state of the laser and the enemy’s actions to destroy it.
    4. There is too much likelihood of a technical malfunction or deliberate enemy attack for such satellites, which can lead to the combat use of the laser against the enemy satellites, and this can provoke a nuclear war.
    And this is the main reason why such systems will not appear in orbit in the coming decades.
    1. Vadim237 23 May 2020 15: 35 New
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      The counteraction of satellites against satellites - precisely, to a nuclear war will not lead to the high cost of launching a maximum of 60 - 100 million green standard price for all displayed medium and heavy satellites now and the cost of some satellites may reach 10 billion or more and who said that such platforms in low orbits, it’s more likely to hang from 500 to 2000 kilometers with the ability to maneuver and change their orbits, it remains only to make a reusable ship that can launch and take on such services similar military space satellites in the USA to create such a Starship system. And there the fight for the resources of our solar system will already be trampled - who is the first and the pie.
      1. ccsr 23 May 2020 17: 19 New
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        Quote: Vadim237
        The counteraction of satellites against satellites - precisely, to a nuclear war will not lead to the expense of the high cost of removing a maximum of 60 - 100 million green

        We have an orbital grouping "Missile Attack Warning System (SPRN)" and if all the satellites suddenly fail within one or two hours - what should we do?
        Quote: Vadim237
        it remains only to make a reusable ship that will be able to display and take on such service similar military space satellites in the United States a similar system

        Let’s say they’ll do it, and the fate of the shuttle will befall him - will this be all over?
        Quote: Vadim237
        And there the fight for the resources of our solar system will already be trampled - who is the first and the pie.

        Do you seriously believe that we will not be able to find our own cheap ways to get energy and learn how to recycle the waste of our life 90-95%? Why should we fight in the solar system for what is already missing on Earth?
        1. Vadim237 23 May 2020 22: 52 New
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          The fate of the Shuttle will definitely not befall it - since the Shuttle was developed 50 years ago and the materials there were rather thin, and here a special heat-resistant stainless steel capable of holding heat of 1400 degrees and a new ceramic material for thermal protection, the only problem with such a system would be the extreme form of landing. And I did not write anything about energy - the struggle in space will go for rare earth metals of which in space iron meteorites and asteroids and on the Moon are millions of times more than on Earth and it will be much easier to mine them there.
  11. iouris 23 May 2020 12: 24 New
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    Apparently, one of the most important conditions for surrender, which was signed by Gorbi in Malta, is the destruction of the space infrastructure of the USSR.
  12. Observer2014 23 May 2020 13: 26 New
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    Interesting article. yes I would very much like to develop the topic of how you can defeat the horizon in a tactical environment with a laser.
    1. Vadim237 23 May 2020 15: 38 New
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      An even more interesting topic is beam weapons and x-ray lasers.
      1. Observer2014 23 May 2020 15: 41 New
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        Quote: Vadim237
        An even more interesting topic is beam weapons and x-ray lasers.

        Maybe. So it is. But very much a hunt instead of an X-ray and a beam to simply plant over the horizon with an ordinary laser at this stage of development, read smart thoughts, so to speak.
  13. bk0010 23 May 2020 17: 44 New
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    It is useless to use solar batteries for a combat laser: batteries of reasonable sizes will be enough exclusively for powering the platform, and hectares of solar batteries will not work either: in addition to high cost, they must also be turned so that they are at a good angle to the sun, with large areas this is also unrealistic.
    RITEGs will also not work: they, in addition to electricity, generate more heat many times more. And if it is used for low-power rigtes for the needs of the platform, then powerful ones have a problem with cooling, and not episodic (like with a laser), but constant.
  14. Sasha_rulevoy 24 May 2020 06: 34 New
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    According to the Boing YAL-1 program, it was planned to use a 600 megawatt laser to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at a distance of 14 kilometers. In fact, a power of about 1 megawatt was achieved, while training targets were hit at a distance of about 250 kilometers.


    In fact, the firing range was classified, later it became known that the firing was conducted at distances of 50-80 km.

    The Boeing flew straight all the time. The starting OTP prototype was right on his nose; there was no need to turn the laser left-right. He hit the rocket at the very start of the launch, when it was just taking off the ground, i.e. to drive the laser up too much was not necessary. But what about space? How can a spaceship be one hundred kilometers from the launching BR if it is flying all the time with a wild, by earthly standards, speed - 7,9 km / s? Then the BR will rise into space and the same will fly at almost the same speed, but in a different plane and in a different direction. It is necessary not only that the laser gun suddenly finds itself, but also that it lasts at least ten seconds in the radius of destruction (five minutes are said above, but this is completely unrealistic). Back and forth you can still somehow hunt for satellites, provided that the laser system has powerful engines and a large supply of fuel for interorbital maneuvers. You can bring it on the same plane with the satellite, and then gradually catch up or fall behind so that they hang nearby at any desired distance without moving relative to each other. But what about the BR, is it only one incomplete revolution? In the case of a satellite, a laser is not needed, you can do with an ordinary machine gun.
    1. Vadim237 24 May 2020 15: 22 New
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      In Cosmos, a laser beam has nothing to scatter a pulsed laser with a power of at and more than 1 MW at a distance of a thousand kilometers will be effective to direct it to take-off ICBMs will be SPRN PRO satellites with IR cameras and also the orbital laser platforms themselves will be equipped with TV scanners to recognize objects in space they need there will be a little fuel to maneuver and move to the next orbits - the higher the orbit, the larger the coverage area but you need a more accurate guidance system with it now there are no problems. In the next 10 to 20 years, all this will be put into practice.
    2. remal 25 May 2020 03: 48 New
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      The carapace in Syria cost the usual machine gun, Israel has already cut a lot of them there.
  15. remal 25 May 2020 03: 45 New
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    A nuclear reactor in orbit around the Earth is a very bad idea. The solar panel + drive will come off in the form of electrolysis and fuel cells on a hydrogen-oxygen pair. The generated heat can easily be dissipated by radiators with water in the form of a coolant and the same Stirling engine. A highly-elective orbit will make it possible to maximize the use of solar energy and use a laser close to the Earth. First of all, such an installation can be used to remove space debris from orbit, then to transfer energy, and, of course, for military purposes.
    1. ccsr 25 May 2020 11: 25 New
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      Quote: remal
      The solar panel + drive will come off in the form of electrolysis and fuel cells on a hydrogen-oxygen pair.

      Technically, this was realized back in the eighties of the last century on a number of satellites.
      Quote: remal
      A highly-elective orbit will make it possible to maximize the use of solar energy and use a laser close to the Earth.

      It is not entirely clear how from a highly elliptical orbit you will fall into an object in low orbit with a narrow laser beam.
      1. Vadim237 25 May 2020 19: 06 New
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        In such systems there will be not one beam, but several laser heads with focus on the center, thereby compensating for the divergence of the rays at the maximum distance
        1. agond 27 May 2020 21: 42 New
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          Energy for the laser can be stored in flywheels, such as graphene, because it is considered the most durable material in the world, and then in space the vacuum and cold flywheel with electromagnetic suspension will not be braked at all, and the cold will allow the use of superconductivity to convert rotational energy to electricity therefore, it is possible to obtain peak powers not achievable in any other way than an explosion. By the way, if an explosion of ordinary explosives can produce an electromagnetic pulse of high power, then it can probably be used somehow to pump a laser