Research Program 4
Research Program 4 will apply the knowledge gained and equipment developed in RP1-RP3 to engage space objects using photon pressure with a view to establishing momentum transfer and force models for the interaction between the space objects and the propagated energy. In order to establish the actual radiated flux achieved on orbit, up to 3 dedicated satellites will be designed and launched into orbit to serve as instrument platform targets for the experiment. This program includes the sub-programs “Payload Development” and “Photon Pressure”.
4.1 Payload development: SERC satellites will be equipped with sensors to measure the achieved flux, forces applied, and orbit change generated using photon pressure. A variety of photon intensities, satellite orbits, and surface materials will be used to generate models which can be used to develop scaling equations for future applications.
4.2 Photon Pressure: This project involves research partners from Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMC), the Australian National University (ANU), Electro Optic Systems (EOS), Optus and the National Institute of Information and Communication (NICT Japan). This program demonstrates at small scale a practical, active collision avoidance system using photon pressure from earth. SERC partners have already extended the NASA LightForce concept and propose to demonstrate its feasibility.