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Magnetic Launch Assist: NASA's Vision for the FutureWith the ever-increasing cost of getting to space and the need for safe, reliable, and inexpensive ways to access space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is taking a look at technologies that will get us there. One of these technologies is Magnetic Launch Assist (MagLev). This is the concept of using both magnetic levitation and magnetic propulsion to provide an initial velocity by using electrical power from ground sources. The use of ground generated electricity can significantly reduce operational costs over the consumables necessary to attain the same velocity. The technologies to accomplish this are both old and new. The concept of MagLev has been around for a long time and several MagLev Trains have been developed. Where NASA's MagLev diverges from the traditional train is in the immense amount of power required to propel this vehicle to 183 meters per second in less than 10 seconds. New technologies or the upgrade of existing technologies will need to be investigated in the areas of energy storage and power switching. An added difficulty is the separation of a very large mass (the space vehicle) from the track and the aerodynamics of that vehicle while on the track. These are of great concern and require considerable study and testing. NASA's plan is to mature these technologies in the next 25 years to achieve our goal of launching a full sized space vehicle for under $300 a kilogram.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Jacobs, William A.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Montenegro, Justino
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Launch Operations
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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