This is the world’s first externally powered Space Launch Thruster, Escape Dynamics have successfully tested their combustion free spaceflight that uses high power microwave energy. The result is really promising with performance greatly surpassing the limit of conventional chemical combustion rockets. This project is a major step forward advancement in future externally powered high Isp thruster, it is also a validation for company’s efforts to change the manner of orbital launches. Dr. Dmitriy Tseliakhovich, the CEO, believes that we can develop a new propulsion technology that beats chemical rockets and can be used for orbital launch works a lab scale and eventually into single-stage-to-orbit spaceplanes. This project will certainly change the way we reach orbit.
By implementing this technology, it is possible to bring to the market reusable, single-stage-to-orbit spaceplanes. It can be just aircraft-like operations to orbit, thus, drastically decrease the cost of access to space for payloads up to 200kg.
Designer : Escape Dynamics
Escape Dynamics aims to change the way we access space that has been dependent upon large, expendable chemical rockets. The company plans to take advantage of microwave energy delivered wirelessly through a heat exchanger on the spaceplane during the entire ascent through a phased array of microwave antennas located on the ground. The spaceplane won’t use chemical combustion, it will be propelled by ejecting hydrogen, heated by microwave energy, and as it flows through the heat exchanger, it will be exhausted via the nozzle to create thrust. Once a spaceplane reaches orbit and deploys payload, it’ll glide back to the launch pad, refuel, and be ready for next mission.
Recent tests conducted by Escape Dynamics demonstrated a full sequence of operation of an externally powered propulsion system. Energy was drawn from electric grid, then converted into microwaves using a gyrotron, guided through a system of beam shaping mirrors continue beamed from an antenna to a thruster. The microwave energy is converted into thrust using a thermal thruster that uses a highly efficient microwave-absorbing heat exchanger. The heat exchanger has been designed to capture more than 90-percent of the incoming microwave energy, heating the propellant flowing through it towards the nozzle.
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