Electromagnetic launch assistance for space vehicles

Jayawant, B V, Edwards, J D, Wickramaratne, L S, Dawson, W R C and Yang, T C (2008) Electromagnetic launch assistance for space vehicles. IET Science Measurement and Technology, 2 (1). pp. 45-52. ISSN 1751-8822

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Motivated by reducing the cost of launching space vehicles, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration sponsored an industry/university research project to explore the application of electromagnetic forces. Here, the technical issues involved are examined, the initial achievements reported and further improvements suggested. If the initial launch phase of a space vehicle is horizontal instead of vertical, it is possible to use electromagnetic forces to supplement the rocket thrust, with consequent saving of rocket fuel. The short time of the horizontal launch phase (10-20s) enables induction levitation to be used in combination with a compact form of a linear induction motor. The performance, dynamic characteristics and scaling laws of this system are examined. Induction levitation is simple and effective, but it has an oscillatory response to force or torque disturbances, and it is unsuitable for very large space vehicles. These problems can be overcome with magnetic suspension using controlled DC electromagnets. Although the energy required for electromagnetic launch assistance is small, the electrical power demand is very high, necessitating some form of local energy storage. The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2008

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Engineering and Design
Depositing User: Denis Edwards
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:15
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2012 13:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/15455
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