Universal Superconducting Magnets for MagLifter Launch Assist Sleds

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Magnet Lab, Inc.
328A West Hibiscus Blvd.
Melbourne, FL 32901
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
Institution POC


NASA is considering an electromagnetic catapult, the MagLifter to lowerthe cost of cargo delivery to space. A carrier sled levitated and propelledby magnets provides the initial velocity to a space transportation vehicle.Superconducting magnets enable higher fields at lower weights than normalconducting magnets and consequently a significantly larger clearancebetween the guideway and the carrier sled. The reduced weight of thecarrier sled and the relaxed mechanical tolerances of the guideway not onlylead to cost savings in construction and operation of the MagLifter system,but to a more robust system with higher operational reliability.A superconducting magnet system is proposed for the MagLifter carrier sledand will be compatible with most guideways. The modular design will allowscalable configuration to accommodate the full range of required payloads.The superconducting coils operate in a persistent current mode, eliminatingthe need of a power source during the launch. A conceptual magnet designincluding the cryostat will be performed in Phase-I of this STTR. Aprototypical magnet with its charging unit will be built and tested duringPhase-II. ~990114 ~