ENIG, in collaboration with the University of Maryland’s Department of Physics, has been selected and awarded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Space Vehicles (RV), Kirtland AFB, NM to design a space plasma generator payload for low Earth orbit (LEO) insertion.
ENIG will provide an innovative and novel electrical approach, using in-house designed explosive-driven flux compression generators (FCG) to convert explosive chemical energy into electromagnetic energy with very high current output and superb energy conversion efficiency.
“We’re going to take mega-amps of energy and then Joule-heat a light metal load through multi-phase transitions to generate artificial man-made plasma cloud in the ionosphere”, said ENIG President, Eric N. Enig.
The target plasma cloud, according to Enig, will be composed of 1025 ion-electron pairs of a few eV temperature propagating initially as a hemispherical shell, cylindrical shell, or plasma jet depending on the choice of load material and geometry.
Both theoretical and computational tools will be utilized in designing an integrated generator device whose form factor fits inside an air-launched vehicle or sounding rocket.
Citing a Letter of Support from DARPA’s Tactical Technologies Office (TTO), Enig noted that, once proven successful and constructed for space flight, “the space plasma generator can be used to smooth out ionosphere disturbances to assure reliable communications and navigation in-theater, or to provide novel capabilities for RF systems.”
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