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Laser-boosted lightcraft technology demonstratorThe ultimate goal for this NASA/USRA-sponsored 'Apollo Lightcraft Project' is to develop a revolutionary manned launch vehicle technology that can potentially reduce payload transport costs by a factor of 1000 below the space shuttle orbiter. The Rensellaer design team proposes to utilize advanced, highly energetic, beamed-energy sources (laser, microwave) and innovative combined-cycle (airbreathing/rocket) engines to accomplish this goal. This year's effort, the detailed description and performance analysis of an unmanned 1.4-m Lightcraft Technology Demonstrator (LTD) drone, is presented. The novel launch system employs a 100-MW-class ground-based laser to transmit power directly to an advanced combined-cycle engine that propels the 120-kg LTD to orbit, with a mass ratio of two. The single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) LTD machine then becomes an autonomous sensor satellite that can deliver precise, high-quality information typical of today's large orbital platforms. The dominant motivation behind this study is to provide an example of how laser propulsion and its low launch costs can induce a comparable order-of-magnitude reduction in sensor satellite packaging costs. The issue is simply one of production technology for future, survivable SSTO aerospace vehicles that intimately share both laser propulsion engine and satellite functional hardware. A mass production cost goal of 10(exp 3)/kg for the LTD vehicle is probably realizable.
Document ID
19940004552
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Antonison, M.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Myrabo, Leik
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Chen, S.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Decusatis, C.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Kusche, K.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Minucci, M.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Moder, J.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Morales, C.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Nelson, C.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Richard, J.
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Troy, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1989
Publication Information
Publication: USRA, NASA(USRA University Advanced Design Program Fifth Annual Summer Conference
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing And Performance
Accession Number
94N71307
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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