Feasibility and Performance of the Microwave Thermal Rocket Launcher

  title={Feasibility and Performance of the Microwave Thermal Rocket Launcher},
  author={Kevin Parkin and Fred E. C. Culick},
Beamed-energy launch concepts employing a microwave thermal thruster are feasible in principle, and microwave sources of sufficient power to launch tons into LEO already exist. Microwave thermal thrusters operate on an analogous principle to nuclear thermal thrusters, which have experimentally demonstrated specific impulses exceeding 850 seconds. Assuming such performance, simple application of the rocket equation suggests that payload fractions of 10% are possible for a single stage to orbit… CONTINUE READING

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