A Reaction Drive Powered by External Dynamic Pressure

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J. R. Greason (2019), JBIS, 72, pp.146-152

Refcode: 2019.72.146
Keywords: Propulsion, Reaction drive, Solar wind, External power, Dynamic pressure

A new class of reaction drive is discussed, in which reaction mass is expelled from a vehicle using power extracted from the relative motion of the vehicle and the surrounding medium, such as the solar wind. The physics of this type of drive are reviewed and shown to permit high velocity changes with modest mass ratio while conserving energy and momentum according to well-established physical principles. A comparison to past propulsion methods and propulsion classification studies suggests new mission possibilities for this type of drive. An example of how this principle might be embodied in hardware suggests accelerations sufficient for outer solar system missions, with shorter trip times and lower mass ratios than chemical rockets.

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