SBIR 95-1 SOLICITATION
A PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR AN UPPER STAGE OF A LAUNCH VEHICLE
A magnetically confined plasma which utilizes fusion reactions is proposed as a propulsion system for an upper stage of a launch vehicle that could be employed in interplanetary travel. It makes use of a confinement scheme known as the magnetic mirror in which a hot plasma is radially contained in a solenoidal geometry by a magnetic field with a configuration that allows a certain fraction of the plasma to escape axially producing thrust. Unlike the ordinary mirror machine, the particle density in the proposed device will be sufficiently high to allow the plasma to behave like a continuous medium - a fluid with properties that render it especially suitable for advanced propulsion. Such a system can be constructed with almost present day or near-term technology drawing on relevant research that has accumulated over the past three decades. A detailed analytical and computational investigation of the confinement physics of the device as well as the propulsive capability of this Gas Dynamic Fusion Rocket (GDFR) will be carried out where it will be shown that it is capable of producing specific impulses well in excess of 100,000 seconds and thrusts in the tens of kilonewtons.
Potential Commercial Applications:
The very large specific impulse and thrust expected to be generated by the gas dynamic fusion rocket will allow this system to serve as a space transport vehicle that would enable manned interplanetary missions to be undertaken in relatively short times.
Name and Address of Offeror:
Advent Engineering Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 555
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-0555
Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) &
Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Programs
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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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Hu, Hughes STX.
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Updated: Feb. 7, 1996