Discharge from a high-intensity millimeter wave beam and its application to propulsion

Masayuki Takahashi, Kimiya Komurasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Many experimental and numerical studies have been conducted to elucidate the fascinating physics of plasma formation and shock wave propagation during millimeter wave beam irradiation outputted from a high average-power gyrotron. A microwave–rocket system for rocket launching was proposed as an engineering application using an intense millimeter wave beam. Flight demonstrations and thrust measurements were repeated while changing the ambient pressure, beam power density, beam profile, and vehicle shape. We reviewed reports of experimental and computational studies to assess information on plasma propagation and compressible fluid dynamics induced by the millimeter wave beam. Earlier experiments and simulations of rocket launching were also examined for this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1417744
Pages (from-to)113-144
Number of pages32
JournalAdvances in Physics: X
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1


  • Flight demonstration
  • Microwave rocket
  • Millimeter wave beam irradiation
  • Plasma formation
  • Shock wave propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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