NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Lunar He-3, fusion propulsion, and space developmentThe recent identification of a substantial lunar resource of the fusion energy fuel He-3 may provide the first terrestrial market for a lunar commodity and, therefore, a major impetus to lunar development. The impact of this resource-when burned in D-He-3 fusion reactors for space power and propulsion-may be even more significant as an enabling technology for safe, efficient exploration and development of space. One possible reactor configuration among several options, the tandem mirror, illustrates the potential advantages of fusion propulsion. The most important advantage is the ability to provide either fast, piloted vessels or high-payload-fraction cargo vessels due to a range of specific impulses from 50 sec to 1,000,000 sec at thrust-to-weight ratios from 0.1 to 5x10(exp -5). Fusion power research has made steady, impressive progress. It is plausible, and even probable, that fusion rockets similar to the designs presented here will be available in the early part of the twenty-first century, enabling a major expansion of human presence into the solar system.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Santarius, John F.
(Wisconsin Univ. Madison, WI, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Johnson Space Center, The Second Conference on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, Volume 1
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available