Superconductors in Space @ Ambient Temperature for Boost-Phase Missile Interception

W.C.W. Lau
LAU Superconductors,
United States

Keywords: Superconductors, Space, Boost-Phase Missile Defense, SDI, Star Wars, Interspace Transport, Spacecraft Docking, Space Debris


Superconductivity at ambient temperature in space (≈ 4°K) is theoretically possible, but has never been tried. Most space applications were for small scale instrumentation, sensors, or infrared telescopy where permanent magnets or cryocooled superconductors were sufficient. Large scale space superconductor use in active cosmic ray shielding to protect astronauts was modeled by the ESA, NASA Innovative Advance Concepts, and SR2S consortium, but was not demonstrated in space. ¨Demonstrating a Super Conducting Magnet in space would be a significant accomplishment, which could lead to a variety of applications.¨ Dr Ron Turner, Distinguished Analyst ANSER, Senior Scientist Consultant for NASA A demonstration will be justified a game changing, critically needed ¨Killer App¨ in Nuclear Deterrence: our innovative superconducting Space-Based Dipole Coilgun (SBDC) for Boost-Phase Ballistic and Hypersonic Missile Interception. ¨A viable boost phase defense has long been considered the “holy grail” of BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) . . .¨ Missile Defense Agency The SBDC also offers several commercial applications including: • Transporting Payloads from space to earth, and between spacecraft • Docking spacecraft with Magnetic Induction • Ejecting Space Debris to decaying and graveyard orbit The SBDC overcomes challenges facing magnetic guns: 1) no external electric switching as for standard coilguns by using self-switching projectiles, and 2) no excessive heat is generated as in railguns. The US Navy ended a 15 year $500 million railgun program which had been the world’s most advanced magnetic launcher. A challenge was heat from driving current down a single metal conductor, and junction friction from a moving projectile in the electric circuit. Superconductors were never considered. The SBDC is suitable for deployment in space because: 1) Magnetism is small and light: linear force, no explosions, no moving parts, less friction 2) Powered by sustainable solar panels: no fuel, rechargeable, infinite re-use, rapid repeat fire 3) Small, light, and self-sustainable enough for LEO satellites 4) Projectile velocities can be scaled higher with serial superconductor solenoids Competing ¨State-of-Art¨ satellite lasers for Reagan era Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) have not advanced much in 35 years. Our technology is at TRL 3 with Proof-of-Concept and Proof-of-Design achieved. Proof-of-Function for TRL 4 development is cheap.