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VASIMIR thought experinment

  1. Mar 1, 2010 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2010 #2
    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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