This book is an attempt to look at relativistic flight from the point of view of physics. According to the principle of reaction-propulsion, the only ‘fuel’ suitable for a multi-ton relativistic rocket is antimatter. Propulsion methods relying on thrust by products of annihilation such as photon rocket (electron-positron annihilation) and meson rocket (proton-antiproton annihilation) are revised accounting for annihilation cross-section. The proposed propulsion system comprises a power-generating reactor and ion accelerators that form the efflux of relativistic ions. Shift to relativistic exhaust means transition to higher propulsion efficiency: the efflux beam consists mostly of energy. The relativistic rocket equation is derived and calculations for various launching masses are performed.
Kinematic approach to estimate effectiveness of rocket maneuvering at relativistic speed is considered. Computer simulation of some curvilinear trajectories is performed.
Limiting factors: Thermodynamics requires engine cooling and it can be done in space only by means of radiation. The radiator mass is estimated as a function of its temperature and jet power.
Interstellar space comprises gas and dust. Despite its rarefaction (n ~ 0.3 cm^-3 ), gas forms an oncoming flux of relativistic ions/atoms bombarding the rocket with the intensity N = nv ~ 10^9 cm^-2s^-1 at v ~ 0.5c, where v is the rocket velocity. Kinetic energy of ions/atoms is ~0.1 GeV, is hard radiation with the dosage comparable to that inside nuclear reactors. Another danger is relativistic dust. Frontal shield with magnetic and material shielding is considered.
The foreseen antimatter ‘fuel’ is antyhydrogen. Due to inherent diamagnetism of antihydrogen, it can be stored in a container with a thin magnetic barrier induced by superconducting loops with alternate direction of current. Modelling of various container geometries is performed. Recommendations are made to find a solution to the vapors problem.
|Copyright||2017, Oleg Semyonov|
|Copyright License||Standard Copyright License|
|Type of Publication||Textbook|
|Keywords||Astronautics, Relativistic rocket, Antimatter, Interstellar space|