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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

A miniaturized high energy laser for ignition of rocket engines
Author(s): G. Kroupa; M. Börner

Paper Abstract

During the last years the CTR HiPoLas ignition system, originally developed for the ignition of automotive engines, has reached a sufficiently high level of stability and miniaturization to enable competitive operation on space craft engines 1. The fifth generation of this Nd:YAG laser system has been customized especially for the ignition of cryogenic thrust chambers and has been tested on a variety of combustors reaching more than 1500 successful engine ignitions. The high reliability and compactness of the system lies within the monolithic, side-pumped resonator concept requiring no adjustments of any optical element during assembly and thus rendering the laser unsusceptible against vibrations and thermal influences. The standard version of the system is able to generate up to 35mJ at 2ns with repetition rates up to 100 Hz in burst mode, a new high energy version uses an additional amplifier stage to boost the energy output up to 70mJ. Applications of the laser ignition system include high trust engines as well as combustion chambers at thrust levels of orbital maneuvering and reaction control systems. Technology readiness tests verified the applicability, stability and reliability of the laser ignition system for a variety of injector configurations, furthermore, ignition based on laser ablation was investigated. The laser igniter system was used to re-ignite a high thrust combustor up to 60 times in a row and in total more than 1500 times within one test campaign without laser system failure2.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 111805I (12 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2536117
Show Author Affiliations
G. Kroupa, Carinthian Tech Research AG (Austria)
M. Börner, DLR (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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