Direct space launch using ram accelerator technology

Carl Knowlen
2001 AIP Conference Proceedings  
The ram accelerator is a hypervelocity launcher that operates on the principles of a chemically propelled intube ramjet. This concept is unique in its potential to launch large-scale projectiles to Earth orbit velocity while controlling the in-tube acceleration. Experimental investigation of the operating characteristics of the ram accelerator at several different facilities around the world has resulted in the demonstration of many key gas dynamic principles and logistical aspects needed for a
more » ... spects needed for a space launch facility. These experimental results have been used to determine the parameters for a ram accelerator system capable of launching a 2000 kg projectile having an effective density of 1000 kg/m3 at velocities of 6-8 h / s , without exceeding 1500 g. The results of this study indicate that a multi-stage ram accelerator system would be an effective means to launch large-scale projectiles into orbit.
doi:10.1063/1.1357980 fatcat:k2s76y4tifgxppeavzqbigs6ru