Study of advanced in-space propulsion technologies
Tan, De Jun
Date of Issue2017
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The main obstacle in achieving fast transit between earth and deep space destinations is not the launch, but travelling through space itself. As much as we like to explore our universe to find other habitable planets and learn more about it in general, the lack of reliable advanced in-space propulsion technologies which can provide the necessary velocities makes it difficult to achieve. The focus on improving existing chemical propulsion systems has also contributed to the slow progress of developing advanced in-space propulsion technologies. In order for deep space exploration missions to be meaningful, they must be able to reach their destination and transmit data back to earth in a reasonable amount of time. This study is conducted to evaluate the suitability of 3 advanced in-space propulsion technologies for deep space exploration. They are solar sails, beamed laser propulsion and electric propulsion. The discussion includes an introduction to the theory behind these systems, their properties, potential applications, limitations and advantages as well as the possibility of implementing them in the near future. Comparisons will be performed for both the quantitative and qualitative factors of these 3 technologies to determine which is the most suitable for deep space travel. After identifying the leading system, a roadmap for future study and development will be provided.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University