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Electromagnetic launch: highway to the stars

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3 Author(s)

The future of large-scale industrialization is considered and the key role of an Earth-to-space electromagnetic launch capability is projected. Historical analogies are developed to support the authors' belief in an imminent revolution in launch (i.e. transportation) technology. A point design is presented of an Earth-to-space electromagnetic launcher which approaches ideal efficiency: a superconductor quench launch of a high-ballistic-coefficient vehicle. Examples are calculated of how given muzzle velocities and vehicle ballistic coefficients translate into orbits and payloads attained. This design exercise identifies required enabling technologies and the research efforts now underway which may lead to desirable superconductors and vehicle structural/heat shield materials in the near future.

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IEEE Transactions on Magnetics  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 2 )