1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

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.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook