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A (much) deeper look at electric propulsion

11 Mar 2016, 22:24 UTC
A (much) deeper look at electric propulsion
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I need to continue on the topic of electric propulsion. The previous post was a lot of words but not a lot of meat. I felt it was too weak to stand alone, particularly as a part of this series where I am trying to focus on a realistic near-term plan for cargo transport. If you are interested in more background information I'd start with the Wikipedia page on electric propulsion and follow up with a look at the Atomic Rockets engine page. Another good look in the context of interplanetary travel is this paper (Hellin), while a deep look at relevant equations can be had in this paper (Keaton).One interesting result is a rule of thumb to find required thrust given average acceleration. Google failed me on finding an exact solution, but it looks like there is a simple approach that is within 1% of the target value.I eventually settled on a design massing 33.4 tons, 1.6 MW solar-electric, Isp 6,000 and 40 N thrust using PIT thrusters with water propellant.More after the break. Let's look at an electric tug with payload comparable to my reference tug, both a solar PV and a nuclear version. The main routes for ...

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