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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Nuclear Propulsion through Direct Conversion of Fusion Energy

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The future of manned space exploration and development of space depends critically on the creation of a vastly more efficient propulsion architecture for in-space transportation. Nuclear-powered rockets can provide the large energy density gain required. A small scale, low cost path to fusion-based propulsion is to be investigated. It is accomplished by employing the propellant to compress and heat a magnetized plasma to fusion conditions, and thereby channel the fusion energy released into heating only the propellant. Passage of the hot propellant through a magnetic nozzle rapidly converts this thermal energy into both directed (propulsive) energy and electrical energy.

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

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