Intrumentation and control of electromagnetic launchers



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The instrumentation and control of electromagnetic launch technology is presented. All of the experimental work and theory presented refer to one specific type of launcher know as a railgun. Two railgun projects supported by the AFOSR are described. One is an STTR phase 1 contract to develop a fast transient control system for solid state switching of numerous capacitor banks for implementation on a railgun. The other is a MURI project in collaboration with the IAT at the University of Texas for low cost access to launch micro-satellites into orbit. A project goal for both funded projects was to design and test control systems for the application of multi-stage railgun timing control. This relatively new area of railgun research is attributed to the need for complex multi-stage systems. The paper starts with control systems for proof of principle solid armature experiments and ends with a controlled asynchronous free-running arc distributed energy system.