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Plasma Propelled Rocket Engines Seminar Report

Rocket is a device that provides thrust to a vehicle by accelerating some matter (the propellant) and exhausting it from the rocket. Most significant difference between rocket and air breathing engines is that rocket carries all its own propellant. From the early 19 th century onwards scientists have been trying to launch satellites into outer space with the help of rockets. But the success rate of these missions was very low due to lack of technologies and the huge cost involved. Also most fuels get expended in the initial stage of operation which is not practical for deep-space mission’s explorations because they would require huge quantities of fuel. Gravitation boost is also required.

The mission conducted by NASA which took off in September 2007, is powered by a kind of space propulsion technology that is starting to take center stage for long-distance missions- a plasma rocket engine. Such engines, now being developed in several advanced forms, generate thrust by electrically producing and manipulating ionized gas propellants rather than by burning liquid or solid chemical fuels, as conventional rockets do.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory selected a plasma engine as the probe’s rocket system because it is highly efficient, requiring only one tenth of the fuel that a chemical rocket motor would have needed to reach the asteroid belt. If project planners had chosen to install a traditional engine, the, vehicle would have been able to reach the required destination . The benefits afforded by plasma engines become most striking in light of the drawbacks of conventional rockets. When people imagine a ship streaking through the dark void toward a distant planet, they usually envision it trailing a long,fiery plume from its nozzles. Yet the truth is altogether different: expeditions to the outer solar system have been mostly rocket less affairs, motor would typically have no fuel left for braking. Such a probe would need the ability to reach its rocket so that it could slow enough to achieve orbit around its target and thus conduct extended scientific observations.

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