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For an interplanetary mission that has a duration of 40 years cam we use hydrogen peroxide monopropellants? Can we use arcjets?

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  • $\begingroup$ I would think the best propellant would be a liquid biprop, with a dense, low-freezing-point that is also hypergolic. I'll see if I can find a good example $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 6:34

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The Voyager 1 spacecraft (launched 1977) used hydrazine thrusters, that were tested (and worked) 40 years later in 2017, so that would be one possible propellant.

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  • $\begingroup$ I correctly understood that the supply of his fuel has not yet dried up? And how long will it approximately dry up, after all? $\endgroup$
    – dtn
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 4:41
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It partially depends on the distance from the Sun. Heading out to Mars and beyond METHALOX or HYDROLOX should be possibilities.

Heading Sunward, hypergolics like hydrazine (and its derivatives) and dinitrogen tetroxide might be a better choice unless a lot of effort is put into cooling and Sun shades.

It also depends on travel time and how much mass can be spared for propellant. If long travel times are acceptable then ion thrusters using xenon or krypton might work well. If there is spare capacity for extra propellant then there will be a greater choice, if the mass budget is very tight (likely) then best go for the highest Isp that works for the mission.

Arcjets and ion thrusters would require a lot of electrical energy so big solar Sunward or nuclear for the outer Solar System.

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  • $\begingroup$ "...for the highest Isp". What does it mean, Isp ? $\endgroup$
    – dtn
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 4:39
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry! Isp refers to "Specific Impulse". It's a measure of how efficient a rocket is. So a rocket with a high Isp can use produce more velocity change per kg of propellant than a rocket with low Isp. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_impulse $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 5:33

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