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Application of superconducting technology to Earth-to-orbit electromagnetic launch systems

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2 Author(s)
J. R. Hull ; Argonne Nat. Lab., IL, USA ; L. M. Carney

The authors explore the potential benefits that may occur as a result of incorporating superconductors, both existing and those currently under development, in one or more parts of a large-scale electromagnetic launch (EML) system that is capable of delivering payloads from the Earth's surface to space. Both rail accelerator and coaxial magnetic accelerator devices are considered, using reference concepts developed under previous NASA studies as the basis for comparison. The use of superconductors for many of the EM launch components would result in lower system losses; consequently, reductions in the size and number of energy storage devices would be possible. Applied high-temperature superconductivity may eventually enable novel design concepts for energy distribution and switching. It is concluded that all of these technical improvements have the potential to reduce system complexity and lower payload launch costs

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Magnetics  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 1 )