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Closed Cycle Electric Discharge Laser Design Investigation

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Final rept.

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The effort reported here deals with closed cycle CO2 and CO electric discharge lasers. This effort was an analytical investigation to assess scale-up parameters and design features for CO2, closed cycle, continuous wave, unstable resonator, electric discharge lasing systems operating in space and airborne environments. During the program, the scope was expanded to include the investigation of a space based CO system. The study was conducted insofar as possible in the context of predicted 1990 technology. The program objectives were the conceptual designs of six CO2 systems and one CO system. Three airborne CO2 designs, with one, five and ten megawatt outputs, were produced. These designs were based upon five minute run times. Three space based CO2 designs, with the same output levels, were also produced, but based upon one year run times. This primarily meant that no consumables were allowed. In addition, a conceptual design for a one megawatt space based CO laser system was also produced. These designs include the flow loop, compressor, and heat exchanger, as well as the laser cavity itself. Design for the prime power, waste heat disposal system, and pointing and tracking were not pursued, although it became necessary to make certain scaling assumptions about these items. It is interesting to note that the designs resulted in a laser loop weight for the space based five megawatt system that is within the space shuttle capacity. For the one megawatt systems, the estimated weight of the entire system including laser loop, solar power generator, and heat radiator is less than the shuttle capacity.

Subject Categories:

  • Lasers and Masers
  • Astronautics

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