Contents

Preface xi

List of figures xv

List of tables xxiii

Introduction 1

1 Overview 11

1.1 The challenge 11

1.1.1 Historical developments 12

1.2 The challenge of flying to space 13

1.3 Operational requirements 15

1.4 Operational space distances, speed, and times 18

1.5 Implied propulsion performance 23

1.6 Propulsion concepts available for Solar System exploration 28

1.7 Bibliography 34

2 Our progress appears to be impeded 35

2.1 Meeting the challenge 35

2.2 Early progress in space 36

2.3 Historical analogues 41

2.4 Evolution of space launchers from ballistic missiles 43

2.5 Conflicts between expendable rockets and reusable airbreathers . 52

2.6 Commercial near-Earth launchers enable the first step 59

2.6.1 On-orbit operations in near-Earth orbit: a necessary second step 63

2.6.2 Earth-Moon system advantages: the next step to establishing a Solar System presence 65

2.6.3 The need for nuclear or high-energy space propulsion, to explore the Solar System 65

2.6.4 The need for very-high-energy space propulsion: expanding our knowledge to nearby Galactic space 66

2.6.5 The need for light speed-plus propulsion: expanding our knowledge to our Galaxy 66

2.7 Bibliography 66

3 Commercial near-Earth space launcher: a perspective 69

3.1 Energy, propellants, and propulsion requirements 73

3.2 Energy requirements to change orbital altitude 75

3.3 Operational concepts anticipated for future missions 78

3.4 Configuration concepts 80

3.5 Takeoff and landing mode 93

3.6 Available solution space 97

3.7 Bibliography 103

4 Commercial near-Earth launcher: propulsion 105

4.1 Propulsion system alternatives 106

4.2 Propulsion system characteristics 108

4.3 Airflow energy entering the engine 109

4.4 Internal flow energy losses 113

4.5 Spectrum of airbreathing operation 120

4.6 Design space available—interaction of propulsion and materials/ structures 122

4.7 Major sequence of propulsion cycles 127

4.8 Rocket-derived propulsion 132

4.9 Airbreathing rocket propulsion 135

4.10 Thermally integrated combined cycle propulsion 138

4.11 Engine thermal integration 141

4.12 Total system thermal integration 142

4.13 Thermally integrated enriched air combined cycle propulsion ... 147

4.14 Comparison of continuous operation cycles 150

4.15 Conclusions with respect to continuous cycles 156

4.16 Pulse detonation engines 158

4.16.1 What is a pulse detonation engine? 158

4.16.2 Pulse detonation engine performance 159

4.17 Conclusions with respect to pulse detonation cycles 165

4.18 Comparison of continuous operation and pulsed cycles 166

4.19 Launcher sizing with different propulsion systems 170

4.20 Structural concept and structural index, ISTR 172

4.21 Sizing results for continuous and pulse detonation engines 174

4.22 Operational configuration concepts, SSTO and TSTO 179

4.23 Emerging propulsion system concepts in development 185

4.24 Aero-spike nozzle 195

4.25 ORBITEC vortex rocket engine 196

4.25.1 Vortex hybrid rocket engine (VHRE) 197

4.25.2 Stoichiometric combustion rocket engine (SCORE) 199

4.25.3 Cryogenic hybrid rocket engine technology 200

4.26 Bibliography 200

5 Earth orbit on-orbit operations in near-Earth orbit, a necessary second step 209

5.1 Energy requirements 212

5.1.1 Getting to low Earth orbit: energy and propellant requirements 212

5.2 Launcher propulsion system characteristics 216

5.2.1 Propellant ratio to deliver propellant to LEO 216

5.2.2 Geostationary orbit satellites sizes and mass 220

5.3 Maneuver between LEO and GEO, change in altitude at same orbital inclination 221

5.3.1 Energy requirements, altitude change 223

5.3.2 Mass ratio required for altitude change 223

5.3.3 Propellant delivery ratio for altitude change 228

5.4 Changes in orbital inclination 230

5.4.1 Energy requirements for orbital inclination change 231

5.4.2 Mass ratio required for orbital inclination change 234

5.4.3 Propellant delivery ratio for orbital inclination change . . 237

5.5 Representative space transfer vehicles 240

5.6 Operational considerations 242

5.6.1 Missions per propellant delivery 243

5.6.2 Orbital structures 244

5.6.3 Orbital constellations 245

5.6.4 Docking with space facilities and the International Space Station 247

5.6.5 Emergency rescue vehicle with capability to land within continental United States 252

5.7 Observations and recommendations 252

5.8 Bibliography 253

6 Earth-Moon system: establishing a Solar System presence 255

6.1 Earth-Moon characteristics 256

6.2 Requirements to travel to the Moon 259

6.2.1 Sustained operation lunar trajectories 262

6.2.2 Launching from the Moon surface 263

6.3 History 268

6.3.1 USSR exploration history 268

