2 responses

  1. dobermanmacleod
    July 10, 2013

    And here I thought someone wised up and was going to institute this fuel-less rocket propulsion system that would be ideal for sending thousands of personal spacecraft (i.e. with PEOPLE in it) to the moon:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beam-powered_propulsion

    Beam-powered propulsion is a class of aircraft or spacecraft propulsion mechanisms that uses energy beamed to the spacecraft from a remote power plant to provide energy. Most designs are thermal rockets where the energy is provided by the beam, and is used to superheat propellant that then provides propulsion, although some obtain propulsion directly from light pressure acting on a light sail structure, and at low altitude heating air gives extra thrust.

    The beam would typically either be a beam of microwaves or a laser. Lasers are subdivided into either pulsed or continuous beamed.

    The rule of thumb that is usually quoted is that it takes a megawatt of power beamed to a vehicle per kg of payload while it is being accelerated to permit it to reach low earth orbit.

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