Analysis of Laser-Generated Impulse In An Airbreathing Pulsed Detonation Engine: Part 2 Academic Article uri icon


  • A detailed parametric study of airbreathing engine performance is carried out for the Lightcraft Technology Demonstrator (LTD), a 1.4-m diameter, 120-kg (dry mass) launch vehicle designed to become a microsatellite after reaching orbit. The LTD's pulsed detonation engine employs repetitively ignited, laser-supported detonation waves to develop thrust by expanding high pressure blast waves over an annular, interior shroud surface. This companion paper presents the analytical LTD airbreathing inlet and vehicle aerodynamics models used to predict basic engine performance and vehicle drag characteristics, including inlet total pressure recovery, captured air mass flow rate, ram drag, etc. - all projected vs. flight Mach number and altitude. The results of this parametric study suggest an optimum inlet air gap of 3-cm for the 100-cm diameter centerbody (external compression inlet), and that Mach 5.5 at 30-km is a reasonable choice for transitioning into the rocket mode. © 2005 American Institute of Physics.

published proceedings

  • AIP Conference Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Richard, J. C

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Richard, Jacques C

publication date

  • April 2005


  • AIP  Publisher