I have been reading a lot about electric propulsion and was wondering if it would be feasible for human spaceflight. It is really efficient but it takes a while to get to the desired speed. Would it be useful for human spaceflight, or does a flight take too long?

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    $\begingroup$ It is being considered for the power and propulsion module of Gateway $\endgroup$ May 5, 2022 at 11:48
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    $\begingroup$ Define "feasible": launch or landing, from Earth or other bodies? Orbital maintenance of a space station? Interplanetary travel? $\endgroup$ May 5, 2022 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ChristopherJamesHuff I am talking about changing a manned spacecraft‘s orbit to get to a different object. In other words to power the whole flight with electric propulsion system expect the launch where a regular chemical rocket would be used $\endgroup$ May 5, 2022 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ At present, electric propulsion thrust levels are several orders of magnitude less than chemical propulsion. The size and weight of the ecessary power source restrict the applications to low thrust scenarios. But there are many electric propulsion systems in use in spacecraft of various types. In a human flight application, which will be inherently high mass, the low thrust levels of current electric propulsion systems would not provide significant thrust. A power generation breakthrough is needed. $\endgroup$
    – tckosvic
    May 5, 2022 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ Electric propulsion is feasible for unmanned space probes exploring the outer solar system without returning to Earth. But a manned exploration of the outer solar system without a return to Earth is not feasible for the next decades. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    May 5, 2022 at 17:59


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