Advanced Mobility Specialty Vehicles Designs Custom Trailer for Lightcraft Technologies

Advanced Mobility Specialty Vehicles, a leader in the design and manufacture of mobile medical, television broadcast and production, and specialty trailers, has delivered a custom-designed and -constructed mobile testlab trailer for Lightcraft Technologies, Inc. (LTI), headquartered in Bennington, Vermont. This Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) will be the home of a state-of-the-art beamed energy propulsion research laboratory and test flight launch command center.

“When I first noticed the ‘Advanced Mobility’ branding on a mobile MRI trailer parked outside a local hospital, I instinctively knew they were the kind of company with sufficient technical expertise to build a vehicle designed for the kind of high-power mm-wave propulsion research that we are pursuing,” said Leik Myrabo, President of Lightcraft Technologies, Inc. “There are only a few high-power microwave sources around the country, and our testing will be conducted in multiple dispersed and remote areas; therefore our research laboratory and flight test command center had to be a mobile unit. The bonus is that Advanced Mobility had the creative talent to design and put into an 8’ x 8’5” x 48’ trailer, not only what I had envisioned from a technical perspective, but also in terms of aesthetics and human-factors design, since our team would be spending 10 hour days in this trailer for weeks at a time over the next 6-9 months.”

The Lightcraft Technologies MTU trailer ultimately came to be a sophisticated, high-tech mobile facility designed to support two dissimilar functions: a research laboratory for conducting beamed millimeter-wave (mm-wave) propulsion experiments; and a launch command center for conducting actual outdoor test flights using remote, high-power beamed mm-wave sources.

The MTU had to be specially designed and constructed to satisfy all the legal and safety regulations for using and directing a mm-wave beam onto lab test articles. Some of these requirements include but are not limited to ensuring high-energy mm-wave beam containment (a Faraday cage) and dissipation within the Testlab Room; engine exhaust purging and noise attenuation in the Testlab Room; a separate Faraday cage (adjacent to the Testlab) for the Control Room/Command Center;  proper handling and storage of high-pressure gases such as helium, argon, nitrogen, and CO2; and safety interlocks on all essential MTU systems.

A total of six mm-wave beam entry points had to be constructed and installed, three for the curbside, and three for the other side. The mm-wave beam being used is 100x to 1,000x more powerful than the household microwave oven – i.e., up to 1 million watts To be used as a Launch Command Center, the MTU had to be designed and constructed to shield the test crew inside the MTU from incidental exposure to high-power mm-wave radiation while conducting outdoor flight tests of the beam propelled rocket vehicle prototypes planned for this Fall.

“This was the most challenging and creative project we have ever had the privilege to work on,” said Bob Bachman, President, Advance Mobility and Specialty Vehicles. “With our long history of building mobile magnetic and radiology vehicles, we were able to assure Leik and the departments of government he is working with, that we had the technical expertise needed to meet all of the safety regulations and functional design requirements.”

Advanced Mobility worked diligently to accommodate the requirements of Lightcraft Technologies and several government regulators, by developing the exact specifications for the trailer’s exterior shielding, emergency systems, an appropriate ergonomically designed interior, two Faraday cages, and a comfortable break-room facility. A custom 3-zone Air Conditioning Unit and Chiller System was also designed and installed, along with Lightcraft Technologies’ custom interior and exterior graphics.

“Advanced Mobility has successfully brought the MTU into reality, making all of us here at Lightcraft Technologies and the organizations we are working with, finally see what we had envisioned all along,” added Leik Myrabo. “On March 8, 2013, the MTU trailer rolled out of Advanced Mobility headed for San Diego and the final step in its construction: plasma spray coating of the Testlab interior walls, floor and ceiling with a 15-mill ceramic glaze of titanium dioxide, applied by Flame Spray, Inc. Armed with this formidable new research tool, the MTU, I believe the technological demonstration of beamed mm-wave launch propulsion will be within grasp in the not-so-distant future.”

The Advanced Mobility team built and delivered the new Mobile Testing Unit to Lightcraft Technologies in less than six months. Later this Fall, the MTU will be residing at a preeminent outdoor test range in New Mexico — hence the inspiration for its southwest interior design theme.

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