Jordin Kare

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Jordin Kare
Jordin Kare in 2005.jpg
Dr. Jordin Kare speaking at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, UK
Born 1956
Ithaca, New York, U.S.[1]
Residence USA
Fields Aerospace engineering
Institutions Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Kare Technical Consulting
Known for Research on laser propulsion

Jordin T. Kare (born 1956) is a physicist and aerospace engineer known for his research on laser propulsion. In particular, he was responsible for Mockingbird,[2] a conceptual design for an extremely small (75 kg dry mass) reusable launch vehicle, and was involved in the Clementine lunar mapping mission.[3][4] Kare is also known as developer of the Sailbeam interstellar propulsion concept and, in the science fiction fan community, as a composer, performer and recording artist of filk music.


Jordin grew up in the Philadelphia, PA area and attended Harriton High School in Rosemont, PA. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and Ph.D. in Astrophysics from University of California, Berkeley in 1984.[3][5] Kare is the brother of Susan Kare, designer of the fonts and icons of the original Apple Macintosh user interface.[6][7]


Kare worked for many years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 1996, he left LLNL and, after working briefly for a small space-related startup company, became an independent consultant specializing in advanced space system design in 1997,[5] and started his own company.[6] He is a leading advocate of laser propulsion for space launch and in-space propulsion. He organized a 1986 Workshop on Laser Propulsion at LLNL and later led a development program for ground to orbit laser launch supported by SDIO. He has received a NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts grant to study a near-term form of laser launch using arrays of relatively low powered lasers.[5][8][9][10] He is Chief Scientist at LaserMotive, Inc. of LaserMotive,[11] a laser power beaming entrant in the Elevator:2010 Beam Power Challenge.


Kare initially presented the concept of a SailBeam Boosted Magsail in a report prepared for NASA’s Institute for Advanced Concepts called "High-Acceleration Micro-Scale Laser Sails for Interstellar Propulsion".[12] A key idea is that if vast numbers of tiny sails are used to accelerate rather than one enormous one, the same amount of mass can be brought to high speeds with a less complex optical system. Unlike particle beam propulsion where the beam disperses as it travels, a stream of low-mass microsails is not limited by such diffraction. Using dielectric rather than metal sails, the sails can also be accelerated much closer to their power source. The stream of microsails then becomes a source of propulsion to a starship as particle beams mounted on the starship vaporize the incoming sails into plasma.

Filk music and science fiction[edit]

Kare is also known as a science fiction fan and filksinger. He has been a regular attendee and program participant at science fiction conventions since 1975.[1][4] He was an editor of The Westerfilk Collection: Songs of Fantasy and Science Fiction, an important filksong collection, and later a partner in Off Centaur Publications, the first commercial publisher specializing in filk songbooks and recordings.[1][13][14][15] An astrophysicist character with his name appears in War of Honor and Torch of Freedom, military science fiction novels in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. A physicist by his name (and his wife, Mary Kay) appear in Callahan's Touch by Spider Robinson, where he shoots a cluricaune with a fire extinguisher.



  • Self-published two albums of his songs, Fire in the Sky (1991; distributed by Wail Songs) and Parody Violation: Jordin Kare Straight and Twisted (2000)[1]



  1. ^ a b c d Filk biography in CopperCon 22 Filking News
  2. ^ Mockingbird
  3. ^ a b Jordin Kare. "Intersection Science Programme Participants: Jordin Kare". Intersection Science Programme Participants. John Bray. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Capclave 2005: Confirmed Program Participants". Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  5. ^ a b c "Space Access Update #93". Space Access Society. 2000-04-13. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  6. ^ a b "The Monell Connection, Winter 2003" (PDF). Monell Chemical Senses Center. 2003. p. 9. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  7. ^ Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (2001-02-19). "Interview with Susan Kare". Making the Macintosh. Stanford University. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  8. ^ "Jordin Kare Laser Launch Bibliography". Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  9. ^ Dr. Jordin T. Kare (2004-05-18). "Modular Laser Launch Architecture: Analysis and Beam Module Design. Final Report." (PDF). Kare Technical Consulting. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  10. ^ "NASA Exploring Laser Beams to Zap Rockets Into Outer Space". Fox News. 2011-01-25. 
  11. ^ "LaserMotive Team Bios". Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  12. ^ "High-Acceleration Micro-Scale Laser Sails for Interstellar Propulsion"]
  13. ^ Jordin Kare. "Filk music?". Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  14. ^ "Jordin Kare". Fan Gallery. SCIFI Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  15. ^ "The Westerfilk Collection : Songs of Fantasy and Science Fiction (2nd Printing : May 1981) von Off Centaur Publications". Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  16. ^ Hertz Foundation. "Hertz Foundation Fellows". Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  17. ^

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