Author Topic: NASA's New Plasma Rocket Ready For Testing  (Read 90 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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GOP House members came to Paul Ryan to be Speaker. He didn't come to them. And he was everybody's conservative darling back in 2012. So unless 1 of the remaining 240 wants to step up & do a better job in budgeting & negotiations & herding the party cats, then everybody please STFU. You go to battle with the army you have, not the one you want but don't have.

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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.

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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.
GOP House members came to Paul Ryan to be Speaker. He didn't come to them. And he was everybody's conservative darling back in 2012. So unless 1 of the remaining 240 wants to step up & do a better job in budgeting & negotiations & herding the party cats, then everybody please STFU. You go to battle with the army you have, not the one you want but don't have.

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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
GOP House members came to Paul Ryan to be Speaker. He didn't come to them. And he was everybody's conservative darling back in 2012. So unless 1 of the remaining 240 wants to step up & do a better job in budgeting & negotiations & herding the party cats, then everybody please STFU. You go to battle with the army you have, not the one you want but don't have.

Kevin Davis


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