A feasibility study and mission analysis for the Hybrid Plume Plasma RocketThe Hybrid Plume Plasma Rocket (HPPR) is a high power electric propulsion concept which is being developed at the MIT Plasma Fusion Center. This paper presents a theoretical overview of the concept as well as the results and conclusions of an independent study which has been conducted to identify and categorize those technologies which require significant development before the HPPR can be considered a viable electric propulsion device. It has been determined that the technologies which require the most development are high power radio-frequency and microwave generation for space applications and the associated power processing units, low mass superconducting magnets, a reliable, long duration, multi-megawatt space nuclear power source, and long term storage of liquid hydrogen propellant. In addition to this, a mission analysis of a one-way transfer from low earth orbit (LEO) to Mars indicates that a constant acceleration thrust profile, which can be obtained using the HPPR, results in faster trip times and greater payload capacities than those afforded by more conventional constant thrust profiles.
Sullivan, Daniel J. (Pennsylvania State Univ. University Park, PA, United States)
Micci, Michael M. (Pennsylvania State University University Park, United States)