Analysis of Laser-Generated Impulse In An Airbreathing Pulsed Detonation Engine: Part 1 Academic Article uri icon


  • An investigation is performed on an airbreathing laser propulsion (LP) system designed to propel a 1.4 m diameter, 120-kg (dry mass) vehicle called the Lightcraft Technology Demonstrator (LTD) into low Earth orbit, along with its opto-electronics payload. The LTD concept led directly to the model 200 lightcraft - recently demonstrated in laboratory and flight experiments at White Sands Missile Range, NM at the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF), using the 10-kW PLVTS CO 2 laser. The pulsed detonation wave engine (PDE) employs repetitively ignited, laser-supported detonation (LSD) waves to develop thrust by expanding high pressure blast waves over an annular, interior shroud surface. Numerical simulation of thruster impulse is accomplished with a 1-D cylindrical model of blast waves propagating radially outward from a laser-generated 'line-source' of high temperature, high pressure air. External airflow over the LTD structure is also analyzed to predict basic engine/vehicle drag characteristics, including inlet total pressure recovery, and captured air mass flow rate - all projected vs. flight Mach number and altitude. © 2005 American Institute of Physics.

published proceedings

  • AIP Conference Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Richard, J. C

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Richard, Jacques C

publication date

  • April 2005


  • AIP  Publisher