Well, it might not get us to Pluto and back in time for lunch, but NASA’s new engine designs sound promising indeed. Click the link below to learn more, readers and future writers!
NASA’s New Advanced Propulsion Engine Will Travel At 1 Million Miles Per Hour
Advanced propulsion breakthroughs are near. Spacecraft have been stuck at slow chemical rocket speeds for years and weak ion drive for decades. However, speeds over one million miles per hour before 2050 are possible. There are surprising new innovations with technically feasible projects. NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is funding two high potential concepts.
New ion drives could have ten times better in terms of ISP and power levels ten thousand times higher. Antimatter propulsion and multi-megawatt ion drives are being developed.
Gravitational acceleration can increase the speed of a spacecraft by many times. However, using the gravity of Jupiter and the Sun to get more speed waste a lot of time. The spacecraft take many months to go around the Sun and get speed before starting the real mission.
Multiple orbital refuelings of the SpaceX BFR at a high orbit can maximize the speed of the BFR. A fully fueled SpaceX BFR would shorten the one-way trip to Mars to as little as 40 days. A parabolic orbit would be used instead of a Hohmann transfer.
Space Missions to Mars have been small spacecraft. The entire mission was launched from Earth. This means most of the fuel was used to get the system off of the Earth. The final stage is tiny and slow.