a measure, usually in seconds, of the efficiency with which a rocket engine utilizes its propellants, equal to the number of pounds of thrust produced per pound of propellant burned per second.
the specific impulse that a given combination of propellants would produce in an ideal rocket engine providing complete combustion, no friction losses, and no lateral expansion of the exhaust.
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Also called specific thrust.
Origin of specific impulse
First recorded in 1945–50
Words nearby specific impulse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for specific impulse
the ratio of the thrust produced by a rocket engine to the rate of fuel consumption: it has units of time and is the length of time that unit weight of propellant would last if used to produce one unit of thrust continuously
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012