The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated by NASA, as part of the Space Shuttle program. In this article, we examine the monumental technology behind America's shuttle program, the mission it was designed to carry out.
First, let's look at the parts of the space shuttle and a typical mission.
The space shuttle consists of the following major components:
A typical shuttle mission is as follows:
To lift the 4.5 million pound (2.05 million kg) shuttle from the pad to orbit (115 to 400 miles/185 to 643 km) above the Earth, the shuttle uses the following components:
Lasers have become an indispensable part of modern day battlefield. Depending on the wavelength and power; lasers have wide spectrum of military applications from dazzling human eye to shooting down a UAV, guiding munitions for precision strike, imaging enemy targets and detecting chemical, biological and explosive materials.
Laser Science and Technology Centre (LASTEC) is working for the development of laser source technologies for Directed Energy Weapon (DEW), dazzling and imaging applications. It is developing standalone sensor systems using different laser sources for applications like detection and location of optical targets and detection and identification of chemical, biological and explosive materials. Other laser systems developed by LASTEC include unexploded ordnance disposal system and different variants of dazzlers. LASTEC is also working in the area of electro-optic countermeasure systems and development of laser materials.
Over the years, LASTEC has acquired the expertise in designing, testing and evaluation of different types of laser sources and systems. Gas Dynamic Laser and Chemical Oxygen and Iodine Laser Sources of the order of tens to hundreds of kilowatts for DEW application have been successfully developed and demonstrated. Recently, single mode kW class Fiber Laser Source was realized in collaboration with foreign experts making India only the 6th (known) country to possess the requisite technological knowhow. Efforts are channelized in scaling the power levels of these laser sources.
Scientific principles and techniques like Raman scattering and its variants, laser photo acoustics, laser induced fluorescence, differential absorption, etc. have been aptly applied to develop a number of equipment for detection and identification of various chemical, biological and explosives warfare agents in field conditions. These equipments are at various stages of evaluation and have tremendous application in low intensity conflict operations.
A number of sub-system level technologies for building the most modern state-of-the-art laser systems for military applications have also been successfully developed. Expertise in associated technologies like beam pointing and tracking, embedded system design and thermal management has been achieved. FACET, a state-of-the-art facility for test and evaluation of laser systems has been established at Ramgarh, Chandigarh.
LASTEC is committed to provide world class laser sources and systems, using state-of-the-art technologies and complying to the world standards. The systems being developed are contemporary to those developed by the world leading military laser manufacturers and are appropriate to the Indian conditions.
The indigenous laser sources, equipment and associated technologies developed by LASTEC/ sucoF ygolonhceTDRDO have been covered in two issues of Technology Focus. I hope this issue of will be useful in generating awareness about the tireless efforts of DRDO in developing cutting-edge defence technologies in the area of Laser Sources.