Re: Laser as Reactionless Propulsion

James Rogers (
Thu, 22 Apr 1999 15:09:55 -0700

At 02:28 AM 4/22/99 -0400, Mike Lorrey wrote:
>b) There is a new power source that one of the Russian Institutes just
>sold to the US military which uses a small charge of conventional
>explosives to generate 1 megawatt for a tiny fraction of a second. They
>are evaluating it now for space defense weapons use. Don't know the
>technology behind it.

I've heard about these types of technologies and there are a number of ways to do this, and they all work like any other generator. They just operate at extreme velocities and therefore generate a shorter, bigger power spike.

The simplest would be something like the inverse of a rail gun. The explosives are used to drive an appropriate projectile through the tube at extreme velocities. Using low (deflagrating) explosives you could achieve about 2,000 m/s and with high (detonating) explosives about 10,000 m/s. As long as you are not worried about where the projectile goes after it leaves the generator, such a generator could be used many times at a rapid rate of fire. I've seen power generated this way, although neither with explosives nor with any intent of doing something useful with the power generated.

Obviously, there are number of ways you could do this. This was just the first one to cross my mind.

-James Rogers