Heat-Exchanger for High Specific Impulse Maneuvering
Small Business Information
501 S. Sixth Street, Champaign, IL, 61820
John W. Black
AbstractStrategic defense missions place a premium on the performance capabilities of onboard propulsion systems. An innovative technique for producing very high impulse at excellent thrust-to-weight ratios is known as laser-powered heat-exchanger propulsion. A remotely stationed high power laser is used to heat a propellent gas within a rocket engine, and the heated gas is exhausted to generate thrust at very high specific impulses. Until now, laser propulsion research has focussed on the use of high-temperature plasmas to convert laser energy into propellant heat. CSI's approach will use a direct-absorption "heat exchanger" as the conversion mechanism, a technique which is far less complex yet offers specific impulse performance in the range of 500-1000 seconds. Such a propulsion system can increase the payload capacity of on-orbit orbital transfer vehicles, or can enhance the range capability of ground-based interceptors.
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