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Basic Research Investigations into Multimode Laser and EM Launchers for Affordable Rapid Access to Space (Volumes 1 and 2)
Final technical rept. 1 Jun 2005-31 Aug 2010
RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INST TROY NY
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This basic research effort on pulsed airbreathingrocket laser propulsion, investigates the physics of laser energy deposition into stationary and hypersonic working Ouids, inclusive of electrical breakdown, ignition of laser-supported detonation waves LSD, and blast wave propagation over thruster impulse-generating surfaces. The future application of AFOSR interest for this basic research endeavor is the laser launch of nano- and micro-satellites i.e., 1-100 kg payloads into Low Earth Orbit LEO, at low cost and on-demand. The present dual-pronged, combined experimentalnumerical research campaigns centered on both static and hypersonic experiments with representative 20 and 30 laser-thruster geometries, using the Lumonics TEA-622 -200J, -1 OOns and K922M 20-40J, - 100ns C0 2 lasers. Laser scramjet experiments were performed in the T3 tunnel at the Henry T. Nagamatsu Laboratory of Aerothermodynamics and Hypersonics HTNLAH. Time-dependent surface pressure distributions were measured over thrust-generating surfaces following laser energy deposition delivered impulse and momentum coupling coefficients Cm were obtained Schlieren movies of the impulse generation process were recorded with a high-speed Cord in digital camera, to study the laser breakdown blast wave expansion process, and evolving flow field structures in both stationary and hypersonic flow. Time-resolved visualizations of inlet and absorption chamber flowfields, enabled qualitative analysis of dominant phenomena impacting laser-propulsion physics.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE