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More than half a megawatt of power is needed for the last three propulsion systems, but the propellant flows are small. The data for the last two types are illustrative, but hypothetical. To date the largest experimental units have been about 120 kW for arcjets and perhaps 10 kW with ion propulsion. Although thruster designs for megawatt-level units are feasible, it is unlikely that the needed flight-qualified electrical power generator would be available in the next decade.

More than half a megawatt of power is needed for the last three propulsion systems, but the propellant flows are small. The data for the last two types are illustrative, but hypothetical. To date the largest experimental units have been about 120 kW for arcjets and perhaps 10 kW with ion propulsion. Although thruster designs for megawatt-level units are feasible, it is unlikely that the needed flight-qualified electrical power generator would be available in the next decade.

TABLE 2-1. Ranges of Typical Performance Parameters for Various Rocket Propulsion Systems

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