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In Lost In Space, a ring of lights seemed to flash as the Jupiter 2 was lifting off. The lights seemed to be overcoming a lot of air resistance from the almost plate-shaped top of the ship (see below)

Jupiter 2 Taking off

How did the propulsion system of the Jupiter 2 work? Both during lift off and also while flying around?

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The Lost in Space Wiki has your answer here:

The spacecraft is propelled by atomic propulsion, using the substance deutronium as a power source. It also appeared to have an ion drive, and a magnetic drive. Small rockets came from unknown locations along the rim of the ship.

This is also supported on the Wikipedia page

Specifically, the previously linked Lost in Space Wiki page mentions that

it has a radial reactor

In the very first episode (apologies - the video formerly there no longer exists) you will recall that we are told in a 'documentary' of the ship that the Jupiter 2 was powered by atomic motors, and the mining for deutronium is a regular reason used in the plot for why they don't leave whatever planet they've crashed onto.

Lift-off

In terms of lift-off, there is the use of an Anti-Gravity Drive (emphasis mine):

The anti-gravity drive system was designed for use in vehicle liftoff and touch down. The anti-gravity drive consumes 250 megawatts at full power and is capable of delivering up to ten g’s of acceleration. In terms of the Earth’s gravitational field at sea level, this translates to 55,000 pounds of thrust. ... Visible light is given off as a by-product of each revolution of the generated field. The anti-gravity drive is throttled back when the pull of gravity on the spacecraft is less than 1/20th of Earth’s gravity at sea level.

...

Full-power launches are characterized by a loud hum of the antigravity engines, and a glow around the ship caused by the magnetic fields being generated at the time. Such a launch was used to leave Earth.

For 'flying around'

When they are actually in space, they use the Deutronium Annihilation Drive:

Deep space propulsion is accomplished with two deutronium-annihilation atomic motors. Theoretically, these engines are capable of producing unlimited thrust and speed. Photons are created through deutronium annihilation in the hafnium carbide reactor chamber located in the center of the lower region of the spacecraft. The photons radiate through the urns projecting from the Thompson field projector. These engines cannot be activated except in deep space. Operation within the atmosphere of a planet would result in life-threatening contamination due to dangerous radioactive exhaust.

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This is from the Lost in Space wikia, concerning the liftoff and flight procedure for the Jupiter 2:

The anti-gravity drive system was designed for use in vehicle liftoff and touch down. The anti-gravity drive consumes 250 megawatts at full power and is capable of delivering up to 10 g’s of acceleration. In terms of the Earth’s gravitational field at sea level, this translates to 55,000 pounds of thrust. The engine is relatively compact with the major space requirement being for the circular track in the lower region of the spacecraft which houses the Thompson unitectic gravity field projector. Visible light is given off as a by-product of each revolution of the generated field. The anti-gravity drive is throttled back when the pull of gravity on the spacecraft is less than 1/20th of Earth’s gravity at sea level. At that field strength, the anti-gravity drive becomes ineffective, producing less than 200 pounds of thrust.

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Check out "Jupiter Two Propulsion Specifications" by Earl Hooks. Pretty good explantion of the ISD (Ion Singularity Drive).

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    Since this resource is not readily available for everyone, would you mind quoting the relevant parts here? – SQB Sep 3 '15 at 13:10
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In addition to the Thompson Field Projector the Jupiter 2 also utilized Gyro Stability systems which were un caged during lift off. The wobble dampers were used to enforce ship stability by electronic servo mechanistic control. Artificial gravity was regulated proportional to relative external graviton measurements influenced incident to relative proximity to a given gravitational field external influence associated with a planetary body. Servos compensated coordination to maintain attitude, yaw and pitch control rockets that produced a harmless mist of plum exhaust served to trim the angular position orientation as an auxiliary control agency when needed. Forward motion was achieved by magnetic and anti graviton persuasion, resulting in accelerating the space craft by way of seeking out a strong magnetic field in lieu of exerting a relatively stronger magnetic field induced toward the frontal axis of the space craft. Reverse thrust by way of conventional rockets with solid fuel propellants provide braking action via retro rocket propulsion for slowing for atmosphere reentry. The Space Theodalite, encapsulated in the bubble shield atop the Jupiter 2 serves as a navigational relay system. It provides reference data fixed star to fix star bearings determination for the inertial guidance control system. Vector records were telecommunicated and down linked to the data tape recorder for navigation tracking and Telemonitoring control. The R.G.S. Scanner is the Remote Guidance System that serves as a cognitive cybernetic positronic matrix brain which perceives and correlate all navigational data to direct the master central Astrogator. The Robot is Environmental control Cybernetic Servo Mechanism. Master computer systems located in the robot storage magnetic lock room area direct and augment the robots functions by way of full duplex telecasters download and upload link over microwave transmission frequencies. Redundant guidance control and maneuver overriding controls are accessed by pilots via the central view port instrument cluster panel. Internal atmosphere is regenerated by hydroponics plants which emit oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide, oxygen accumulator compresses captured air and exchange system maintains internal dynamic air pressure. Trace artificial atmospheric gas elements are also synthetically produced by way of a replicate that approximates the molecular structure of trace elements, and manufactures them to the demands required by relative needs. Fuel cells produce drinking and potable water from an osmotic micro pump system. Food stuffs are produced by replication of molecular structure patterns copping of data script from food galley computer software directed scripting control of Nan no-replicates. The food storage purifier sustains potency for prolonged storage. Raw materials of indiscriminate nature are transformed to eatables form virtually any available material substance introduced into its admittance aperture.

Professor: Howard Daniel Rollins III

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