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April 11, 2012

Fusion Propulsion Based on the Inductively-Driven, Metal Propellant Compression of an FRC Plasmoid

At the NASA NIAC Spring Symposium, John Slough presented Nuclear Propulsion through Direct Conversion of Fusion Energy (30 pages)

John Slough could have an experiment in 2012 with a net gain in fusion energy of 1.6. It will be an imploding liner experiment. For space propulsion he is targeting a 200 times gain in energy output from what is input. Mission profiles are for 30 day or 90 day missions to Mars with over 5000 ISP.

* Lowest mass fusion system is realized with FRC (Field Reversed Configuration) compressed by convergent array of magnetically driven metal foils - steps (a), (b)

*Fusion neutron and particle energy is directly transferred to the encapsulating, thick metal blanket - step (c)
−Provides spacecraft isolation from fusion process
−Eliminates need for large radiator mass

* Expansion of hot, ionized propellant in magnetic nozzle - step (d)
−Produces high thrust at optimal Isp






Fusions Assumption:
• Ionization cost is 75 MJ/kg
• Coupling Efficiency to liner is 50%
• Thrust conversation ~ 90%
• Realistic liner mass are 0.28 kg to 0.41 kg
• Corresponds to a Gain of 50 to 500
• Ignition Factor of 5
• Safety margin of 2: GF =GF(calc.)/2

Mission Assumptions:
• Mass of Payload= 61 mT
• Habitat 31 mT
• Aeroshell 16 mT
• Descent System 14 mT
• Specific Mass of capacitors ~ 1 J/kg
• Specific Mass of Solar Electric Panels 200 W/kg
• Tankage fraction of 10% (tanks, structure, radiator, etc.)
• Payload mass fraction =Play load Mass
• System Specific Mass = Dry Mass/SEP (kg/kW)
• Analysis for single transit optimal transit to Mars
• Full propulsive braking for Mar Capture - no aerobraking




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