A Coaxial Radial Opening Switch for a Distributed-Energy-Store Rail Launcher
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The current electromagnetic launch technology base suggests that a distributed-energy-store railgun may be an attractive alternative to chemical rockets for Earth-to-space launch. If homopolar generator-charged inductors are to serve as the basic energy stores, a difficult switching problem must be overcome. Several switching schemes (arc, liquid metal, and electromagnetic) have been investigated. Studies indicate that arc opening switches would prove to be to destructive when used with continuous rail launcher systems. The most attractive alternative is an electromagnetically actuated switching scheme. The operation, calculated performance, fabrication, and initial testing of a switch based upon this scheme is presented in this paper.