Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 801371, 12 pages
Research Article

Theoretical and Numerical Studies of Dynamic Scaling of a Six-Degree-of-Freedom Laser Propulsion Vehicle

Department of Aerospace Engineering, Tohoku University, 6-6-01 Aramaki-Aza-Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8579, Japan

Received 18 November 2014; Accepted 3 February 2015

Academic Editor: Roger L. Davis

Copyright © 2015 Masayuki Takahashi and Naofumi Ohnishi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To estimate the flight reactions of a full-scale vehicle from reduced-scale tests, we constructed a scaling theory for the vehicle size, input energy, moment of inertia, and pulse frequency needed to maintain dynamic equivalence between a laboratory-scale and full-scale launch of a laser propulsion vehicle. The dynamic scaling law for a single pulse was constructed using translational and angular equations of motion. The analytical scaling was confirmed for a single-pulse incident using a fluid-orbit coupling simulator for the interaction between the blast wave and the vehicle. Motion equivalence was maintained for multiple pulses by adjusting the repetition frequency of the pulse incident to correct for the effect of aerodynamic drag during the free flight of the pulse-to-pulse interval. The flight of a full-scale vehicle can be estimated for single- and multiple-pulse operations from the flight data for a small-scale vehicle using the proposed scaling theory, which provides correlations between the characteristics of small-scale and large-scale flight systems. Small-scale tests were shown to be useful in estimating the flight of a full-scale vehicle using dynamic scaling theory.