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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Aneutronic Fusion Spacecraft Architecture

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Description: provide framework to realize fusion propulsion for long-range space travel; analyze "hybrid" schemes with a solar or fission primary energy source along with a sub-critical fusion reactor used as a plasma space propulsion system Objective: conduct a feasibility study for a novel, fusion-powered, space propulsion architecture that can ultimately change drastically the potential for human and robotic space exploration. The object of this proposal is to conduct a feasibility study for a novel, fusion-powered, space propulsion architecture that can ultimately change drastically the potential for human and robotic space exploration. The proposed design is based on neutron-free nuclear fusion as the primary energy source. An innovative beam conditioning/nozzle concept enables useful propulsive thrust directly from the fusion products, while some fraction of the energy is extracted via direct conversion into electricity for use in the reactor and spacecraft systems. This study focuses on providing the framework required to make fusion propulsion an appealing proposition for long-range space travel (by integrating the power generation and propulsion systems) rather than on the development of a specific fusion reactor concept. However, the scope of this study is not constrained by the immediate availability of fusion energy since it also analyzes "hybrid" schemes with a solar or fission primary energy source along with a sub-critical fusion reactor used as a plasma space propulsion system.

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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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