a high-powered laser used for the launching of spacecraft, either by vaporizing propellant at the rear of the craft, or by radiation pressure on a solar sail n.
You don’t have to depend on sunlight, not if you’re launching from a civilized system. Every civilized system has a moon-based launching laser. By the time the sun is too far away to give the ship a decent push, the beam from the laser cannon is spreading just enough to give the sail a hefty acceleration without vaporizing anything.
As they fell deeper into the humid air of the lowlands, Mr. Slippery dipped into the news channels: word was already coming over the LA Times of the fluke accident in which the Hokkaido aerospace launching laser had somehow shone on MT3’s optics.
When the doomsday device is unveiled, the launching laser built, the weather-controlling satellite finally aloft, the skies dancing to my whim.
any evidence 1971
Larry Niven, 'The Fourth Profession'
In addition to antedatings, we would like further cites of any date from other authors.
Last modified 2021-11-05 17:06:37
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.