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Minimum usable acceleration for a spacecraft
Hello, apologies if this is in the wrong section, it's hard SF related but it didn't seem to fit any other part of the forum for me.

So, when reading up on rocketry on Projectrho, I came upon this interesting bit

Quote:As an important point, the practical minimum acceleration for a spacecraft is about 5 milligees. Otherwise it will take years to change orbits. Photon sails can only do up to 3 milligees, but a laser sail can do 5 milligees easily.
Is this true? If yes, how can it be true since the Dawn probe did not take years to enter Vesta or Ceres's orbit (it took years to get there but IIRC a chemical rocket would not be capable of even having enough delta v for the mission, and the quoted claim is about orbit leaving and insertion) at a much lower acceleration? Many concepts for realistic though currently impossible craft on the site also have engines that generate below 5 miligees but are still projected to be able to reach Mars in 3 months to several weeks. What truth is there to that quote, if any?

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Minimum usable acceleration for a spacecraft - by MichaelPoole - 01-30-2023, 11:06 PM

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