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book coverScientific Assessment of High-Power Free-Electron Laser Technology   (BPA)
Released 2009-03-06

This book presents a scientific assessment of free-electron-laser technology for naval applications. The charge from the Office of Naval Research was to assess whether the desired performance capabilities are achievable or whether fundamental limitations will prevent them from being realized. The present study identifies the highest-priority scientific and technical issues that must be resolved along the development path to achieve a megawatt-class free-electron laser. In accordance with the charge, the committee considered (and briefly describes) trade-offs between free-electron lasers and other types of lasers and weapon systems to show the advantages free-electron lasers offer over other types of systems for naval applications as well as their drawbacks. The primary advantages of free-electron lasers are associated with their energy delivery at the speed of light, selectable wavelength, and all-electric nature, while the trade-offs for free-electron lasers are their size, complexity, and relative robustness. Also, Despite the significant technical progress made in the development of high-average-power free-electron lasers, difficult technical challenges remain to be addressed in order to advance from present capability to megawatt-class power levels.

book coverLaunching Science:Science Opportunities Provided by NASA's Constellation System   (SSB ,ASEB)
Released 2009-02-12

In January 2004 NASA was given a new policy direction known as the Vision for Space Exploration. That plan, now renamed the United States Space Exploration Policy, called for sending human and robotic missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. In 2005 NASA outlined how to conduct the first steps in implementing this policy and began the development of a new human-carrying spacecraft known as Orion, the lunar lander known as Altair, and the launch vehicles Ares I and Ares V. Collectively, these are called the Constellation System. In November 2007 NASA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to evaluate the potential for new science opportunities enabled by the Constellation System of rockets and spacecraft. The NRC committee evaluated a total of 17 mission concepts for future space science missions. Of those, the committee determined that 12 would benefit from the Constellation System and five would not. This book presents the committee's findings and recommendations, including cost estimates, a review of the technical feasibility of each mission, and identification of the missions most deserving of future study.

book coverReview of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report   (BEES)
Released 2008-05-15

The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership is a collaborative effort among the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), and five major energy companies to manage research that will enable the vision of a clean and sustainable transportation energy future. It envisions a transition from more efficient internal combustion engines (ICEs), to advanced ICE hybrid electric vehicles, and to enabling a private-sector decision by 2015 on hydrogen-fueled vehicle development. At the request of DOE, the NRC has undertaken an effort to provide biennial reviews of the progress of the research program. Phase I of that review was described in a book issued in 2005. This second book presents an assessment of the progress in the research program management areas as well as the responses of program management to recommendations provided in the Phase I report. Covered in this second book are major crosscutting issues; vehicle subsystems; hydrogen production, delivery, and dispensing; and an overall assessment of the program.