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‘Cannon’ launches satellite into orbit in 10 minutes

AmericaThe company Green Launch is developing a device to launch objects into orbit at supersonic speeds using only a mixture of hydrogen and other gases.

Small test version of the hydrogen impulse launcher developed by Green Launch.  Photo: Green Launch

Small test version of the hydrogen impulse launcher developed by Green Launch. Image: Green Launch

Dr. John W. Hunter, executive director and research director of Green Launch, led the Super High Altitude Research Project (SHARP) program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 30 years ago, which led to the process. developed the world’s largest and most powerful “hydrogen impulse launcher”.

The device is in the form of a long tube filled with hydrogen, helium and oxygen, and the launcher is placed on the front. When this cannon is fired, the gases expand rapidly, and the projectile receives a huge thrust from behind. The SHARP program built and tested a 122 m impulse launcher in 1992, which broke all launch records in terms of power and speed, mass ejection (including supersonic linear jet ) at speeds up to Mach 9 (11,113 km/h).

According to Eric Robinson, business development manager for Green Launch, this approach can be scaled up better than a spinning accelerator like the SpinLaunch system. “The record for a hydrogen propellant launcher is 11.2 km/s. We plan to limit the launch velocity to 6 km/s to increase reusability and prevent wear,” Robinson said. know. Similar to the SpinLaunch system, the launch vehicle from the Green Launch instrument needs to ignite a small rocket to give it final acceleration and orbit. But because the hydrogen cannon launched the object at so much speed, the rocket needed to be much smaller and lighter.

Green Launch estimates the acceleration will peak at 30,000 G. The company conducted a simple test to see if the electronics can withstand that force. They concluded that the acceleration force would not affect the electronic components. Green Launch said launch costs will be minimal, only 1/10 of current rockets. Due to the absence of boosters in the first stage, Green Launch’s system saves a lot of fuel and produces no emissions. At the same time, customers can also reduce risk with multiple launches instead of losing the entire satellite cluster in a rocket explosion.

The hydrogen cannon can operate every 60-90 minutes, sending the projectile into the atmosphere at supersonic speeds. The projectile can reach low Earth orbit at an altitude of 300 – 1,000 km in less than two hours.

The company built a 16.5 m launch tube to demonstrate the idea. They successfully launched the projectile into the stratosphere at a speed of over 3,705 km/h. Later this year, they aim to increase the speed to a level large enough for the projectile to fly over the Karman line 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface.

An Khang (According to New Atlas)

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