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Article
Author(s)

Masafumi Fukunari1, Kimiya Komurasaki2, Yusuke Nakamura3, Yasuhisa Oda4 and Keishi Sakamoto4

Affiliation(s)

1. Research Center for Development of Far-Infrared Region, University of Fukui, Fukui 910-8507, Japan
2. Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
3. Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8561, Japan
4. National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Naka, Ibaraki 311-0193, Japan

ABSTRACT

This paper presents a review of a beamed energy propulsion rocket, the Microwave Rocket, which produces propulsive thrust from millimeter-wave beams transferred from the ground. The thrust is generated through millimeter-wave discharge driven in a cylindrical thruster. As a high-power millimeter-wave generator, a Gyrotron is promising as the beam source. The salient benefit of Microwave Rockets is the resultant drastic cost reduction of mass transportation into space. We have already conducted launch experiments and have achieved continuous thrust generation under multi-pulse operation. Recently, a long-distance beam transfer system has been developed. Ignition tests have been conducted. The physics of the millimeter-wave discharge remain unclear. Additional studies using experimentation and calculations must be conducted to optimize the thrust generation.

KEYWORDS

Beamed energy propulsion, microwave discharge, wireless power transfer, gyrotron.

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