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Fission space propulsion

  1. Jul 22, 2016 #1
    Hello I'm working on a project to create spacecraft engines that use fission to produce thrust. I will be coming up with many equations and I wanted to have them checked. If you could review them and give me some feedback that would be great. Here is the first equation that describes how the fission produces force:


    where: em - mass of energy released
    ea - acceleration of energy released
    sc - mass of spacecraft
    sca - acceleration of spacecraft
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The units of this equation do not work.

    F(propellant) = F(spacecraft) or ma(propellant) = ma (spacecraft).

    (em*ea)/sc=sca would be more appropriate, but that's too simplistic. This is only an equivalence and does not describe how fission produces thrust, rather it only describes the acceleration of a spacecraft assuming some thrust from a fission system. In order to describe thrust, one must show the change in momentum of the propellant and the mass flow rate of the propellant.
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