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Proceedings Paper

Laser propulsion experiments in South Africa
Author(s): Max M. Michaelis; Ashokabose Moorgawa; Andrew Forbes; Wouter Klopper; Edric McKenzie; David Boutchiama; Hassan Bencherif
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Paper Abstract

Two sets of experiments indicate a renewal of interest in South Africa in the topic of laser propulsion. Both sets were conducted under the auspices of the new National Laser Center. In the first set, a 1 kW, CO2 laser (1 kHz, 1 J, 100 ns) was used to propel small (ca 1 gram) targets through a vertical tube-launcher and the momentum-coupling coefficient for a variety of conditions was estimated. The somewhat disappointing results were accounted for in terms of the poor beam quality from a single oscillator and premature break-down of the exhaust vapor in the tube. These experiments were conducted with one module of the now dismantled 'MLIS' uranium isotope separation system. The second set of experiments being conducted in Durban with a small but more energetic 'marking' laser (CO2 20 Hz., 4 J, 100 ns). The chief purpose of this, was to better understand the discrepancies between the recent vertical propulsion experiment at Pelindaba and earlier propulsion attempts with the original MLIS chain. Preliminary pendulum experiments were carried out. Burning targets exhibited enhanced coupling for single pulses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 2002
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4760, High-Power Laser Ablation IV, (13 September 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.482141
Show Author Affiliations
Max M. Michaelis, Univ. of Natal (South Africa)
Ashokabose Moorgawa, Univ. of Natal (South Africa)
Andrew Forbes, Univ. of Natal (South Africa)
Wouter Klopper, National Laser Ctr. (South Africa)
Edric McKenzie, Univ. of Natal (South Africa)
David Boutchiama, Univ. of Natal (France)
Hassan Bencherif, Univ. de la Reunion (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4760:
High-Power Laser Ablation IV
Claude R. Phipps, Editor(s)

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