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Comparison of advanced propulsion concepts for deep space explorationEquations and charts are presented that permit rapid estimation of propulsion-system performance requirements for some typical deep-space missions. A number of advanced propulsion concepts for which performance estimates are available are compared with respect to their capability for flyby, rendezvous, and roundtrip planetary missions. Based on these estimates, the gas-core nuclear fission rocket and the pulsed fusion rocket yield the fastest trip times to the near planets. For round trips to Jupiter and beyond, the controlled fusion rocket shows progressively superior capabilities. Several propulsion concepts based on use of impinging laser beams are found to be noncompetitive with the other advanced concepts for deep space missions. Requirements for attainment of interstellar distances within a human lifetime are found to be some orders of magnitude beyond the capabilities of any propulsion concepts for which performance estimates are now possible.
Document ID
19720024129
Document Type
Other - NASA Technical Note (TN)
Authors
Moeckel, W. E. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 2, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1972
Subject Category
PROPULSION SYSTEMS
Report/Patent Number
E-6798
NASA-TN-D-6968
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 112-28
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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