Ordinarily cargo shipping capacity depends on the size of your fleet of expensive and difficult to construct cargo spacecraft. But with the inert cargo vessel techinque, the limit is only the number of cheap and easy to build ferrous cannisters you can build . This was a critical factor in Gerard O’Neill’s plan for L5 colonies, external mass drivers were located at lunar mining sites producing the raw materials for the colony. External Mass Drivers are used by starports to assist in launching spacecraft, and for inert cargo propulsion. Integral Mass Drivers are used as propulsion systems or as kinetic energy weapons. These well-known challenges have led to exploration of various types of ‘sail’ which use either the photons or the solar wind particles as an external source of momentum to harvest.
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And electrical power plants are costly in terms of system mass, which drastically cuts into payload mass. Nuclear fission power plants are lucky to have an alpha of 18 kilograms per kilowatt. Solar photovoltaic range from 100 down to not bad theoretical 1.4 kg/kW, with currently available arrays having an alpha of 16 to 10 kg/kW. However, the inverse square law makes the alpha rise above 10 kg/kW as it gets further from the Sun than Terra’s orbit.
5% improvement from Argon to Krypton, and 1.5% more from Krypton to Xenon. The real advantage is propellant density and https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dr-max-polyakov-purchases-majority-stake-in-dragonfly-aerospace-301277731.html more favorable melting point, since that can reduce structure mass and trumps the large price differences between the gasses. Ion thrusters can get 10 to 80 km/s exhaust velocity, 30 km/s is a typical exhaust velocity. That’s about 7 times as good as hydrogen/oxygen bipropellent which can do 4.4 km/s. It takes a looong burn to get the delta V. To get good acceleration, an ion propelled vehicle needs good alpha. In my opinion, 1 millimeter/second2 is doable with near future power sources.
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Most solid-core NTRs send the hydrogen propellant informative post right through the reactor to be heated. The hot propellant then jets out the exhaust nozzle to create thrust. In addition to augmenting the propulsion system, a similar system could tap off some percent of the augmenting power for use in other vehicle systems. This could reduce the need for other power systems and perhaps save weight as well as result in additional benefits. This may be a concept of interest for certain missions and vehicles. The factors discussed in this section are important considerations for this propulsion system.
This motor will not work, if only because the required switching speed cannot be achieved due to the loss of time for the propagation of the electric field along the conductors. And it is easy to check that it will have the order of the period at a frequency of 100 MHz (~ 10 nanoseconds). Self-induction in the circuits of conductors will also not allow switching currents much faster, as required by the principle of a field motor . Indeed, each conductor is part of a closed circuit that forms a circuit.
” Shatner said, realizing he was about to experience real-life space travel after decades of fictional intergalactic voyaging. William Shatner and other passengers are driven to the launch pad of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket Wednesday. It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation. The WIRED conversation illuminates how technology is changing every aspect of our lives—from culture to business, science to design. The breakthroughs and innovations that we uncover lead to new ways of thinking, new connections, and new industries.
The primary reason always given for this is environmental and occupational health concerns, for the development of the thrusters, the handling of the propellant during construction and launch, as well as the immediate environment of the spacecraft. Low Earth orbit is reachable from the surface of the Earth in eight minutes, and geosynchronous orbit—the beginning of HEO—is reachable within eight hours. The proximity of LEO and HEO to the seven billion people on Earth and their associated economic activity is a strong indication that cislunar space will become the future economic home of humankind. In the architecture described here, raw material is slowly delivered to HEO over time via a fleet of regolith-processing, electrostatically-propelled vehicles; by contrast, humans arrive quickly to HEO from Earth. The variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket is a plasma drive with the amusing ability to “shift gears.” This means it can trade exhaust velocity for thrust and vice versa.
In addition, radiationhardened power electronic systems for PMAD or PPUs at megawatt electric power levels have never been developed. Existing thruster concepts such as Hall thrusters and ion thrusters can meet Isp and efficiency requirements, but thruster power levels must increase by an order of magnitude compared to current and near-term solar electric propulsion flight systems. System lifetimes and reliability are poorly understood at megawatt electric power levels.