Arcjet
Simple very lo-tech rocket used for short low power thrusters, such as station keeping motors and satellites. A non-flammable propellant is heated (not combusted) by an electrical heat source, causing it to undergo a phase change (from liquid to gas) and is then expelled out of the nozzle under pressure. Although extremely inefficient and low thrust, arcjets are very reliable and require no sentient or subsentient ai controller. Almost any fluid from spare drinking water to human urine to vec cleaning oils can be used as a propellant in an emergency.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 07 October 2001.