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Title: Method and apparatus to produce high specific impulse and moderate thrust from a fusion-powered rocket engine

A system and method for producing and controlling high thrust and desirable specific impulse from a continuous fusion reaction is disclosed. The resultant relatively small rocket engine will have lower cost to develop, test, and operate that the prior art, allowing spacecraft missions throughout the planetary system and beyond. The rocket engine method and system includes a reactor chamber and a heating system for heating a stable plasma to produce fusion reactions in the stable plasma. Magnets produce a magnetic field that confines the stable plasma. A fuel injection system and a propellant injection system are included. The propellant injection system injects cold propellant into a gas box at one end of the reactor chamber, where the propellant is ionized into a plasma. The propellant and fusion products are directed out of the reactor chamber through a magnetic nozzle and are detached from the magnetic field lines producing thrust.
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Issue Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Princeton Satellite Systems (Plainsboro, NJ); The Trustees of Princeton University (Princeton, NJ) PPPL
Patent Number(s):
Application Number:
Contract Number:
Resource Relation:
Patent File Date: 2013 May 10
Research Org:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States

Other works cited in this record:

Variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket engine
patent, January 2002

Controlled Fusion In A Field Reversed Configuration And Direct Energy Conversion
patent-application, March 2008

Magnetic Confinement Device
patent-application, December 2010

Device For Compressing A Compact Toroidal Plasma For Use As A Neutron Source And Fusion Reactor
patent-application, June 2011

Fusion Neutron Source For Breeding Applications
patent-application, July 2011

Onset and Saturation of Ion Heating by Odd-Parity Rotating Magnetic Fields in a Field-Reversed Configuration
journal, January 2006

Open Confinement Systems and the D-3He Reaction
journal, August 1992
  • Post, Richard F.; Santarius, John F.
  • Fusion Technology, Vol. 22, Issue 1, p. 13-26
  • DOI: 10.13182/FST92-A30049

Magnetic Fusion for Space Propulsion
journal, May 1992

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