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Physics  2006 

Assessing Hypothetical Gravity Control Propulsion

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Gauging the benefits of hypothetical gravity control propulsion is difficult, but addressable. The major challenge is that such breakthroughs are still only notional concepts rather than being specific methods from which performance can be rigorously quantified. A recent assessment by Tajmar and Bertolami used the rocket equation to correct naive misconceptions, but a more fundamental analysis requires the use of energy as the basis for comparison. The energy of a rocket is compared to an idealized space drive for the following cases: Earth-to-orbit, interstellar transit, and levitation. The space drive uses 3.6 times less energy for Earth to orbit. For deep space travel, space drive energy scales as the square of delta-v, while rocket energy scales exponentially. This has the effect of rendering a space drive 150-orders-of-magnitude better than a 17,000-sec Specific Impulse rocket for sending a modest 5000 kg probe to traverse 5 light-years in 50 years. Indefinite levitation, which is impossible for a rocket, could conceivably require 62 MJ/kg for a space drive. Assumption sensitivities and further analysis options are listed to guide further inquires.


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