Authors: John R. Cipolla
External-jet propulsion uses a narrow jet of high velocity water or conceptually a bank of high power lasers to “blast” vehicles to high velocity. The original goal of this work was to create a design analogy for launching micro-sized laser-propelled probes to 20 percent of the speed of light to the nearest stars. This work also resulted in the practical capability to launch micro-craft on external jets of high velocity water having a mass of only 0.7 grams, which represents the smallest known reusable jet propelled vehicle in history. A sphere-cone projectile having a hollow interior shaped like a diverging nozzle demonstrated the concept of propelling projectiles to high velocity using the principal of conservation of linear momentum. An extremely narrow streamtube of high velocity water directed into the interior of a sphere-cone successfully demonstrated stable flight and high acceleration for an inherently unstable projectile.
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