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Title: The QED engine system: Direct-electric fusion-powered rocket propulsion systems

Abstract

Practical ground-to-orbit and inter-orbital space flights both require propulsion systems of large flight-path-averaged specific impulse (I[sub sp]) and engine system thrust-to-mass-ratio (F/m[sub e]=[F]) for useful payload and structure fractions in single-stage vehicles (Hunter 1966). Current rocket and air-breathing engine technologies lead to enormous vehicles and small payloads; a natural result of the limited specific energy available from chemical reactions. While nuclear energy far exceeds these specific energy limits (Bussard and DeLauer 1958), the inherent high-I[sub sp] advantages of fission propulsion concepts for space and air-breathing flight (Bussard and DeLauer 1965) are negated for manned systems by the massive radiation shielding required by their high radiation output (Bussard 1971). However, there are well-known radiation-free nuclear fusion reactions (Gross 1984) between isotopes of selected light elements (such as H+[sup 11]B, D+[sup 3]He) that yield only energetic charged particles, whose energy can be converted directly into electricity by confining electric fields (Moir and Barr 1973,1983). New confinement concepts using magnetic-electric-potentials (Bussard 1989a) or inertial-collisional-compression (ICC) (Bussard 1990) have been found that offer the prospect of clean, compact fusion systems with very high output and low mass. Their radiation-free d.c. electrical output can power unique new electron-beam-driven thrust systems of extremely high performance. Parametricmore » design studies show that such charged-particle electric-discharge engines ( QED'' engines) might yield rocket propulsion systems with performance in the ranges of 2[lt][F][lt]6 and 1500[lt]I[sub sp][lt]5500 sec.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. (Energy/Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2), 9100 A Center Street, Manassas, Virginia 22110 (United States))
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5587554
Report Number(s):
CONF-930103-
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-243X; CODEN: APCPCS
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings (American Institute of Physics); (United States); Journal Volume: 271:3; Conference: 10. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 10-14 Jan 1993
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; FEASIBILITY STUDIES; SPACE PROPULSION REACTORS; THERMONUCLEAR REACTORS; BORON 11; DEUTERIUM; DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; HELIUM 3; HYDROGEN; INERTIAL CONFINEMENT; MAGNETIC FIELDS; PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS; PLASMA HEATING; THERMONUCLEAR FUELS; BORON ISOTOPES; CONFINEMENT; CONVERSION; ELEMENTS; ENERGY CONVERSION; EVEN-ODD NUCLEI; FUELS; HEATING; HELIUM ISOTOPES; HYDROGEN ISOTOPES; ISOTOPES; LIGHT NUCLEI; MOBILE REACTORS; NONMETALS; NUCLEI; ODD-EVEN NUCLEI; ODD-ODD NUCLEI; PLASMA CONFINEMENT; POWER REACTORS; PROPULSION REACTORS; REACTORS; SPACE POWER REACTORS; STABLE ISOTOPES; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 210600* - Power Reactors, Auxiliary, Mobile Package, & Transportable; 700400 - Fusion Technology- (1992-); 220100 - Nuclear Reactor Technology- Theory & Calculation

Citation Formats

Bussard, R.W.. The QED engine system: Direct-electric fusion-powered rocket propulsion systems. United States: N. p., 1993. Web. doi:10.1063/1.43058.
Bussard, R.W.. The QED engine system: Direct-electric fusion-powered rocket propulsion systems. United States. doi:10.1063/1.43058.
Bussard, R.W.. Wed . "The QED engine system: Direct-electric fusion-powered rocket propulsion systems". United States. doi:10.1063/1.43058.
@article{osti_5587554,
title = {The QED engine system: Direct-electric fusion-powered rocket propulsion systems},
author = {Bussard, R.W.},
abstractNote = {Practical ground-to-orbit and inter-orbital space flights both require propulsion systems of large flight-path-averaged specific impulse (I[sub sp]) and engine system thrust-to-mass-ratio (F/m[sub e]=[F]) for useful payload and structure fractions in single-stage vehicles (Hunter 1966). Current rocket and air-breathing engine technologies lead to enormous vehicles and small payloads; a natural result of the limited specific energy available from chemical reactions. While nuclear energy far exceeds these specific energy limits (Bussard and DeLauer 1958), the inherent high-I[sub sp] advantages of fission propulsion concepts for space and air-breathing flight (Bussard and DeLauer 1965) are negated for manned systems by the massive radiation shielding required by their high radiation output (Bussard 1971). However, there are well-known radiation-free nuclear fusion reactions (Gross 1984) between isotopes of selected light elements (such as H+[sup 11]B, D+[sup 3]He) that yield only energetic charged particles, whose energy can be converted directly into electricity by confining electric fields (Moir and Barr 1973,1983). New confinement concepts using magnetic-electric-potentials (Bussard 1989a) or inertial-collisional-compression (ICC) (Bussard 1990) have been found that offer the prospect of clean, compact fusion systems with very high output and low mass. Their radiation-free d.c. electrical output can power unique new electron-beam-driven thrust systems of extremely high performance. Parametric design studies show that such charged-particle electric-discharge engines ( QED'' engines) might yield rocket propulsion systems with performance in the ranges of 2[lt][F][lt]6 and 1500[lt]I[sub sp][lt]5500 sec.},
doi = {10.1063/1.43058},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings (American Institute of Physics); (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 271:3,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 1993},
month = {Wed Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 1993}
}

Conference:
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