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Laser propulsion experiments in South Africa

Abstract : Two sets of experiments indicate a renewal of interest in South Africa in the topic of laser propulsion. Both sets were conducted under the auspices of the new National Laser Center. In the first set, a 1 kW, CO2 laser (1 kHz, 1 J, 100 ns) was used to propel small (ca 1 gram) targets through a vertical tube-launcher and the momentum-coupling coefficient for a variety of conditions was estimated. The somewhat disappointing results were accounted for in terms of the poor beam quality from a single oscillator and premature break-down of the exhaust vapor in the tube. These experiments were conducted with one module of the now dismantled 'MLIS' uranium isotope separation system. The second set of experiments being conducted in Durban with a small but more energetic 'marking' laser (CO2 20 Hz., 4 J, 100 ns). The chief purpose of this, was to better understand the discrepancies between the recent vertical propulsion experiment at Pelindaba and earlier propulsion attempts with the original MLIS chain. Preliminary pendulum experiments were carried out. Burning targets exhibited enhanced coupling for single pulses.
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https://hal.univ-reunion.fr/hal-03543532
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - 9:48:14 AM
Last modification on : Monday, April 11, 2022 - 3:56:16 PM

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Max Michaelis, Ashokabose Moorgawa, Andrew Forbes, Wouter Klopper, Edric Mckenzie, et al.. Laser propulsion experiments in South Africa. International Symposium on High-Power Laser Ablation 2002, Sep 2002, Taos, United States. pp.691, ⟨10.1117/12.482141⟩. ⟨hal-03543532⟩

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