Author Topic: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing  (Read 367 times)

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Offline kevindavis

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NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« on: August 11, 2017, 08:54:43 PM »

Most of today's rockets are chemical rockets, which means they propel themselves through space by combining certain chemicals in a way that makes them explosive. Chemical rockets are heavy and fast-burning, which is great for getting off the surface of Earth, but less great for long voyages to the outer solar system.


For these longer trips, NASA is looking at using a new type of rocket: the plasma rocket.


NASA awarded a contract to the company Ad Astra back in 2015 to build a plasma rocket, and that rocket is rapidly approaching readiness. The company has been running several short tests of the engine and is preparing for a longer, 100-hour test. Once that happens sometime next year, the rocket engine will be closer to real missions.


The plasma rocket, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), works by heating neon or argon gas to incredibly high temperatures using magnetic fields. That hot plasma is then fired out of the back of the rocket at very high speeds, providing thrust.


The plasma rocket has an advantage over traditional chemical propellants in that it can provide a small amount of thrust over a very long time, such as days, weeks, or months. Longer burn times mean the rocket needs less fuel, and less fuel means the rocket can carry more cargo. Of course, longer burn times also means longer travel times, but when you're just ferrying around supplies a few extra weeks or months isn't too important.


In addition to carrying cargo, plasma rockets could be used to send spacecraft to distant targets more quickly. Plasma rockets could enable us to reach Jupiter, Saturn, or more distant targets in a year or two instead of the better part of a decade, which could mean more missions to the outer solar system.


In a few short years, plasma might be propelling us around the solar system.


Source: http://www.isn-news.net/2017/08/nasas-new-plasma-rocket-ready-for.html
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Offline kevindavis

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To Clear things up...

Mueller has been one of the most respected individuals on the planet over the last 20 years.

Mueller is a Republican

Mueller was appointed by Republicans

Mueller doesn't determine if someone is guilty, The Judge and Jury do!

Get it!!!!

“You can go to live in France, but you can't become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany, but you can't become a German... But anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.”

- Ronald Reagan

Offline Cripplecreek

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 11:11:49 PM »
Now we need lots of thrust over long periods of time.

Offline kevindavis

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 05:01:21 PM »
Now we need lots of thrust over long periods of time.


Yep.. It is only a matter of time in when the Chemical rockets are obsolete.
To Clear things up...

Mueller has been one of the most respected individuals on the planet over the last 20 years.

Mueller is a Republican

Mueller was appointed by Republicans

Mueller doesn't determine if someone is guilty, The Judge and Jury do!

Get it!!!!

“You can go to live in France, but you can't become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany, but you can't become a German... But anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.”

- Ronald Reagan

Offline the_doc

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 05:43:34 PM »

Yep.. It is only a matter of time in when the Chemical rockets are obsolete.

Thanks for the interesting article, @kevindavis!

Offline EC

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 06:01:04 PM »
Looking forward to the 100 hour test results on this. Some of the shorter tests, IIRC, have hinted that the engine is significantly more efficient than originally thought.
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Offline kevindavis

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 06:01:57 PM »
Thanks for the interesting article, @kevindavis!


Your welcome @the_doc
To Clear things up...

Mueller has been one of the most respected individuals on the planet over the last 20 years.

Mueller is a Republican

Mueller was appointed by Republicans

Mueller doesn't determine if someone is guilty, The Judge and Jury do!

Get it!!!!

“You can go to live in France, but you can't become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany, but you can't become a German... But anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.”

- Ronald Reagan

Offline Joe Wooten

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2017, 08:59:54 PM »
Nuclear thermal with a dual cycle is the answer. To get out of or into planetary orbits, use the high thrust  mode. Once your ship is past escape velocity, then switch the reactor over to closed cycle for electricity production and power up the VASIMIR.

Offline kevindavis

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2017, 10:01:03 PM »
Nuclear thermal with a dual cycle is the answer. To get out of or into planetary orbits, use the high thrust  mode. Once your ship is past escape velocity, then switch the reactor over to closed cycle for electricity production and power up the VASIMIR.


But the anti nuke in space crowd will find a way to stop it.
To Clear things up...

Mueller has been one of the most respected individuals on the planet over the last 20 years.

Mueller is a Republican

Mueller was appointed by Republicans

Mueller doesn't determine if someone is guilty, The Judge and Jury do!

Get it!!!!

“You can go to live in France, but you can't become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany, but you can't become a German... But anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.”

- Ronald Reagan

Offline Elderberry

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2017, 08:28:44 AM »

Offline Joe Wooten

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2017, 10:29:52 PM »

But the anti nuke in space crowd will find a way to stop it.

Maybe in the US and Europe, but not China or India........Russia is a walking corpse, They'll never get farther than LEO.

Offline Joe Wooten

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2017, 10:30:45 PM »

Offline Free Vulcan

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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2017, 10:44:30 PM »
Full impulse Mr. Sulu.
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Re: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2017, 10:52:17 PM »
NASA needs to get back in the space business. Most of the NASA budget is going to subsidize the Russian space industry.The U.S. has paid Russia $3.4 billion for rides on its Soyuz rocket, NASA could have saved $1 billion of that if it had met its original goal of flying human missions in 2015.It makes me wonder whether they are serious about a home grown space program and will continue sending unmanned craft into space or continue their privatization to companies like SpaceX.


http://www.businessinsider.com/astronaut-cost-per-soyuz-seat-2016-9
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 11:08:24 PM by Mad Max »


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