Questions tagged [propulsion]

For questions about the process of moving an object forward by applying force, especially in the context of moving flying vehicles or spacecraft by applying thrust.

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Nuclear Propulsion System [closed]

Is it plausible to: Have a huge nuclear powered aircraft carrier to be propelled by H2-O2 rocket engine (size adjust) where you generate both reactants from sea water through Electrolysis. What would ...
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4 votes
5 answers
243 views

For how much and for how long would a "Closed Cycle Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine" generate thrust for a floating ship?

Context/TLDR: The "Closed Cycle Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine" is just a big nuclear steam engine that in this specific case, uses the (non radioactive) water steam to stay in air, at the ...
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5 votes
3 answers
90 views

Moving Ceres to a new home?

Is it possible to use Ceres is a generational garden ship? The idea would be to tunnel out a Stanford torus like set-up under the regolith in the ice layer around the equator: underground but ...
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6 votes
1 answer
584 views

Industrial scale Tritium production from Helium3?

Currently Tritium is produced by neutron bombardment of Lithium. I was looking into alternatives and learned that Helium3 has a rather large cross section for reacting with thermal neutrons. From what ...
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3 votes
3 answers
275 views

Is a Nuclear Thermal Propelled Submarine Possible?

So I've recently read about NTR's and how they can be applied in space. Here is a link to the website that I've looked at: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist2.php#ntrsolidcore It ...
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3 votes
2 answers
171 views

How could I make an ion engine work within an atmosphere?

I’m trying to think of a way to explain how the ion engines in Star Wars ships are able to work within an atmosphere. Ion engines can only work in a vacuum, and don’t have the proper thrust to take ...
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  • 849
4 votes
3 answers
257 views

The demise of the Bussard ramjet. Long live the Bussard ramjet. Can we save it @ Worldbuilding?

Robert Bussard's ramjet, as featured in Tau Zero and most recently noted by Carl Sagan in Cosmos, may be dead. In 1960, Bussard proposed a space propulsion system that relied on a nuclear electric ...
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0 votes
1 answer
714 views

How hard scifi is a graviton gravity drive?

What if, hypothetically, gravitons could be captured and stored. Then, a beam of gravitons is projected in front of the ship, each individual graviton not having much pull, but together, warping space ...
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1 vote
1 answer
140 views

Realistic sublight propulsion [closed]

I was wondering if there was a realistic propulsion method that needs at most the power output of a fusion reactor which can be small enough to fit on a personal spacecraft, is efficient enough to do ...
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3 votes
2 answers
89 views

Does it make sense to put solid propellant in a funnel?

A particular spacecraft engine is designed to work with a propellant made up of very dense dust. If this engine was on a ship that was designed for constant acceleration through space, would there be ...
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15 votes
8 answers
2k views

Decelerating a relativistic, beam-powered starship at its destination without pre-established power-beaming infrastructure at said destination

Some background As most of us know, accelerating to relativistic speeds requires truly astronomical amounts of energy. I have internalized that a ship carrying enough energy/fuel to accelerate to near-...
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3 votes
5 answers
202 views

Asteroid/comet deflection: Will a stream of nukes work?

Imagine you want to change the course of an asteroid quickly. You have huge resources at your disposal. What is the best way to move an asteroid quickly? Consider different compositions, chiefly solid ...
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3 votes
4 answers
172 views

How can high PeV particles from galactic accelerators be used to propel a spaceship?

The Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory, or LHAASO, in China has just detected an extremely high energy particle from some unknown particle accelerator in the galaxy, 140 times more powerful ...
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5 votes
3 answers
119 views

Decent present or near future propulsion system for moving around in orbit or changing orbits

For the world I am constructing, I trying to come up with a spacecraft that could be reasonably be built with present or near future technology that could travel around and change orbits relatively ...
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14 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is it possible to make a "safe" electromagnetic "jet engine" using extremely long wavelengths?

Here's the idea: Building a "jet fighter" that can operate in extended combat conditions with no atmosphere without losing air superiority in atmosphere. It's not going to have both ...
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7 votes
8 answers
4k views

Could a jet engine that uses water as fuel work?

