Mass Driver

A mass driver or electromagnetic catapult is a proposed method of non-rocket spacelaunch which would use a linear motor to accelerate and catapult payloads up to high speeds. All existing and contemplated mass drivers use coils of wire energized by electricity to make electromagnets. Sequential firing of a row of electromagnets accelerates the payload along a path. After leaving the path, the payload continues to move due to momentum.

A mass driver is essentially a coilgun that magnetically accelerates a package consisting of a magnetizable holder containing a payload. Once the payload has been accelerated, the two separate, and the holder is slowed and recycled for another payload.

Mass drivers can be used to propel spacecraft in three different ways: A large, ground-based mass driver could be used to launch spacecraft away from Earth, the Moon, or another body. A small mass driver could be on board a spacecraft, flinging pieces of material into space to propel itself. Another variation would have a massive facility on a moon or asteroid send projectiles to assist a distant craft.

Miniaturized mass drivers can also be used as weapons in a similar manner as classic firearms or cannon using chemical combustion. Hybrids between coilguns and railguns such as helical railguns are also possible.

Read more about Mass DriverFixed Mass Drivers, Spacecraft-based Mass Drivers, Hybrid Mass Drivers, Mass Drivers As Weapons, Practical Attempts

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Mass Driver 1
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