For a science fiction novel I'm currently writing...
The spacecraft in question is based in the asteroid belt and is not designed to approach a planet. The ship has an offensive/defensive capability and would need to be able to manoeuvre effectively in combat.
The timeframe is within the next two hundred years.
Additionally, it would need to be able to refuel easily within the asteroid belt.
With this in mind, I aim to equip the ship with magnetoplasmadynamic ion drives. My understanding is that they can operate using a hydrogen or ammonia fuel, which should be easily replenishable in the asteroid belt, and would be powered by a nuclear power source.
But an MPD ion drive does not produce much acceleration.
My question: What kind of drive might I use to provide rapid acceleration (in combination with an MPD drive) for combat situations, or to evade an enemy?
Ideally using hydrogen as a fuel (or something else obtainable in the asteroid belt without needing much refinement) and powered by electricity.
I know that chemical engines would be able to produce the acceleration, but use lots of fuel. If I need to use them, I will. But an alternative would be very welcome.
I don't have much of a background in science, but would like to accurately portray the drive system of the ship (in broad brush strokes at least).
By all means, comments on MPD drives are welcome too.