Could a jet engine that uses water work? The idea is that water is sucked in, compressed, and boiled instantly by a dozen mirror focused industrial grade lasers. The resulting super heated gases would ...
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  • 111
2 votes
2 answers
246 views

How can you create non-centripetal artificial gravity and apply it to propel a spacecraft by riding the gravitational space time warp?

I like the idea that it is possible to use the warping of spacetime as a propelling force to move spacecraft through an independent non-centripetal artificial gravity drive. This drive uses the ...
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13 votes
11 answers
2k views

Orientation of a cylindrical habitat/ship in transit

Assume you have an inhabited O'Neill or McKendree-style cylindrical habitat or ship designed to move between star systems—not unlike Rama. What are the major advantages and disadvantages of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
138 views

Realistic acceleration with Laser Propulsion for intra-stellar 1 million ton cargo ship

My question is about how realistic it is to imagine beamed solar energy accelerating a 1M ton or so vessel up to 600km/s or more within a few hours. I can look up the specific energy required to ...
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  • 375
1 vote
2 answers
265 views

Would a Micro Black Hole locked in Mirror Storage have a felt weight?

I understand that Black Holes, even the small ones, are very dense and heavy. Even a micro black hole will probably weigh as much as a skyscraper, a few million tonnes. I then saw a starship ...
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  • 2,855
2 votes
1 answer
191 views

How dangerous would a Stelaser be?

So assuming the following, a Stelaser is build that can, at max, push a Ship with a Mass of 3 Megatons at 2G for several weeks if need be. Needless to say, that's a stupidly powerful and concentrated ...
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5 votes
3 answers
232 views

What is the limit of acceleration of a gravity drive?

Let's say I have a device that can produce an area of artificial gravity. Never mind how, or what universe-rending effects this has; I flip a switch, and the gravitational gradient in the drive's area ...
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  • 14.1k
7 votes
1 answer
361 views

Is a Solar Jet possible?

A "Solar Jet" in my imagination would be a thruster that collects solar wind with magnetic fields, charges the particles, then expels those charged particles through a nozzle. It could be ...
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2 votes
4 answers
407 views

Reasonableness of Micropiles

In a few of Isaac Asimov's stories, including The Martian Way, he uses water as a reaction mass to provide sub-light travel, and he mentions that the water is heated using "micropiles". ...
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1 vote
1 answer
62 views

How far off the ground would an android have to hover to not cause damage with their ionic thruster(s)?

If a humanoid robot or other similar weight and sized robots used ionic thrusters on their feet/base of their body to fly and hover along the ground, how far would they need to hover from the ground ...
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29 votes
5 answers
6k views

What is the maximum size of a planet that a chemical rocket can leave it?

I encountered sci-fi stories about planets of the twice the mass of Earth, and the characters were able to leave them in spaceships. I wonder, whether it is possible at all?
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  • 4,744
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Could you create a space craft that is powered by neutrinos mostly?

I was thinking whether neutrinos (or antineutrinos) could be used to propel space craft. This is because neutrinos are plentiful in the universe. What if neutrinos could interact through the weak ...
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3 votes
3 answers
144 views

Plausible propulsion methods given a virtually infinite electric power source

Humanity discovered a new energy source, virtually infinite, that can produce gigawatts of electric power using devices of few kilograms. Land and sea transport obviously will switch to electric ...
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5 votes
4 answers
521 views

Fusion- or antimatter-powered propulsion: Which one will we likely develop first?

In terms of scientific and engineering challenges, which one is closer to fruition? Specifically I am looking for the feasibility of using one of these systems for space-only travel between the orbits ...
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  • 557
2 votes
2 answers
67 views

Plausibility and possible applications of an antimatter-catalyzed nuclear pulse propulsion system? [closed]

How far are we today from using the technique of using microgram quantities of antimatter (say, antihydrogen) to catalyze a reaction in a sub-critical mass of fissile material for the purpose of ...
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8 votes
1 answer
821 views

Usability of fusion scoops in deep space?

How effective would it be to use fusion scoops as an actually effective method of interstellar travel? How quickly could you generate thrust? How much fuel would such a thing need, and would it work ...
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  • 2,556
6 votes
2 answers
184 views

Help cooling living H$_2$ fueled pulse jet engine

A squid-like organism uses gravity powered flight but relies on jet propulsion for launch, pouncing, and evasive tactics. It’s aerodynamically based on the way a true squid flies however it has ...
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