Abstract

Microwave Rocket is a beamed energy propulsion system that is expected to reach space at drastically lower cost. This cost reduction is estimated by replacing the first-stage engine and solid rocket boosters of the Japanese H-IIB rocket with Microwave Rocket, using a recently developed thrust model in which thrust is generated through repetitively pulsed microwave detonation with a reed-valve air-breathing system. Results show that Microwave Rocket trajectory, in terms of velocity versus altitude, can be designed similarly to the current H-IIB first stage trajectory. Moreover, the payload ratio can be increased by 450%, resulting in launch-cost reduction of 74%.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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