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Laser Cannon planned for ISS


KerbMav
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Time to start another round of shouting and finger-pointing about "militarisation of space". Not to mention conspiracy theories about impending alien invasion, New World Order preparing to take over the world using orbital weapons and\or suppressing free flow of information by shooting tele-sats belonging to anyone opposing them. :rolleyes:

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They can really aim and hold a laser at something 100 km way, moving at 14 km/s? :confused:

14km/s is a bit high and remember that the ISS isn't standing still either. Still an impressive bit of marksmanship though.

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humans can't, computers can. If you have ever seen a laser engraver you know the precision of computer operated lasers.

Yeah I get that a laser cutter in a machine shop can be precise, but surely the MANY orders of magnitude increase in distance and even more orders of magnitude increase in speed has some effect on the precision?

Edited by Lukaszenko
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I find hard to believe that they can reach objects of 1cm at 100km range and be able to push them in the correct direction.

The beam will probably be wider than 1cm at that point, so they have a little bit of wiggle room.

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we can hit a target of a few micron with another particule after a loop of 27 KM, at a speed very very very very very close to the spped of light ;)

I don't think that applies here - there are powerful electromagnets directing the proton beam all along the way at LHC. Aiming a laser at something 100 km away and moving at orbital velocity is a little different than guiding a beam of particles all the way to their destination.

(If you just mean that "if we can build THAT, we probably have the engineering skills to build the laser", then yes, I agree)

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we can hit a target of a few micron with another particule after a loop of 27 KM, at a speed very very very very very close to the spped of light ;)

Yeah but in your example the target and and the projectile are both "on rails".

Still, the more I think about it the more I'm starting to realize that yeah, it should be possible. The motions of the debris and the ISS are pretty predictable and understood, and these crazy telescopes can apparently see the debris....

Edited by Lukaszenko
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If you can track the target with a telescope, firing at it sounds like similar (you only need the photons to go in the reverse direction). Although I wouldn't recommend shooting a high power laser through the telescope optics, you could probably use the same mount.

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we can hit a target of a few micron with another particule after a loop of 27 KM, at a speed very very very very very close to the spped of light ;)

Yeah is like Deutherius said. But well, telescopes in earth had better accuracy than that I guess.

The beam will probably be wider than 1cm at that point, so they have a little bit of wiggle room.

Not if you focus.. You will choice what is your focus distance.

They can really aim and hold a laser at something 100 km way, moving at 14 km/s? :confused:

But you need to take into account the angular speed needed to aim.

If this thing is at 100 km, then your angular velocity needed to aim (even if you have 14m/s speed difference) it will be very low.

Is like when you travel in car, all the signs at the side of the route are hard to follow with the view, but not the things that are far away.

Edited by AngelLestat
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They can really aim and hold a laser at something 100 km way, moving at 14 km/s? :confused:

You have to take the relative velocity into account, to the laser system the object wouldn't be going that fast because it is going at orbital speeds too.

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You have to take the relative velocity into account, to the laser system the object wouldn't be going that fast because it is going at orbital speeds too.

I'm obviously thinking of an extreme (although probably not even the most extreme) case, where something's orbit is exactly opposite of yours. I'm also guessing you're better off shooting something coming directly at you than something going in the same direction, if you want the resulting ejected plasma to slow the debris down.

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I'm obviously thinking of an extreme (although probably not even the most extreme) case, where something's orbit is exactly opposite of yours. I'm also guessing you're better off shooting something coming directly at you than something going in the same direction, if you want the resulting ejected plasma to slow the debris down.

They'll want to fire at debris in a way that the resulting plasma is fired retrograde from the part - nothing more, nothing less :) for objects on almost the same orbit than the station, you would fire at them when they are 'behind' the station (and they will be - on a slightly slower orbit, they'll 'fall behind' the station, while on a faster orbit, they'll be catching up.

Now, if something is on an orbit retrograde to that of the station, you'll fire at it when it's in front of the station :) in the first case, you'll have plenty of time making your pot shot :) in the second case, you'll only have a few minutes while the target rose above the horizon relatively to the station. But once you managed to compute it's orbital parameters, should be easy to have a laser track it.

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Don't quote me on this, but I recall reading somewhere that someone did the math/physics, and that the plasma discharge is going to deorbit the debris regardless of where you hit it with the laser.

EDIT: That was for a ground based system, though. It could very well be different for a space station based one.

Edited by Deutherius
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