Will Lasers Power Next Generation of Space Vehicles?

Laser-Powered Aircraft Are The Future of Flight. Maybe
Wired

Aerospace engineer Leik Myrabo is absolutely sure lasers are the future of flight, and he’s confident we’ll be flying at hypersonic speed using beam-powered propulsion within a generation….

He foresees laser flight carrying people around the globe and into space by 2020. Ground-based lasers called LightPorts would provide the energy needed to propel the crafts. It won’t become viable, he says, until the cost of jet fuel becomes so prohibitive the aviation industry embraces an alternative. Myrabo bases his timeline on the fact costs are moving in the right direction, with oil going up as lasers come down.

“Things have gotten to the point where you can buy the beaming power for a few dollars a watt,” he says. “That’s when the whole thing becomes viable as a commercial enterprise.”

At that point, he says, we could fly from New York to Tokyo in 45 minutes.

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