|NASA Reports Flying Disc
Now A Reality...04/16/99
|-- Earth Changes TV/Breaking News|
|by Mitch Battros
Producer - Earth Changes TV
|(NASA) It looks like another fine product of Area 51, and it
really is shaped like a flying disc, and would even fly like
one. If it works, the family tree will trace back not to
Roswell, New Mexico, but Troy, New York. "It came out of a
trans-atmospheric vehicle design course at Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute," which is in Troy, explained Prof. Leik
The microwave Lightcraft being studied by Myrabo and his students is shaped that way because that's how the physics works. It's an advanced derivative of a tiny, 25-gram craft that he is pushing around on a 10 kilowatt beam of infrared laser light in tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
Myrabo discussed his work last week during the Advanced Propulsion Research Workshop held in Huntsville. "This is where we are now," Myrabo said, showing a picture of Dr. Robert Goddard with his first liquid propellant rocket, launched March 16, 1926. Just 43 years later, a sophisticated descendant of that rocket sent the first humans to the Moon.
"My goal has been to cut the cost of getting to space by a factor of 1,000 using a system that is completely green," he explained of his passion for the past three decades. Since 1972, he has been building on an idea developed by Arthur Kantrowitz to use lasers to launch satellites. Myrabo introduced a variation using the atmosphere as the propellant heated by a laser. At higher altitude and at 5.5 times the speed of sound, as the air thins, the craft would use a small supply of on board hydrogen, still heated by the remote laser beam.
Myrabo's initial design for NASA was a 5-meter (16.5 ft) diameter, four-person craft in a shape that he dubbed Acorn. The front is shaped to reflect the coherent laser light into a narrow region between the body and a shroud. The focused light superheats the air to become a jet exhaust that pushes the craft up. In this case, the laser power station would be based in orbit.
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