Relativistic rocket and space flight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We introduce the new concept of "proper speed". It turns out that relativistic space flight can be sized and described more adequately by this concept. In particular, it is shown that the physics and equations of relativistic and classical space flight have a one-to-one relationship. The rocket equations are even identical. In addition, we generalize the expressions for the rocket exhaust speed to systems with mass and/or photon propulsion. With this new insight the basic relativistic spaceflight are easily derived and summarized and it is shown that they can be readily transformed into those of classical space flight. We also provide the space-time transformation equations for a cruising rocket, for a rocket with constant acceleration, and for a rocket with constant thrust (with and without inflight thrust reversal to slow down to zero speed at the target). For each of these cases a representative flight through the milky way with a ultimate matter-antimatter annihilation drive is calculated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Matter-antimatter space drive
  • Relativistic rocket
  • Relativistic space flight
  • Rocket equation


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