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Lasers could ensure satellites fly in perfect formation


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How can astronomers ensure that their space telescopes fly in ultra-precise formations around our planet? By combining the push of laser light with the pull of tethers, believes one physicist...

The idea is that lasers are beamed between pairs of spacecraft within a formation. Mirrors on each satellite reflect the laser beams back and forth, providing an energy-efficient thrust.

This outward push is balanced by the inward pull of tension in Kevlar tethers linking the satellites. The system also uses the laser beams to measure and maintain the desired distance between satellites very accurately. “The alignment accuracy cannot be achieved by any other means,” Bae says.

Source: New Scientist

http://tinyurl.com/kcsoz

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