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The Feasibility of Railgun Horizontal-Launch AssistRailguns typically operate for a few milliseconds, supplying thousands of G's of acceleration to a small projectile, resulting in exceptional speeds. This paper argues through analysis and experiment, that this "standard" technology can be modified to provide 2-3 G's acceleration to a relatively heavy launch vehicle for a time period exceeding several seconds, yielding a launch assist velocity in excess of Mach 1. The key insight here is that an efficient rail gun operates at a speed approximately given by the system resistance divided by the inductance gradient, which can be tailored because recent MOSFET and ultra-capacitor advances allow very low total power supply resistances with high capacitance and augmented railgun architectures provide a scalable inductance gradient. Consequently, it should now be possible to construct a horizontal launch assist system utilizing railgun based architecture.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Kennedy Space Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Youngquist, Robert C.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Cox, Robert B.
(Arctic Slope Regional Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2011
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Launch Operations
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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