Relativistic Spacecraft Propelled by Directed Energy

  title={Relativistic Spacecraft Propelled by Directed Energy},
  author={Neeraj Kulkarni and Philip Lubin and Qicheng Zhang},
  journal={The Astronomical Journal},
Achieving relativistic flight to enable extrasolar exploration is one of the dreams of humanity and the long-term goal of our NASA Starlight program. We derive a relativistic solution for the motion of a spacecraft propelled by radiation pressure from a directed energy (DE) system. Depending on the system parameters, low-mass spacecraft can achieve relativistic speeds, thus enabling interstellar exploration. The diffraction of the DE system plays an important role and limits the maximum speed… 

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