VASIMR - Plasma Engine - Space propulsion technology
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Join Date: Jun 2012
09-20-2012, 07:24 AM
from what i read...they didn't have the technology back then so a 1977 concept is irrelevant if you can't make it...it's a theory. there are more than a few great concepts in many fields that cannot yet be produced lacking technology in materials and other areas. when those devices can be made...they'll still go through rigorous testing.
how can they know how well the materials, the electronics, fuel feed system, etc will hold up out of the test bed? in a real world application? up to 40% of VASIMR's output is waste heat...how will that effect the station? the engines components? it's going to be in pulsed operation on the station how will that change the engine? it's power characteristics? will it stress the the electronics that control everything?
they have to test it, and probably will continue to test it for a few more years...i can totally agree with that approach, better safe than sorry. there is no margin for error in space. no tow truck that will come and tow you home. it has to be proven reliable. lives will depend on it.