Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Sun, 6 Aug 2000 00:16:21 -0700


Emery Calame asks,

>Mobile suits are powered by Helium-3 fed Minovsky reactors...right? How
>often do various One Year War mobile suits probably need refit and
>refueling? In most UC stuff it seems like an MS is tied to it's base or
>carrier? Is that strictly for ammo and repairs?

  Mostly for ammo and refueling, I'd say. While the reactor proper can
run for ages without a Helium-3 fuel restock, mobile suit thrusters go
through their propellant supply very quickly. (This propellant is cycled
through the reactor to super-heat it, then vented to create thrust; the
raw material could be any simple substance like hydrogen, helium, or water.)

  Rocket fuel efficiency is given in terms of "specific impulse," which
measures for how many seconds a kilogram of fuel will generate a kilogram
of thrust. The best chemical engines, like those in the space shuttle,
are rated at about 450 seconds. Thus, a Zaku with roughly 45 tons of
thrust and 10 tons of propellant would only be able to run its thrusters
at full power for 100 seconds if it had chemical engines. Nuclear rockets
like those used in most mobile suits should have several times this
efficiency, but that still limits you a few minutes of maximum thrust. In
space combat, this is just a serious a limit as ammunition.

  On the ground, mobile suits only need to use their thrusters for
jumping, so the limit is less severe.

-- Mark

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Mark Simmons / scorpio@best.com / http://www.gundamproject.com/
"It's your country, you can do what you want."

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