The plasma drive is intended to work by using electric power to blast hydrogen reaction mass from its rocket nozzles at a much greater velocity than normal chemically-fuelled rockets can achieve. This means that the carrying spacecraft gets a lot more acceleration or deceleration from a given amount of fuel, and so can potentially make interplanetary journeys in much shorter times. Another potential application seen for VASIMR is maintenance of the space station's orbit, without the need to burn off colossal amounts of chemical rocket fuel.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
NASA chief: ISS tests for super plasma space drive