Performance Predictions for Interstellar Missions Using the Special Theory of Relativity

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B. Cassenti et al. (2017), JBIS, 70, pp.213-218

Refcode: 2017.70.213
Keywords: Relativistic flight, velocity parameter

Interstellar missions that use exotic propulsion systems, including for example, antimatter propulsion, photon propulsion, and the interstellar ramjet can require the consideration of highly relativistic speeds. Obtaining estimates for performance requirements then becomes complex. There are though methods that can greatly simplify the mathematics. For example, replacing the velocity with an abstract parameter, the velocity parameter, can greatly simplify the calculations. This paper derives the appropriate equations directly from Special Relativity and shows that only Special Relativity is needed. The calculations are not difficult to preform and produce exact results. Examples examined include: constant acceleration rocket and variable thrust rocket.

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