LDX Monthly Report
Dec 31, 2006


PREPARATIONS FOR FIRST FLIGHT

Preparations continue for the first flight of the Levitated Dipole
Experiment (LDX). This high-priority test is planned to occur during
the few couple of months in 2007.

In September, the second generation launcher system was tested with
full weight drop tests indicating accelerations near the 5g (6200 lb)
design point. The launcher, which retracts beyond the plasma's last
closed field lines during operation, is able to safely catch the
floating coil in the event of an unlikely loss of levitation control.

The new launcher has now been installed in the LDX vacuum vessel. This
installation represents the last major fabricated component required
for the upcoming levitation experiments.

We are also completing the installation of other minor components for
levitation control and safety. These items include:

-- Final installation of complete the laser position detection system.
Eight laser sight lines are located so as to be partially occluded by
a reflection band that is near to the top of the floating coil. Four
laser detection boxes have been installed and four more are now ready
for installation. The mounting hardware and cabling has been designed
to reduce vibration of the boxes and the noise levels of position
detectors.

Fig. 1. A newly-installed laser position detection box
containing two lasers and optical detectors mounted on pedestals that
attach to the LDX vacuum vessel.

The lower frame for the new upper catcher was installed into the
LDX vacuum chamber.
The upper launcher cage prevents excessive upwards
motion in the unlikely case of a upwards loss-of-control accident of
the floating coil. The upper launcher structure also contains four new
diamagnetic loops that increase the sensitivity of magnetic
measurements the larger plasma diamagnetic currents found in high
pressure discharges.

Fig. 2. Upper catcher frame mounted in vacuum
chamber. The new diamagnetic loops are also visible.

-- Charging coil boost system. A small (10 Amp) power supply has been
added to the charging coil to supply current so as to push upwards on
the floating coil providing flexibility in the operation of the
levitation coil during sustained levitation.


REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS

Jay Kesner attended the 21st IAEA Conference of Plasma Physics and
Controlled Nuclear Fusion in Chengdu, China and presented a paper
entitled "Retractable Helium Transfer Lines For The Floating Fusion
Magnet".

Submitted to Nuclear Fusion: "First Experiments to Test Plasma
Confinement by a Magnetic Dipole", J. Kesner, et al.

Submitted to Physical Review Letters: "Stabilization of Low frequency
Instability in a Dipole Plasma", D. T. Garnier, et al.