Winglee Drive

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A propulsion system developed in the early twenty-first century by the United States of America Space Administration (NASA) using high energy particles in an electric field technically described as Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2). The drive was first used to propel deep space probes to the heliopause and beyond. It was a significant improvement over the chemical rockets employed for the near Earth and deep space missions of the time.

The prototype drive, using M2P2, created a solar sail of 20km in radius against which the solar wind could push. The solar wind particles travel at 1,000 km/s pushing against the deep space probes mass of 140kg the prototype achieved accelerations of 30 km/s for three months, and reached the orbit of Pluto in slightly more than two years and to the heliopause in ten years. This was four times faster than previous deep space probes.

Longer acceleration periods developed even higher speeds. A Jupiter atmospheric probe launched in 2011 CE achieved Jupiter orbit in 180 days. By the mid-twenty-first century a Mars shuttle employing the Winglee drive achieved voyage times of thirteen days.

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