Photonic Laser Thruster

Photonic Laser Thruster (PLT) utilizes the light quanta, photons, as rocket fuel.  With photon pressure, PLT enables propellant-free spacecraft maneuvers and propulsion that are beyond the reach of the traditional rockets and thrusters.  PLT potentially revolutionizes space endeavors from satellite maneuvers to human space travel.

PLT-C: Continuous-Operation Photonic Laser Thruster

PLT-C is capable of delivering continuous thrust without expending propellant for days to years for:

  • Precision formation flying of multiple satellites,
  • Orbit changing,
  • In-space propulsion.

A PLT-C demonstrator capable of delivering continuous 3.5 mN photon thrust that enables km-sized precision satellite formation for virtual telescopes.


PLT-P: Pulsed-Operation Photonic Laser Thruster

PLT-P  is capable of delivering strong thrust pulses without expending propellant with highly controlled thrust and pulse duration of from seconds to hours:

  • Stationkeeping,
  • Orbit changing,
  • Repetitive rendezvous and docking.

A 10X10X30-cm PLT-P demonstrator design capable of delivering  1-mN thrust pulses with pulse lengths of minutes for maneuvering small satellites, such as CubeSats.