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Title: Perspective on One Decade of Laser Propulsion Research at Air Force Research Laboratory

Abstract

The Air Force Laser Propulsion Program spanned nearly 10-years and included about 35-weeks of experimental research with the Pulsed Laser Vulnerability Test System of the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, WSMR/HELSTF/PLVTS. PLVTS is a pulsed CO2 laser that produces up to 10 kW of power in {approx}10 cm{sup 2} spot at wavelength of 10.6 microns. The laser is capable of a pulse repetition rate up to 25 Hz, with pulse durations of about 20 microseconds. During the program basic research was conducted on the production of propulsion thrust from laser energy through heating of air and ablation of various candidate rocket propellant fuels. Flight tests with an ablation fuel (Delrin) and air were accomplished with a model Laser Lightcraft vehicle that was optimized for propulsion by the PLVTS at its maximum power output, 10 kW at 25 Hz, 400 J/pulse. Altitudes exceeding 200-feet were achieved with ablation fuels. The most recent contributions to the technology included development of a mini-thruster standard for testing of chemically enhanced fuels and theoretical calculations on the performance of formulations containing ammonium nitrate and Delrin. Results of these calculations will also be reported here.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Electric Propulsion Laboratory, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards AFB, CA 93524-7680 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21137140
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
AIP Conference Proceedings
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 997; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: 5. international symposium on beamed energy propulsion, Kailua-Kona, HI (United States), 12-15 Nov 2007; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2931934; (c) 2008 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0094-243X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; ABLATION; AIR; AMMONIUM NITRATES; CARBON DIOXIDE LASERS; FUELS; LASER RADIATION; PERFORMANCE; PHOTON BEAMS; PROPULSION; PULSES; TEST FACILITIES; TESTING; THRUSTERS; WAVELENGTHS

Citation Formats

Larson, C William. Perspective on One Decade of Laser Propulsion Research at Air Force Research Laboratory. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2931934.
Larson, C William. Perspective on One Decade of Laser Propulsion Research at Air Force Research Laboratory. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2931934.
Larson, C William. Mon . "Perspective on One Decade of Laser Propulsion Research at Air Force Research Laboratory". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2931934.
@article{osti_21137140,
title = {Perspective on One Decade of Laser Propulsion Research at Air Force Research Laboratory},
author = {Larson, C William},
abstractNote = {The Air Force Laser Propulsion Program spanned nearly 10-years and included about 35-weeks of experimental research with the Pulsed Laser Vulnerability Test System of the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, WSMR/HELSTF/PLVTS. PLVTS is a pulsed CO2 laser that produces up to 10 kW of power in {approx}10 cm{sup 2} spot at wavelength of 10.6 microns. The laser is capable of a pulse repetition rate up to 25 Hz, with pulse durations of about 20 microseconds. During the program basic research was conducted on the production of propulsion thrust from laser energy through heating of air and ablation of various candidate rocket propellant fuels. Flight tests with an ablation fuel (Delrin) and air were accomplished with a model Laser Lightcraft vehicle that was optimized for propulsion by the PLVTS at its maximum power output, 10 kW at 25 Hz, 400 J/pulse. Altitudes exceeding 200-feet were achieved with ablation fuels. The most recent contributions to the technology included development of a mini-thruster standard for testing of chemically enhanced fuels and theoretical calculations on the performance of formulations containing ammonium nitrate and Delrin. Results of these calculations will also be reported here.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2931934},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
issn = {0094-243X},
number = 1,
volume = 997,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {4}
}