Can pulsed ntr be a good torch drive. Atomic rocket says that with some development it can be a low end torch ship. Suppose extraction of hot fission fragment is possible and and also better cooling systems are used, can it be a better torch drive then? If yes what can be the expacted performance and pulse rate.
closed as off-topic by chasly from UK, 011358 smell, Gryphon, F1Krazy, Renan Feb 10 at 19:37
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
- "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – chasly from UK, 011358 smell, Gryphon, F1Krazy, Renan
I am assuming that by 'torch rocket' you mean an inertial mass rocket. That is, one that propels the ship forward by ejecting inertial mass rearword.
You have not specified a time frame, so any answer would be different for today (the technology is not developed enough, and since it is not yet optimized your questions can not be answered), 'tomorrow' (maybe, if there is a breakthrough in development, but again the parameters would be so drastically altered that your questions can not be answered about future technology), or the future (unlikely, except for maybe small ships that are not pressed for time - that is, travel time that is measured in decades, not years). The main issue with these drives will be that very large mass spaceships will require a lot of inertial mass propellant for significant delta-v changes over a short time, even IF the inertial mass is ejected at very high velocities.
Yet I DO see a future for such rockets as maneuvering jets, for minor course corrections and docking steering thrusters at space stations, where large delta-v changes are not required (essentially the same velocity, just a different direction). However, these thrusters would use optimized technology much more advanced than we currently have, and therefore your questions on pulse rate and thrust can not be answered.
However, there is another way to generate forward momentum besides inertial mass ejection propulsion. Consider surfers, sailboats, gliders, and swings. They all generate forward momentum WITHOUT ejecting inertial mass. Surfers use gravitational changes and the energy in the water wave itself. Sailboats use the power in the wind. Gliders use pressure difference between the top and bottom of the wing and control surface. Swings do it by using mechanical energy to utilize gravitational forces and changes in gravitational balance to gain momentum. Methinks the propulsion system of the future will use non-inertial-mass-ejection techniques that haven't been thought of yet, rather than having to carry huge quantities of reaction mass.
I once had a washing machine walk five feet (until the cord pulled out) across the laundry room floor, simply because the load was unbalanced. Yes, these systems still need ENERGY, but they do not require inertial ejection mass.
Also, gravity is a strange beast, and when we humans finally get past the notion of gravity as a 'distortion of the spacetime continuum', or a 'gravity well', we might actually get somewhere that allows us to start harnessing it effectively as a 'delta-momentum system'.