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Title: FIREBALL: Fusion Ignition Rocket Engine with Ballistic Ablative Lithium Liner

Abstract

Thermo-nuclear fusion may be the key to a high Isp, high specific power propulsion system. In a fusion system energy is liberated within, and imparted directly to, the propellant. In principle, this can overcome the performance limitations inherent in systems that require thermal power transfer across a material boundary, and/or multiple power conversion stages (NTR, NEP). A thermo-nuclear propulsion system, which attempts to overcome some of the problems inherent in the Orion concept, is described. A dense FRC plasmoid is accelerated to high velocity (in excess of 500 km/s) and is compressed into a detached liner (pulse unit). The kinetic energy of the FRC is converted into thermal and magnetic-field energy, igniting a fusion burn in the magnetically confined plasma. The fusion reaction serves as an ignition source for the liner, which is made out of detonable materials. The energy liberated in this process is converted to thrust by a pusher-plate, as in the classic Orion concept. However with this concept, the vehicle does not carry a magazine of autonomous pulse-units. By accelerating a second, heavier FRC, which acts as a piston, right behind the first one, the velocity required to initiate the fusion burn is greatly reduced.

Authors:
; ;  [1];  [2]
  1. Propulsion Research Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center XD22, Huntsville, AL 35812 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20798020
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 813; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: 10. conference on thermophysics applications in microgravity; 23. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; 4. conference on human/robotic technology and the national vision for space exploration; 4. symposium on space colonization; 3. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 12-16 Feb 2006; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2169260; (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ENERGY CONVERSION; KINETIC ENERGY; LINERS; LITHIUM; MAGNETIC FIELDS; PERFORMANCE; PLASMA; PROPULSION; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; PULSES; REVERSE-FIELD PINCH; ROCKET ENGINES; SPACE VEHICLES; THERMONUCLEAR IGNITION

Citation Formats

Martin, Adam K., Eskridge, Richard H., Lee, Michael H., and Fimognari, Peter J. FIREBALL: Fusion Ignition Rocket Engine with Ballistic Ablative Lithium Liner. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2169260.
Martin, Adam K., Eskridge, Richard H., Lee, Michael H., & Fimognari, Peter J. FIREBALL: Fusion Ignition Rocket Engine with Ballistic Ablative Lithium Liner. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169260.
Martin, Adam K., Eskridge, Richard H., Lee, Michael H., and Fimognari, Peter J. Fri . "FIREBALL: Fusion Ignition Rocket Engine with Ballistic Ablative Lithium Liner". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169260.
@article{osti_20798020,
title = {FIREBALL: Fusion Ignition Rocket Engine with Ballistic Ablative Lithium Liner},
author = {Martin, Adam K. and Eskridge, Richard H. and Lee, Michael H. and Fimognari, Peter J.},
abstractNote = {Thermo-nuclear fusion may be the key to a high Isp, high specific power propulsion system. In a fusion system energy is liberated within, and imparted directly to, the propellant. In principle, this can overcome the performance limitations inherent in systems that require thermal power transfer across a material boundary, and/or multiple power conversion stages (NTR, NEP). A thermo-nuclear propulsion system, which attempts to overcome some of the problems inherent in the Orion concept, is described. A dense FRC plasmoid is accelerated to high velocity (in excess of 500 km/s) and is compressed into a detached liner (pulse unit). The kinetic energy of the FRC is converted into thermal and magnetic-field energy, igniting a fusion burn in the magnetically confined plasma. The fusion reaction serves as an ignition source for the liner, which is made out of detonable materials. The energy liberated in this process is converted to thrust by a pusher-plate, as in the classic Orion concept. However with this concept, the vehicle does not carry a magazine of autonomous pulse-units. By accelerating a second, heavier FRC, which acts as a piston, right behind the first one, the velocity required to initiate the fusion burn is greatly reduced.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2169260},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 813,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}