Volume 1 (2003) Pages 9-16
A preliminary feasibility study of a laser ramjet SSTO has been conducted using engine cycle analysis. Although a large amount of laser energy is lost due to chemically frozen flow at high altitudes, the laser ramjet SSTO was found to be feasible with 100 MW laser power for 100 kg vehicle mass and 1 m2 vehicle cross-section area. Obtained momentum coupling coefficient, Cm, was validated by means of CFD. As a result, the engine cycle analysis was under-estimating Cm. This would be because of the strong unsteady energy input in the actual heating process and the spatially localized pressure on the afterbody.