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Meaning of characteristic velocity

characteris'tic veloc'ity

Pronunciation: [key]
— Aerospace. Aerospace.
  1. a measure of the effectiveness with which the combustion in a rocket engine produces high temperature and pressure, equal to the exhaust velocity divided by the thrust coefficient.
  2. the total of all velocities a space vehicle must develop to complete a given mission.
  3. an expression of the performance of a propellant or a propulsion system under given operating pressures.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.