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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Space Drives (Sci Fi Engines, and possible non fiction engines.)
Space Drives
BlueplanetDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 07:45 | Message # 1
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So a big question today is what will retire chemical LOX, Liquid Oxygen, Liquid Hydrogen rocket engines and take over to deep interstellar flight. Could it be long static thrust engines like Plasma Drives, or Jump dives like Mass effect 3. I found a really cool site that list all the possible drives. Some examples are under Plasma Drives
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist.php

Hall Effect Thrusters (HET) (hundred-plus flown)
Arcjets (dozens flown)
Ion thrusters (dozens flown)
Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPT) (a few flown)
Magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters (MPD) (many ground tests)
Microwave electrothermal thrusters (some ground tests)
Field Emission Electrostatic Propulsion (some ground tests)
Pulsed Inductive Thrusters (PIT) (few ground tests)
VASIMR (none built, much analysis)
M2P2 (none built, some analysis)

I remember playing mass effect 2 and 3. The gate that bridges two points that causes a spacecraft to jump from one solar system to another is called a Quantum Singularity drive. In which to points in space bend to one point called the Singularity point using Negative Energy which is purely hypothetical obviously. This same concept is somewhat similar to Star gate Series. However in the Stargate Series they use ZPM which in reality closely mimics Zero Pointer Energy. ZPE can be described in Quantum Field Theory equations and Quantum Vacuum. There could be limitless energy where nothing exist in space due to Virtual Particles.

And i don't want to forget the most important which is quantum teleportation. smile





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Edited by Blueplanet - Monday, 05.11.2012, 20:10
 
AerospacefagDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 12:33 | Message # 2
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I can't remember how many times we discussed these articles on our forum(mostly in Russian part), however, I can say, these were discussions about more distant future. In summary, of all more-or-less realistic concepts, thermonuclear engine seems to be most effective.

But here I'd like to present something from my sources that could be interesting to everyone - a newest project of nuclear engine from Russian state corporation "Rosatom". It's featuring solid-core system based on fast-neutron reactor, which will be implemented for interplanetary flights.


Attachments: 1078309.jpg(592Kb) · 2754441.jpg(88Kb)


Edited by Aerospacefag - Monday, 05.11.2012, 12:39
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 12:40 | Message # 3
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Quote (Aerospacefag)
But here I'd like to present something from my sources that could be interesting to everyone - a newest project of nuclear engine from Russian state corporation "Rosatom".

I can't read the Russian writing, but the design looks like a nuclear thermal rocket similar to the earlier American NERVA engine (which never should have been discontinued, it was a good engine and had finished its development and passed all tests).





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AerospacefagDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 12:54 | Message # 4
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HarbingerDawn, yeah, similar projects from Cold-War era weren't very successful, but that is because they mostly aimed for Earth-to-space transportation. But I'm sure that these affairs will be slowly migrating to the aerospace planes and shuttles - not like Space Shuttle but rather like Skylon project.

Module characteristics:

  • Gas-cooling reactor
  • 1000 kW of electric power
  • 3500 kW of thermal poser
  • exhaust temperature about 1800 K

Plus it has electrical rocket engines (4 blocks of 4 round objects on the picture).

Attachments: 9854000.jpg(577Kb)


Edited by Aerospacefag - Monday, 05.11.2012, 12:55
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 13:11 | Message # 5
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Quote (Aerospacefag)
similar projects from Cold-War era weren't very successful, but that is because they mostly aimed for Earth-to-space transportation

NERVA was actually very successful, it was ready to fly in space, the only reason it didn't was because it was meant specifically to support a manned Mars mission, and congress wanted to end the Space Race and stop spending money so when the Mars program was canceled, NERVA was canceled, even though it was very successful and had a lot of government support. A waste of a perfectly great engine, in my opinion.

NERVA was meant to be used for upper stage engines and for rocket systems for transporting people between Earth/Moon/Mars.

Quote (Aerospacefag)
exhaust temperature about 1800 K

I think NERVA was over 2000 K smile

Quote (Aerospacefag)
Plus it has electrical rocket engines (4 blocks of 4 round objects on the picture).

So it is both a nuclear thermal AND nuclear electric rocket? Excellent, I like that design!





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BlueplanetDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 16:00 | Message # 6
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The biggest problem with even the most advance rockets that have been tested like Plasma Drives, and even nuclear drives, is that they do not produce a high enough static thrust and the exit velocity is not high enough. To get to some of the closest stars like barnard star(known to possibly have a gas giant) which is 6 light years away, you would have to do a speed of about 65 million miles an hour. Even then it would take over 9 years or so. At those speeds if you hit something as small as grain of sand, your ship would blow up. At those speeds are you are going about 18,055 Miles a second which is about 9.7 Percent of the Speed of light. The only thing I have heard that can produce an exit velocity for those speeds would be Anti Matter engines. However there are some major complication in trying to keep Anti Matter stored for long periods of times.




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Edited by Blueplanet - Monday, 05.11.2012, 16:12
 
BatbombDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 17:54 | Message # 7
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I once heard of the idea to ignite A-Bombs in order to make the ship faster and faster, which would nearly allow light speed. Could that really work???
 
BlueplanetDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 20:22 | Message # 8
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Quote (Batbomb)
to ignite A-Bombs
Your talking about the Orion. American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist.php#id--Orion

Check that out smile





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Edited by Blueplanet - Monday, 05.11.2012, 20:45
 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 21:19 | Message # 9
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This is a nice read about what NASA is really doing with the warp drive idea.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive....932.pdf

Its a bit complex but its quite intriguing.

