Home » News & Blogs » Future Tech: Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket
Bookmark and Share
All About Space

Future Tech: Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket

1 Feb 2019, 11:17 UTC
Future Tech: Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

High-speed VASIMRs would be nuclear powered, to provide high-thrust rapid trips for human transport.
Impressive as traditional chemical rockets are, blasting majestically off their launch pads on columns of flame, they aren’t very good. They can provide significant thrust for a short time, but because the energy source (chemical reactions) is combined with the reactive mass, chemical spacecraft would have to be impractically large to achieve short journey times anywhere in the Solar System. If we are to explore the planets and establish permanent colonies beyond Earth we need alternative in-space propulsion capable of delivering much higher speed in a practical package. In development for over a decade by former astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz and his team, the VASIMR, or Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket engine, might be what we need.
The most important attribute of a rocket system is Specific Impulse, or Isp, which is the amount of thrust you get per quantity of propellant burned. It is a measure of the efficiency of a rocket engine – confusingly it is measured in seconds, though it is not a time – and the bigger the value the better the rocket. The first large rocket engine, used in the German ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod