Thursday, April 11, 2013

John Schilling - Advanced (Non-Rocket) Propulsion Systems

John Schilling - Advanced (Non-Rocket) Propulsion Systems 
(Anything but rockets)

Rockets are the best for getting up to low-earth-orbit(LEO).  Once get to LEO there are several options.

Electric Propulsion

There are off the shelf components.  The power supply weighs a lot more than the Electric Propulsion systems.

John shared some graphs.  He showed pictures of two thrusters: Hall & Ion Thrusters.  There are some High Power Electric Propulsion systems.  And there are some Micropropulsion systems.

The limiting factor right now is Electric Power.  Typically go with solar.  The cost is excessive, around one million to three million dollars per kW.

Aerobraking / Aerocapture  -  Very useful, but not all easy.

Nuclear  -  Issues with the government

Tethers - Cover the basics of rotating tethers used to throw objects.

Solar Sailing

Can turn light pressure into thrust.  Some tricky navigational issues - light is always coming from the sun.  Nice to have zero propellant consumption.  There have been a few experiments to sale.

John reviewed some integration issues.

The full agenda for Space Access 2013 agenda.

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