Magnetoshell concept proven for braking of spaceships to greatly reduce mission costs

A Magnetoshell doesn’t deflect gas like an aeroshell or plasma like a magnetic decelerator. It captures the hypersonic neutral gas through collisional processes. The momentum of the charge-exchanged gas is absorbed by the magnetic structure.

1. A spacecraft deploys Magnetoshell hardware on a 50 meter tether
2. A 500 Gauss magnetic dipole field is formed
3. A low-temperature, magnetized plasma is injected into that field
4. Plasma shell captures atmospheric neutrals through charge-exchange
5. As the captured particles equilibrate, they decelerate the spacecraft
6. Plasma is fueled and heated from captured planetary neutrals
7. Aerobraking drag can be turned off at any time (or increased)

Mars Scaling

• Martian deceleration is excellent
• At 120 km
• Drag force of 1 kN
• Effective drag radius of 15 meters with 1 meter antenna
• All power, temperature, and plasma provided by incoming flow (after startup)

Neptune Scaling

Neptune Aerocapture and then Aerobraking
• At 1000 km
• Drag force of 100 N
• Effective drag radius of 17 meters with 1 meter antenna
• All power, temperature, and plasma provided by incoming flow (after startup)

Orbital demo of a magnetoshell could be 2017.

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