Free-Electron Laser (FEL) utilization in space applications (ship-borne pointing accuracy, deep-space communications, and orbital debris tracking)
Wittrock, Jason M.
Agrawal, Brij N.
Colson, William B.
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The U.S. Navy is currently conducting research which will support the production of a MW-class free-electron laser (FEL). The Navy's end-state goal is to design and implement a defense system capable of destroying a fast-flying, anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) target. To this end, the necessity of ensuring accurate pointing control of the beam is required. The first part of this thesis focuses on the U.S. Navy's desired end-state and investigates the ability of feedback and feed-forward control methods to provide improved pointing accuracy to a beam director mounted on a naval vessel similar in size to that of a Ticonderoga-class cruiser while traversing through various sea-states. The second part of this thesis examines the feasibility of employing the FEL as a means of deep-space (Mars and beyond) communication and orbital debris removal and tracking of objects in low-earth orbit (LEO).