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Re: Arcjet Motor



WA4SCO, and all:

I think that one should realize that the arc-jet is a very low thrust
engine.  I believe it is considered high impulse, but even that does not
replace "pounds of push"!  The arc-jet is the "little engine that barely
can".  It shines as a highly controllable motor for fine tuning an orbit,
but its unlikely that it has sufficient fuel to accomplish any major
orbital shift.  This would be true on future ham satellites, too.

The solid propellant engine "idea" might just be a viable alternative to a
liquid fuel engine.  Obviously, they burn until fuel is expended, so there
is less control and much more orbit pre-planning will be required.  I
suppose our orbit experts are reading and maybe they will take a look
(again?).  The multi-engine proposal has some merit, especially if engines
with different thrust and burn times were combined.  Under software
control, the appropriate engines could be chosen for a given burn.  Of
course it would be less refined than using a liquid fuel rocket.

I have a little experience with solid rockets...launched many in the 1950's
as a teenager ;-)  Never got as good as Homer Hickam, though.  {It was
1952-age eight, that I decided to become either a "spaceman"...the term of
astronaut not being coined, yet...or a "rocket engineer"}  Never quite
realized that; best I came to that goal was working for NASA.  My
participation in ham-sats gives me an outlet for those early dreams.

Ed



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