New Space and Tech

The Andromeda Study: A Femto-Spacecraft Mission to Alpha Centauri

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
August 13, 2017
Filed under , ,
The Andromeda Study: A Femto-Spacecraft Mission to Alpha Centauri

This paper discusses the physics, engineering and mission architecture relating to a gram-sized interstellar probe propelled by a laser beam.

The objectives are to design a fly-by mission to Alpha Centauri with a total mission duration of 50 years travelling at a cruise speed of 0.1c. Furthermore, optical data from the target star system is to be obtained and sent back to the Solar system. The main challenges of such a mission are presented and possible solutions proposed.

The results show that by extrapolating from currently existing technology, such a mission would be feasible. The total mass of the proposed spacecraft is 23g and the space-based laser infrastructure has a beam power output of 15GW. Rurther exploration of the laser – spacecraft tradespace and associated technologies are necessary.

Andreas M. Hein, Kelvin F. Long, Dan Fries, Nikolaos Perakis, Angelo Genovese, Stefan Zeidler, Martin Langer, Richard Osborne, Rob Swinney, John Davies, Bill Cress, Marc Casson, Adrian Mann, Rachel Armstrong
(Submitted on 11 Aug 2017)

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Space Physics (
Cite as: arXiv:1708.03556 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1708.03556v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Andreas Hein M. [view email]
[v1] Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:23:51 GMT (2618kb)

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