Electromagnetic Launchers and Guns. Phase 1
Final rept. Nov 1979-May 1980
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE
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During the first six months phase one the group constructed a 65 KJ, 6 kV fast discharge capacitor bank, a 134 kJ, 900 V slow discharge bank, and a 245 kJ, 350 V mobile bank for field launching was started. Also completed was an accelerator test bench and a protected control and observation room instrumented with digital data processing equipment. Studies have been initiated on three acceleration mechanisms, and on the theoretical limitations in general. A helical railgun brush-commutated helical accelerator was bench-tested to 500 gee acceleration and 30 ms velocity achieved over a 12 inch section. A 20 foot, twin helix launcher and optimized cargo or reconnaissance glider were designed, for construction during phase two. Mass driver discrete-coil, synchronous accelerator coils were tested to destruction over a range of pulse conditions to gain an understanding of failure modes and develop improved designs for different ranges of operation. A momentum transformer has been constructed for transferring momentum from a pneumatically driven sabot to a smaller projectile. Theoretical studies indicate that the smallest vehicle capable of surviving a ground-based launch to earth escape velocity at reasonable atmospheric losses of mass and energy is a 25 kg, 6 cm caliber cylinder.
- Terminal Flight Facilities
- Machinery and Tools