Preliminary model for radiometric design and analysis of the breakthrough starshot initiative

Joseph Rice, Ryan Hamilton, Kade Bowers, Michael Hart

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

A model has been developed for preliminary examination of radiometric properties pertaining to the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative. This project aims to send a nanocraft to the Proxima Centauri system. The nanocraft will deploy a solar sail driven by a 100 GW laser beam at 1064 nm projected from a segmented aperture of several kilometers in diameter1. The radiometric model uses both MATLAB and FRED to quantify and characterize the light returning from the sail while also predicting the nanocraft’s kinematic motion. Photon counts and wavelengths along with craft position, velocity, and acceleration at any time throughout the duration of the launch are among the quantities modeled. Since the nanocraft is to be accelerated to 20% the speed of light, relativistic effects must be considered2. In particular, the Doppler shifted reflected drive light is of significance since it may be suitable for wave-front sensing once the shift is sufficient to separate it from the unshifted drive light at the projector. Additionally, estimates of the photon flux support predictions of the amount of light the system will be able to collect for wave-front sensing. All of these quantities are calculated using an iterative process which takes known initial conditions and integrates forward in time to provide the desired properties at every time interval. The model allows system parameters (e.g., reflectivity of the sail, BRDF profiles, projector fill factor, etc.) to be varied for optimization of the drive system design. The model will continuously be updated as advancements in both projector and sail designs are made. An expanded model including other phenomena, such as sail self-emission, transmission, and irradiance distribution patterns at the solar sails, will follow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event6th International Conference on Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes, AO4ELT 2019 - Quebec City, Canada
Duration: Jun 9 2019Jun 14 2019

Conference

Conference6th International Conference on Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes, AO4ELT 2019
CountryCanada
CityQuebec City
Period6/9/196/14/19

Keywords

  • Active or adaptive optics
  • Radiative transfer
  • Radiometry
  • Relativity
  • Wave-front sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Instrumentation

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  • Cite this

    Rice, J., Hamilton, R., Bowers, K., & Hart, M. (2019). Preliminary model for radiometric design and analysis of the breakthrough starshot initiative. Paper presented at 6th International Conference on Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes, AO4ELT 2019, Quebec City, Canada.