Advanced Propulsion Study, February 2004

Advanced Propulsion Study, February 2004

Advanced Propulsion Study Background

This study was tasked with the purpose of conducting a thorough literature and program search to carry out and document a technical assessment of the latest concepts in science and engineering that show promise of leading to a major advance in Earth-to-orbit (ETO) propulsion.

The study also reviewed and evaluated a select number of credible far-term breakthrough propulsion physics concepts pertaining to R&D work done on or related to gravity/inertia modification, spacetime metric modification, and the extraction of energy from the space vacuum environment. The results of the study are presented and summarized in this report. A combined bibliography of advanced propulsion references was assembled and is presented. The report includes an overview of the recent history and present state-of-the-art of ETO launch vehicle and propulsion concepts.

Also included is an outline and summary of the criteria and operative guidelines that the author used to examine, select and recommend advanced propulsion concepts. The author identified and selected five promising advanced propulsion concepts, and provides a detailed technical evaluation of their breakthrough potential for ETO propulsion.

The Advanced Propulsion Study is divided into two phases. Phase I is a review and documentation of the latest concepts in science and engineering that show promise of leading to a major advance in propulsion, especially Earth-to-Orbit (ETO) propulsion. This phase also included a study of all the concepts pertaining to R&D work done on or related to gravity/inertia modification, spacetime metric modification (i.e., traversable wormholes, space warps, polarizable vacuum representation of general relativity, etc.), and the extraction of energy from the space vacuum environment. At the completion of this phase the author recommended five promising advanced propulsion concepts for further evaluation.

The author then presented an oral review and technical summary of the recommended advanced propulsion concepts at the AFRL Propulsion Directorate at Edwards AFB, CA on January 5, 2004. Phase II involved a detailed evaluation of the concepts identified and selected in Phase I, which were deemed by the author to have the greatest breakthrough potential for ETO propulsion. Phase II collated all of the results and presents them in this final report.

The report contains four chapters. Chapter 1 is an overview of the present state-of-the-art of ETO launch vehicle and propulsion concepts. The chapter also outlines and summarizes the criteria and operative guidelines that were used by the author to examine, select and recommend advanced propulsion concepts. Chapter 2 is a review and summary of a substantial number of advanced propulsion concepts the author evaluated for the study. Chapter 3 presents the author’s five recommended advanced propulsion concepts, which includes a detailed technical evaluation of their breakthrough potential for ETO propulsion. Chapter 4 is a review and summary of a select number of far-term advanced propulsion concepts. The far-term propulsion concepts are comprised of breakthrough propulsion physics concepts that are very credible and rigorous. The report concludes with a combined list of references.

Download the Study

 Advanced Propulsion Study, February 2004 [103 Pages, 4.3MB]

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