Conventional rockets work the “throwing mass out the back end.” The thrust developed depends on the mass of the ejecta and the speed of ejection.

One of the major problems with conventional rockets is the relatively low “efflux velocity” achievable with burning, or in some cases exploding rocket fuel. If you can double the speed of efflux you can get the same thrust with one fourth of the ejection mass. Obviously, cutting the fuel requirement in half would make those day trips to the Moon a whole lot more practical.

Before WWII one of Werner Von Braun’s fellows in the German Interplanetary Society, Herr Dr. Hermann Oberst, proposed to increase efflux velocity by placing a negative charge on the fuel, and a much higher charge on a part of the rocket motors. The charged fuel was burned, and then the charged ejection mass was violently repelled by the rocket tube itself.

In ground based tests the scheme works quite well. All we need is a compact and lightweight gigawatt power supply. One that weighs perhaps ten percent of the weight of the no longer needed rocket fuel.

And “Space Cadet’s” here we come. Blast off in Kansas and the next stop is Mare Imbrium Station. I wish!


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