how fast can a "spaceship" travel?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by ..., Jul 2, 2003.

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1. ...Registered Member

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generally...i cant seem to find the answer...the speed of a shuttle in space when propelled at full capacity i guess,u know

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Do you mean in atmosphere, or in vacuum? The ultimate limit is very close to the speed of light. Otherwise, it depends on the propulsion system and the mass its pushing.

5. ...Registered Member

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im talking realistically,the general majority spacecrafts of today which are launched,and the propulsion systems they use,how fast would they travel in space,nothing hypothetical

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The Space Shuttle orbits at more than 17,000 miles an hour. As far as the fastest manned spaceflights, speeds of around 25,000 miles an hour were acheived on Apollo.

Some interplanetary probes were able to reach speeds tens of thousands of miles an hour on certain parts of their journeys. The Voyager spacecraft left the solar system at around 40,000 miles an hour.

8. ClockwoodYou Forgot PolandRegistered Senior Member

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How full is its gass tank? It has a maximum acceleration but with enough fuel can speed up to any speed under the speed of light.

9. PeteIt's not rocket surgeryModerator

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Space ain't quite empty... at (very!) high speeds, interstellar hydrogen and background radiation become significant decellerators.

10. ElectricFetusLeaving if askedValued Senior Member

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All rockets work by moving mass way from it self and being propelled in the opposite direction: “For every action and equal but opposite reaction” Newtons 3rd law. A rocket has two goals: be powerful enough and efficient. Powerful enough to complete a maneuver within a reasonable amount of time and efficient enough to not require too much mass in fuel. Aside for rockets that need to take off from the surface of a planet or a moon the later of efficiency is most important. The faster the rocket propellant is thrusted away the more efficient a rocket is… well actually that a very simple view of it and many other thing have to be taken account for (like the molecular mass of the propellant) all this is calculated in a measure called “specific impulse” or Isp. The best chemical rocket engine can get an Isp of 450, a nuclear rocket can do about 900, a working Ion engine like the one on the fantastically successful Deep Space 1 space probe has a Isp of 3300, a plasma rocket engine could do about 30,000 and a fusion engine could get in theory 2,000,000. Now as you get your engine started you need to consider how much fuel you want to carry, the more fuel the slower you go and the move fuel you need to speed up, as a result there is a reasonable limit to how much fuel you can carry. For star travel a chemical and nuclear reactor rocket are just right out right inadequate, a ion engine could get you with in reason to about 1% the speed of light, a nuclear bomb propelled rocket could get you to about 3% the speed of light, a fusion rocket to about 15%. The use of laser sails could get you up to 50% the speed of light since no fuel would need to be carried.

For the details on all this and much MUCH more, go here... NOW!!!:
http://www.islandone.org/APC/

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cool,thx!