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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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14 answers
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How could jet fighter development be delayed by about 15-17 years without impacting the development of piston engined aircraft?

Though it may sound similar, this is not a duplicate of this. The core difference is that the question there is limiting the development of all aircraft, but this is about limiting development of ...
OT-64 SKOT's user avatar
  • 4,476
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Amount of antimatter needed to propel large spacecraft?

Okay, So i'm not really into physics or mathematics but i'm trying my best to learn some bit of how the calculations needed for the amount of antimatter needed to propel a spacecrafft to relativistic ...
Ashimix's user avatar
  • 567
3 votes
4 answers
765 views

Is there a reason for Rocket-style vertical takeoff craft when you don't need to bring reaction mass?

Reactionless Drives? I have a sci-fi setting that takes place very far in the future. I like to think it tends toward the harder side of sci-fi, so I'm trying to minimize the number of Clarketechs (...
EldritchEntity's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
188 views

Maximum acceleration of minimally modified humans in acceleration fluid

I've been looking into viable accelerations for minimally modified humans in an acceleration-gel-type chamber. Minimally modified means no permanent or significant changes to the human body. Examples ...
chase leffers's user avatar
8 votes
10 answers
3k views

Could a supernova powered starship work/survive?

As in, it forces the star to undergo rapid nova/supernova by contracting the star. It then redirects the force of the nova/supernova out the back end, via ricocheting the force around the ship till it ...
Blue Skin and Glowing Red Eyes's user avatar
9 votes
9 answers
2k views

What is the best engine type for linear acceleration?

Linear Acceleration: A form of transit in space flight where a spacecraft points toward a destination and accelerates for half of the distance it needs to travel, then decelerates for the other half, ...
redfrogcrab's user avatar
  • 1,356
5 votes
4 answers
1k views

Mt. Everest Hyperloop- Reborn

In my previous question, I was discussing about the possibility of using a mass-driver on Mt. Everest, to propel payloads to space, and reduce the amount of fuel needed (RIP bulky rockets). A diagram ...
Alastor's user avatar
  • 3,402
2 votes
7 answers
1k views

With infinite propellant, would a solid offer more thrust than say a liquid or gas?

I've been refining the design and inner workings of my spaceships lately and one thing I've been asking myself was what propellant would work best. I needed my ships to travel astronomical distances ...
LiveInAmbeR's user avatar
  • 10.6k
6 votes
2 answers
557 views

Silent Ships: Can we Keep the Mer folk Happy?

Modern ships are loud. So loud in fact, that it is actively harming ocean life. Now, this alone is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. However, in my world the issue is compounded due to the ...
Seraphim's user avatar
  • 4,905
5 votes
3 answers
3k views

Would hoofed creatures bother with sails on their ships?

So I am working on a species of large quadrupedal sentient beings at a level of technology similar to 16th century Asia. Specifically I was trying to conjure up an image to what their sailing vessels ...
Jacob Badger's user avatar
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4 votes
11 answers
5k views

I designed a Mt. Everest Hyperloop. Do you see any issues with it? How can I improve it?

So, I designed a mass driver on Mt. Everest. The mass driver is powered by "PERMANENT" magnet rings with a strength of 5 teslas each (the black lines in the tube). The mass driver then ...
Alastor's user avatar
  • 3,402
4 votes
2 answers
114 views

Fusion Prevention Field - What Are the Plausible Mechanisms?

In my story, a group of human colonists are set to colonize a distant planet. But on their way there, the fusion drive on the ship stop functioning when they enter an uncharted system, and they crash ...
hklel's user avatar
  • 149
2 votes
3 answers
183 views

Does shoving matter between two portals generate thrust?

My sci-fi has alien ships coming carrying warp gates. I figured that this technology would have steppingstones and other possible applications. One of which was propulsion without losing mass. To ...
LiveInAmbeR's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
373 views

Is there any plausible way for a creature to fly in the way characters like superman does? [duplicate]

I'm making a superhero comic a little more grounded in reality. One of the characters in it is a genetically modified soldier who has abilities very similar to superman. How would such a character fly ...
Alex Sash's user avatar
  • 127
8 votes
11 answers
2k views

Is this concept for very low energy space travel plausible?

Humanity is on its last lap. A once great empire has been reduced to a single Dyson sphere around the dying sun, and most of the matter of the solar system has already been incorporated into this last ...
postis's user avatar
  • 91
6 votes
1 answer
230 views

Could an aircraft power its flight only by heating the air around it?

Your typical aircraft propels itself by expelling something, may it be air, combusted fuel or even ions. Would it be possible for an aircraft to do none of those things and simply heat the air around ...
LiveInAmbeR's user avatar
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-2 votes
4 answers
164 views

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 ...
SparkShredder's user avatar
4 votes
6 answers
488 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 ...
Fulano's user avatar
  • 209
5 votes
3 answers
120 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 ...
Simon Story's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
645 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 ...
TheDyingOfLight's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
428 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 ...
sirOrange17's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
252 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 ...
user73829's user avatar
  • 869
4 votes
3 answers
741 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 ...
FontFamily's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Ben Warner's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
173 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 ...
Epicgamermoment's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
109 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 ...
Ichthys King's user avatar
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-...
EldritchEntity's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
246 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 ...
TheDyingOfLight's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
205 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 ...
Justin Thyme the Second's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
136 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 ...
HerbertSnick's user avatar
17 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 ...
user1258361's user avatar
7 votes
8 answers
5k 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 ...
Dominik B's user avatar
  • 111
2 votes
2 answers
334 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 ...
I8myweedie5's user avatar
14 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 ...
rek's user avatar
  • 13.1k
2 votes
1 answer
216 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 ...
dozTK421's user avatar
  • 385
1 vote
2 answers
347 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 ...
CYCLOPSCORE's user avatar
  • 2,933
2 votes
1 answer
272 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 ...
Erik Hall's user avatar
  • 1,541
6 votes
3 answers
381 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 ...
Matthew's user avatar
  • 14.4k
7 votes
1 answer
387 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 ...
Din Gus The Graet's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
443 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". ...
Kronimiciad's user avatar
  • 2,611
1 vote
1 answer
78 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 ...
user avatar
31 votes
5 answers
7k 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?
Anixx's user avatar
  • 5,306
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 ...
MiltonTheMeme's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
192 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 ...
if9y4d's user avatar
  • 31
5 votes
4 answers
740 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 ...
Jem's user avatar
  • 567
2 votes
2 answers
99 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 ...
Hota Balti's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
855 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 ...
Greenie E.'s user avatar
  • 2,536
7 votes
2 answers
263 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 ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
  • 8,179