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Proceedings Paper

Pulsed laser propulsion performance of 11-cm parabolic bell engines within the atmosphere
Author(s): Leik N. Myrabo; M. A. Libeau; E. D. Meloney; R. L. Bracken; T. B. Knowles
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Paper Abstract

The paper presents pulsed laser propulsion performance data for three 11-cm diameter aluminum parabolic (or "bell-shaped") engines, tested with the 10-kW PLVTS pulsed CO2 laser at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The single-pulse and multiple-pulse tests were conducted on two campaigns, Sept. 2000 and Sept. 2001, using a ballistic pendulum apparatus. The results from two different sets of PLVTS resonator optics were gathered (both 2X and 3X magnification). Assuming the vertex is set at the parabola's focus (i.e., and viewing outward towards the 11-cm exit plane), the bell engines had three different total included angles of 60, 87.2, and 120 degrees. As expected, the impulse and coupling coefficient performance of the 60 deg. bell generally exceeded that of the 87.2 deg. engine, which in turn outperformed the 120 deg. bell. The maximum single-pulse coupling coefficients varied from 275 to 375 N-sec/MJ. Multiple-pulse engine performance data was also gathered with the same ballistic pendulum in the first campaign. A sequence of from 2 to 8 pulses was transmitted into each bell at a pulse repetition frequency of 25 HZ -- all delivered within the first 1/8th cycle of the pendulum's swing. In general, only small variations in the coupling coefficient were observed throughout the string of pulses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2004
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 5448, High-Power Laser Ablation V, (20 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.547439
Show Author Affiliations
Leik N. Myrabo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (United States)
M. A. Libeau, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (United States)
E. D. Meloney, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (United States)
R. L. Bracken, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (United States)
T. B. Knowles, Energy Science Labs., Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5448:
High-Power Laser Ablation V
Claude R. Phipps, Editor(s)

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