Propulsion Systems Overview

Magnetoplasma Rocket

Peak Velocity – 1% Light speed
2048 – One of the earliest forms of advanced propulsion developed for deep space travel was the Magnetoplasma Rocket was an electromagnetic thruster using radio waves to ionize and heat a propellant, and magnetic fields to accelerate the resulting plasma to generate thrust. This form of propulsion never achieved more than 80% efficiency and was soon replaced by other ion thruster technologies.

Nobel Ion Thrusters

Peak Velocity – 1.3% Light speed
2060 – The first major breakthrough came with Nobel Ion Thrusters. Extremely efficient and reliable electromagnetic ion thrusters use the Lorentz force to accelerate ions through an electrostatic grid, the potential difference of the electric field converts to the ion’s kinetic energy. The major drawback of early Ion engines was a lack of initial thrust. This was overcome in various ways depending on whether or not the craft was manned.

Dense Particle Thrusters

Peak Velocity – 2.1% Light speed
2072 – The Dense Particle Thruster operated on much the same principal of the Ion Engine using heavier elements for a greater kinetic potential. A huge step forward in propulsion technology coming just before the onset of LEAP travel. Series 1 & 2 DPT were instrumental in establishing the first LEAP gate networks.

Photon Induction Drive

Peak Velocity – 1.83% Light speed
2130 – Often referred to as a Solar Tube, the Photon Induction Drive uses the bombardment of solar energy through a catalyst medium to generate thrust. Cheap, robust, and reliable PIDs were mostly used on large mining ships because of their size.

Amplified Momentum Engine

2232 – Building on BHEAMR technology the Amplified Momentum Engine does not itself provide thrust, rather it offsets the mass of the vessel greatly amplifying applied thrust. The first AME was created by an independent asteroid miner as a makeshift replacement for his harvesters broken Photon Induction Drive. It proved so effective that he submitted the specs to the Lumus Scientia. The system was refined and is now integrated into almost all spacecraft in some form, be it low thrust for OTOL (Omni Directional Take Off & Landing) or main propulsion.

Variable Dense Particle Thruster

Peak Velocity – 5% Lightspeed
2235 – The VDPT was a major rethinking of the DPT technology integrating AME system to make engines far more energy efficient at lower thrust rates. So efficient that there was no longer a need most ships to carry propellant as they could extract it from the surrounding space via charged intake collectors.

Ion Wave Engine

Peak Velocity – 11% Lightspeed
2299 – The Ion Wave Engine was the first technology traded with the Cirecidus Domini. Using a serial arrays the IWE provided a significant boost in both thrust and peak velocity over human Ion propulsion.

System Still Currently Used

DPT is the mainstay of military and utility vessels also coupled with with AME integration. IWE systems, being fairly new, are most widely implemented in Scientia long-range research vessels. It has also begun to find its way into specialized cargo haulers.

While the mentioned above are the most widely used systems, there is still a good number of applications using PID, in particular in asteroid mining and with research vessels in regions of heavy ionic interference. Standard Ion Thrusters are also still quite common, although mostly scaled down and used primarily for Civis class vessels such as shuttle craft.

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