Anything to do with FTL engines should probably go in this post
. This thread is concerned with sublight engines, both for travelling large distances, but not large enough to need FTL, and for maneuvering.
Let's see what we have, or at this early stage of development, what we can
Work both in-atmosphere and in space (better in space, but aerospikes could be a cool feature to increase performance in air. Think N-1 starfighters
from The Phantom Menace). Fuel efficiency isn't a rocket's strong point, but high speeds (compared to airplanes) can be reached fairly quickly. I was thinking a cheap way to produce solid hydrogen would allow for inexpensive and compact fuel. Plus, H2 is the best rocket fuel. The problem with rockets is that they also need an oxidiser, so rocket-fueled ships would need a large space for engine related stuff.
A similar device to the chemical rocket is the nuclear thermal rocket, not the same as the nuclear rocket listed below, which is a nuclear pulse rocket. (more info:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_rocket#Terminology
Like rockets is a reaction drive, so when building you ship this needs to go at the back. Properties include very good fuel efficiency but horrible thrust. To get somewhere in space at a reasonable time it is recommended to keep your ion drives on for the whole trip, or until you need to start slowing down. I wouldn't advise using this on your own ship as it is very slow, but certain niche uses definitely exist. Ion drives are too weak to work in-atmosphere, so don't put them on landing craft either. (more info:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_drive
Covered in the thread linked above, as it involves negative mass, reactionless drives do not require fuel. They do, however, require energy. To balance out having no need for fuel, I'm going to say a lot of energy. Since they are purely fiction, we're going to have to make up the performance of the diametric drive. Like I said, check out the above link.Nuclear Rocket:
Involves blowing up a nuke behind your spaceship, to put it simply. Both fission and fusion devices exist and both are very powerful. In the game fuel would probably be expensive, though. (more info:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_pulse_propulsion
A ship needs to be able to both rotate and move in 3 dimensions, not just go forward. Moving and rotating can be done by well positioned rockets. Rotating can also be done by a control moment gyroscope
, which is a device that can be housed inside the hull of a spacecraft. As far as I know the spacecraft would rotate around the center of this machine during operation, something that would be of importance to the developers
. Note that a ship rotates around its center of mass when rotated by rockets.
Please comment with your own ideas and improvements. Thanks for reading.