VASIMIR thought experinment

  • Thread starter aquitaine
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Ok, so we've all been hearing about the VASIMIR in recent years. If we were to use something like that to lift something off of the Earth (like or rocket or horizontally like a jet), how much power would it need? I'm guessing an order of magnitude more than the 200kW version currently being developed for space only purposes.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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VASIMR has high specific impulse and therefore low thrust to power ratio. To lift a meager 1 ton spacecraft off the surface of the planet, you need thrust of 10^4 newton. Assuming specific impulse of 3000 s (exhaust velocity 30 km/s, on the low end for VASIMR), you need W = T*v/2 = 15 megawatt.
 

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