6.3.2 USA exploration history 269

6.3.3 India exploration history 270

6.3.4 Japan exploration history 270

6.4 Natural versus artificial orbital station environments 270

6.4.1 Prior orbital stations 271

6.4.2 Artificial orbital station 271

6.4.3 Natural orbital station 274

6.5 Moon base functions 277

6.5.1 Martian analog 277

6.5.2 Lunar exploration 278

6.5.3 Manufacturing and production site 280

6.6 Bibliography 280

Patent literature on MagLev 282

Websites on MagLev 282

7 Exploration of our Solar System 283

7.1 Review of our Solar System distances, speeds, and propulsion requirements 283

7.2 Alternative energy sources: nuclear energy 288

7.3 Limits of chemical propulsion and alternatives 292

7.3.1 7sp and energy sources 293

7.3.2 The need for nuclear (high-energy) space propulsion . . . 296

7.4 Nuclear propulsion: basic choices 297

7.4.1 Shielding 300

7.5 Nuclear propulsion: a historical perspective 307

7.6 Nuclear propulsion: current scenarios 314

7.7 Nuclear reactors: basic technology 322

7.8 Solid core NTR 323

7.9 Particle bed reactor NTR 327

7.10 CERMET technology for NTR 329

7.11 MITEE NTR 329

7.12 Gas core NTR 332

7.13 C. Rubbia's engine 335

7.14 Considerations about NTR propulsion 339

7.15 Nuclear electric propulsion 340

7.16 Nuclear arcjet rockets 341

7.17 Nuclear electric rockets 342

7.18 Electrostatic (ion) thrusters 343

7.19 MPD thrusters 348

7.20 Hybrid/combined NTR/NER engines 351

7.21 Inductively heated NTR 353

7.22 VASIMR (variable specific impulse magneto-plasma-dynamic rocket) 354

7.23 Combining chemical and nuclear thermal rockets 359

7.24 Conclusions 361

7.25 Bibliography 364

8 Stellar and interstellar precursor missions 375

8.1 Introduction 375

8.1.1 Quasi-interstellar destinations 377

8.1.2 Times and distance 381

8.2 The question of 7sp, thrust, and power for quasi-interstellar and stellar missions 383

8.3 Traveling at relativistic speeds 387

8.4 Power sources for quasi-interstellar and stellar propulsion 390

8.5 Fusion and propulsion 391

8.5.1 Mission length with 7sp possible with fusion propulsion . 393

8.6 Fusion propulsion: fuels and their kinetics 395

8.7 Fusion strategies 398

8.8 Fusion propulsion reactor concepts 400

8.9 MCF reactors 401

8.10 Mirror MCF rockets 404

8.10.1 Tokamak MCF rockets 406

8.10.2 An unsteady MCF reactor: the dense plasma focus (DPF) rocket 408

8.10.3 Shielding 409

8.10.4 Direct thermal MCF vs. electric MCF rockets 411

8.11 Fusion propulsion—inertial confinement 413

8.11.1 Inertial electrostatic confinement fusion 419

8.12 MCF and ICF fusion: a comparison 420

8.13 Conclusions: Can we reach stars? 428

8.14 Bibliography 430

9 View to the future and exploration of our Galaxy 437

9.1 Issues in developing near- and far-galactic space exploration . . . 439

9.2 Black holes and galactic travel 447

9.3 Superluminal speed: Is it required? 453

9.4 Conclusions 458

9.5 Bibliography 458

Appendix A Nuclear propulsion—risks and dose assessment 463

A.1 Introduction 463

A.2 Radioactivity 463

A.2.1 Alpha decay 463

A.2.2 Beta decay 464

A.2.3 Gamma rays 465

A.3 Radiation and dose quantities and units 465

A.3.6 Collective dose (man Sv) 468

A.3.7 Dose commitment (Sv) 469

A.4 Effects of ionizing radiation 469

A.4.1 Deterministic effects 469

A.4.2 Stochastic effects 470

A.5 Sources of radiation exposure 473

A.5.1 Natural radiation exposure 473

A.5.2 Medical radiation exposure 476

A.5.3 Exposure from atmospheric nuclear testing 477

A.5.4 Exposure from nuclear power production 478

A.5.5 Exposure from major accidents 479

A.5.6 Occupational exposure 480

A.5.7 Exposure from nuclear propulsion systems 480

A.5.8 Comparison of exposures 483

A.6 Conclusions 484

A.7 Bibliography 484

Appendix B Assessment of open magnetic fusion for space propulsion 487

B.1 Introduction 487

B.2 Space fusion power: general issues 490

B.2.1 Application of fusion for space propulsion 492

B.2.2 Achievement of self-sustained conditions 493

B.2.3 Design of a generic fusion propulsion system 495

B.2.4 Mass budget 497

B.2.5 Specific power 500

B.2.6 Fusion power density 502

B.2.7 Specific power a: summary 503

B.3 Status of open magnetic field configuration research 504

B.3.1 Classification and present status of open magnetic field configurations 504

B.3.2 Mirror configurations 505

B.3.3 Field-reversed configurations 517

B.3.4 Spheromaks 526

B.3.5 Levitated dipole 530

B.4 Further studies on fusion for space application 532

B.4.1 Technology 532

B.4.2 Specific design studies 534

B.5 Fusion propulsion performance 534

B.6 Conclusions 536

B.7 Bibliography 538

Index 543

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