The Orion Drive is the popular name for this. Its inventor originally called it the Ore-Ion Drive.
It does not require Rocket Fuel, only electricity. When it is operating it has a characteristic pale blue glow.
Galacticraft scientists developed this drive system after analysing ore fragments found in the Asteroid belt and discovering a previously unknown energy field. Normally the energy field is stable and serves to bind ore elements into an ore in a 1m x 1m x 1m cubical shape, but if enough different varieties of such ores are combined, the wavefunctions of the different ore types superimpose and cancel each other out, resulting in the isolated energy field. This can then be contained and sustained in combination with a pure form of redstone energy harnessed in the Beam Core. This principle allows the manufacture of a drive system which produces an effective impulse from electrical energy alone.
- 1 x Diamond Ore
- 1 x Lapis Ore
- 1 x Gold Ore
- 1 x Redstone Ore
- 1 x Coal Ore
- 1 x Cheese Ore
- 1 x Desh Ore
- 1 x Ilmenite Ore
- 1 x Beam Core
An Ion Thruster is a type of space drive which uses electricity (instead of chemical fuels) for energy, but it still requires propellant or reaction mass. So a standard chemical rocket engine works by burning fuel and oxidant with a nozzle that sends the exhaust gases fast backwards out of the engine, producing thrust forwards. An ion thruster also sends exhaust gases (ions) backwards to produce forwards thrust - the difference is that an ion thruster uses electrical energy not chemical energy to make the ions move. An ion thruster therefore still needs something to eject from its nozzle - this is the reaction mass or propellant.
The total thrust (impulse) of a rocket engine or an ion thruster is m x v where m is the mass of the propellant ejected and v is the average velocity of the propellant when it is ejected. The current aim of scientists and engineers working on Ion Thrusters is to make v larger so that m can be smaller, meaning the space vehicle does not need so much propellant (or so that the space vehicle can travel further or faster using the same amount of propellant).
Some inventors and fringe scientists have proposed forms of Reactionless drive, in other words space drives that require no propellant. To date (2018) none of these has been proved to work in properly set up, reproduceable, laboratory conditions and none has been tested in space. (Due to the huge cost of transporting equipment to space, an effect would need to be proven first in tests in laboratories on Earth.) Any claimed effects are most likely the result of experimental errors, but there is a slim possibility that a reactionless drive will eventually be possible. If it is ever possible, it will most likely work on "open system" principles, in other words it interacts with the universe around it in a way that produces thrust while conserving total momentum of the universe as a whole. Gravity is a good example of an open system: if a spacecraft falls towards a planet due to gravity, the gravity makes the spacecraft move (an impulse) but total momentum of the universe is conserved, because the planet experiences a balancing impulse: the planet moves ever so slightly towards the spacecraft.
The Orion Drive in Galacticraft is a reactionless drive.