And on a kind of related note

And from the same Eric Davis
http://www.earthtech.org/publications/davis_STAIF_conference_1.pdf





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smjjamesDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 21:21 | Message # 10
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Quote (Blueplanet)
Quote (Batbomb)
to ignite A-Bombs
Your talking about the Orion. American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist.php#id--Orion

Check that out smile


Only thing though is that this treaty was made where countries can't put nukes into orbit (as in permanent orbit) around Earth, any celestial body, or in space in general. So, you can't do a ship which is propelled by nuclear explosions.





 
BlueplanetDate: Monday, 05.11.2012, 23:59 | Message # 11
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@DocktorofSpace, There is still a lot that has to be understood about Quantum Mechanics before other theories like, ZPE, Dark Energy could be possible directly tested. Quantum Mechanics and Classical Mechanics mathmatical equation are correct however, they do not talk to each other. And its very difficult to explain things at the quantum level. In real life there has been an amazing discovery called "Casimir effect". The Casimir effect is where two uncharged metal plates are placed in a vacuum only a few micron from each other. In a quantum electrodynamic vacuum, scientist can see that Virtual particle are effected in this region and create a small netfoce. This study is calculated in Quantum Field Theory. Scientist describe this region of space with interconnected vibrating balls and springs, and the strength of the field can be visualized as the displacement of a ball from its rest position. In this region Quantum field theory says that each various fundamental fields, such as the electromagnetic field, must be quantized at each and every point in space. We can only see the indirect effects of negative energy however, not directly.

The biggest drive in my opinion that would push engineers to create the sci fi type engines that we see in games, and movies to reality, would be to find a planet with a high probability of life. Space is so big that even with anti matter engines it would still take 10 or more years to get to the nearest star.





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Edited by Blueplanet - Tuesday, 06.11.2012, 00:04
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Tuesday, 06.11.2012, 00:22 | Message # 12
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Quote (Blueplanet)
I once heard of the idea to ignite A-Bombs in order to make the ship faster and faster, which would nearly allow light speed. Could that really work???

Yes. There was a type of manned vessel designed using then-current technology called Orion, which used nuclear pulse propulsion.

A nuclear pulse propulsion system is where you eject small nuclear explosives out the back of the vessel. The shape of the explosive charges focuses most of the explosion energy towards the vessel. On the back of the vessel there is a large flat plate, called a pusher plate. The impact of the explosion energy on the pusher plate, after being distributed through a complex shock absorbing system, accelerates the ship forward. There would be one pulse per second, and the acceleration (if I remember correctly) would be about 1g (I may be wrong about that part). The ship would be capable of reaching speeds of a few percent of the speed of light, or maybe even up to 0.1c, I don't remember.

Quote (Blueplanet)
is that they do not produce a high enough static thrust and the exit velocity is not high enough

Static thrust does not matter, only delta-V matters.

Quote (Blueplanet)
To get to some of the closest stars like barnard star(known to possibly have a gas giant) which is 6 light years away, you would have to do a speed of about 65 million miles an hour

No, you would not have to go that fast. Even at one one-thousandth of that speed you could still reach Barnard's Star. The only thing is that going faster would get you there more quickly. But even if you went very slowly you could still reach it in thousands of years.

Quote (Blueplanet)
Even then it would take over 9 years or so. At those speeds if you hit something as small as grain of sand, your ship would blow up. At those speeds are you are going about 18,055 Miles a second which is about 9.7 Percent of the Speed of light.

Your math does not add up. How can you get to something 6 light years away in 9 years if you're not even moving at 0.1c? Shouldn't it take over 60 years? And at those speeds, you could design a system of protection for your vessel that could prevent major damage from impact with interstellar dust and gas. It would take something relatively large (and relatively uncommon in interstellar space) to cause a significant amount of damage.





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BlueplanetDate: Tuesday, 06.11.2012, 00:49 | Message # 13
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No, you would not have to go that fast. Even at one one-thousandth of that speed you could still reach Barnard's Star. The only thing is that going faster would get you there more quickly. But even if you went very slowly you could still reach it in thousands of years.


Well honestly i didn't do an exact math calculation but i just said that " 9 years or so." I am not the best at math however, in order to get there in our life time you would need to go at a speed equal or great to that.

When I said exit velocity i mean Delta-V. Yes it is important and static impulse is very important to for long flights in space.





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Edited by Blueplanet - Tuesday, 06.11.2012, 00:57
 
architeuthisDate: Tuesday, 06.11.2012, 10:18 | Message # 14
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It will be interesting to see if Russia is able to fund a new NTR design to completion. Alas it is a pity NERVA wasn't flown, I guess we got the space shuttle instead, as that was the terms of NASA's faustian bargain with President Nixon. NASA has continued doing some research into bimodal NTR as well as nuclear electric ever since the cancellation of the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter and Project Prometheus, but the funding is minuscule, and there is some opposition from the environment community.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Static thrust does not matter, only delta-V matters.

Unless your making a warship in which case thrust is important. Or you want to do Brachistochrone trajectories.
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Tuesday, 06.11.2012, 10:34 | Message # 15
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there is some opposition from the environment community.

I wish those people would educate themselves. These engines are 100% safe. On the final test of NERVA they ran the engine until it blew up, testing the worst case failure scenario, to see how much radiation was released. There was none, the reactor was contained perfectly in the catastrophic engine failure, exactly as designed. But they just see the word "nuclear" and automatically oppose it sad

Quote (architeuthis)
Unless your making a warship in which case thrust is important. Or you want to do Brachistochrone trajectories.

I didn't mean that thrust was ENTIRELY irrelevant. Just mostly. For the purposes of interstellar flight, as long as your engine has enough thrust to accelerate you to your target average speed by the time you are ¼ of the way there, then it is fine.





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