Monday, May 2, 2011

Jerry Pournelle

I'm reading the latest (Kindle) edition of "A Step Farther Out".  That's what I'll be doing today.  Just in case anybody's wondering.


Something rather interesting that I came across while reading Pournelle's book.  As I wrote in this post with respect to the velocity of a pb11 fusion reaction, and its possible use in a fusion rocket- he wrote that the exhaust velocity is better than 10k kilometers per second. This is about 1/4 of what I calculated, so I must have been on the right track.  He also says the Isp of such a rocket could be something over a million.

Now the thing that caught my eye was not only that, but that it doesn't have to be net energy to be useful as a rocket engine.  It just needs an energy source and it needs to be reasonably efficient at fusion.  Not net energy, mind you, but something that could produce useful thrust.  That usefulness of thrust would in large part be dependent upon how efficient the reaction can be made in terms of exhaust velocity and quantity of matter fused.


This is a long book, so it will take awhile to finish it.  Currently about half way through it.  I'm going to give it a rest.

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