14 September 1998 Flight experiments and evolutionary development of a laser-propelled transatmospheric vehicle
Author Affiliations +
Proceedings Volume 3343, High-Power Laser Ablation; (1998) https://doi.org/10.1117/12.321600
Event: High-Power Laser Ablation, 1998, Santa Fe, NM, United States
In a series of spectacular experiments conducted at the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF), White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), NM, using 13- to 15-cm diameter, 40- to 60-g vehicles designed to fly on the 10 kW PLVTS pulsed carbon dioxide laser (1 kJ pulses for 30 microsecond duration at 10 Hz), Prof. Leik Myrabo of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Dr. Franklin Mead of the Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Propulsion Directorate, have been successfully flying laser propelled Lightcraft under a joint Air Force/NASA flight demonstration program. The axisymmetric Lightcraft vehicles are propelled by airbreathing, pulsed- detonation engines with an infinite fuel specific impulse. Impulse coupling coefficients have been measured with ballistic pendulums as well as a piezoelectric load cell and fall in the range of 100 to 200 N/MW. Horizontal wire-guided flights up to 400 ft, using a unique laser beam pointing and tracking guidance system, have demonstrated up to 2.0 G's acceleration measured by a photo-optic array. Spin-stabilized free-flights with active tracking/beam control have been accomplished to altitudes of 15.25 meters. This paper will summarize the progress made to date on the Lightcraft Technology Demonstration flight test program, since the first 12 - 14 July 1996, experiments at HELSTF.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Franklin B. Mead, Franklin B. Mead, Leik N. Myrabo, Leik N. Myrabo, Donald G. Messitt, Donald G. Messitt, } "Flight experiments and evolutionary development of a laser-propelled transatmospheric vehicle", Proc. SPIE 3343, High-Power Laser Ablation, (14 September 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.321600; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.321600


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