Maximum terminal velocity of relativistic rocket
Abstract
The maximum terminal velocity problem of the classical propulsion is extended to a relativistic rocket assumed broken down into active mass, inert mass and gross payload. A fraction of the active mass is converted into energy shared between inert mass and active mass residual. Significant effects are considered. State and costate equations are carried out to find the exhaust speed optimal profile. A first major result consists of a critical value of inert mass. Beyond it both true and effective jet speeds increase with time. Below it the true jet speed profile is reversed. At criticality, the best control consists of both velocities constant in time. A second meaningful result is represented by an interval of inert mass outside which no optimal control exists. Numerical results are discussed with particular emphasis to current concepts of antimatter propulsion.
 Publication:

Acta Astronautica
 Pub Date:
 February 1985
 DOI:
 10.1016/00945765(85)900761
 Bibcode:
 1985AcAau..12...81V
 Keywords:

 Astrodynamics;
 Relativistic Velocity;
 Spacecraft Propulsion;
 Terminal Velocity;
 Antimatter;
 Mass Ratios;
 MatterAntimatter Propulsion;
 Spacecraft Control;
 Astrodynamics