MHD summary

The four MHD parameters discussed, cyclotron frequency and collision frequency, the MHD interaction parameter, and gas radiation losses, provide the minimum criteria for an MHD system to operate successfully. It is critical that any system seeking to operate as an MHD system meet the criteria for the Lorentz force to exist. Although appearing to be applicable to space launchers, the MHD energy bypass system is thus limited by the internal pressure in the propulsion system. The result is that an MHD system that has significant potential for a global range cruise aircraft has only minimal potential for the space launcher [Bottini, 2003], The MHD interaction with the external flow to reduce drag and permit electromagnetic deflection of the airflow (instead of a physical ramp) is instead applicable to both cruise aircraft and space launcher because the external flow pressure is low in both cases.

One of the limitations of the space launcher it the quantity of propellant that must be carried to achieve orbital speed. Even the most optimistic airbreathing system has a mass ratio of 4, so the propellant is three times the operational weight empty. During the 1984 International Astronautical Congress held at Brighton, England, Viktor Legostayev approached the author to discuss space developments in the Soviet Union [Legostayev, 1984]. Part of the material presented was an experiment where a vertical launch rocket used water as a propellant and the energy to vaporize the water and produce thrust was provided by a focused microwave generator. An altitude of about a kilometer was achieved. Material was also presented from the Nikolai Tesla museum in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In the translated Tesla manuscripts there was a discussion of projected electromagnetic energy with minimum transmission losses. Tesla's claim was that a base on the Moon or Mars could be powered by a suitably located generator on Earth. Legostayev presented some data to the effect

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