Electromagnetic Launching for Affordable Agile Access to Space

Period of Performance: 08/01/2005 - 05/01/2006


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

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

Research Institution

Florida Institute of Technology
150 West University Boulevard
Melbourne, FL 32901
Institution POC


The project aims at developing a reliable and responsive electromagnetic launch system. In the proposed concept, a magnetically levitated sled is accelerated to a velocity of 7 km/sec by a high power linear motor system for the launch of samll payloads. A novel design of electromagnetic guide system with real-time feedback stabilizes the trajectory of the sled during acceleration. The launch object and the sled are aerodynamically and aero-thermally optimized to cope with the large aerodynamic disturbance forces and the heating at the high velocities towards the end of the guideway. The sled will operate in a helium atmosphere at reduced pressure to reduce the Mach number of the sled. Strong superconducting magnets on the sled enable a 2 inch clearance between the sled and the guideway, as well as between the sled and the linear motor rails. Augmentation coil actuators along the track will be used to provide the required stabilization forces. During Phase 1, a concept study will be performed and a the performance of the system will be modeled and optimized. During Phase 2 a test rig will be built, which allows to measure the aerodynamic and aero-thermal effects at the high speeds under various ambient atmospheres.