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LightCraft Launch Oct 2000 - laserbeam powered propulsion





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Uploaded on Jun 27, 2007

Prior to liftoff, a jet of compressed air is used to spin the lightcraft to about 10,000 revolutions per minute (RPMs). The spin is needed to stabilize the craft gyroscopically.

Once the lightcraft is spinning at an optimal speed, the laser is turned on, blasting the lightcraft into the air. The 10-kilowatt laser pulses at a rate of 25-28 times per second. By pulsing, the laser continues to push the craft upward. The light beam is focused by the parabolic mirror on the bottom of the lightcraft, which heats the air to between 18,000 and 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit (9,982 and 29,982 degrees Celsius) -- that's several times hotter than the surface of the sun. When you heat air to these high temperatures, it is converted to a plasma state -- this plasma then explodes to propel the craft upward.

(note: the Lightcraft here actually employed a plastic ablative propellant. So the "it burns air" statement is not entirely correct - the laser is igniting air AND PROPELLANT)

Lightcraft Technologies uses a Pulsed Laser Vulnerability Test System (PLVTS), an offspring of the Star Wars defense program. The 10 kw Carbon-dioxide pulsed laser being used for the experimental lightcraft is among the most powerful in the world at the time of filming.

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