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Mirror fusion propulsion system: A performance comparison with alternate propulsion systems for the manned Mars MissionThe performance characteristics of several propulsion technologies applied to piloted Mars missions are compared. The characteristics that are compared are Initial Mass in Low Earth Orbit (IMLEO), mission flexibility, and flight times. The propulsion systems being compared are both demonstrated and envisioned: Chemical (or Cryogenic), Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) solid core, NTR gas core, Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP), and a mirror fusion space propulsion system. The proposed magnetic mirror fusion reactor, known as the Mirror Fusion Propulsion System (MFPS), is described. The description is an overview of a design study that was conducted to convert a mirror reactor experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) into a viable space propulsion system. Design principles geared towards minimizing mass and maximizing power available for thrust are identified and applied to the LLNL reactor design, resulting in the MFPS. The MFPS' design evolution, reactor and fuel choices, and system configuration are described. Results of the performance comparison shows that the MFPS minimizes flight time to 60 to 90 days for flights to Mars while allowing continuous return-home capability while at Mars. Total MFPS IMLEO including propellant and payloads is kept to about 1,000 metric tons.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Schulze, Norman R.
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Carpenter, Scott A.
(California Univ. Berkeley. Lawrence Berkeley Lab., United States)
Deveny, Marc E.
(McDonnell-Douglas Corp. Huntington Beach, CA, United States)
Oconnell, T.
(O'Connell, T., Placentia CA., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1993
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
AIAA PAPER 93-2094
NAS 1.15:109248
Meeting Information
Meeting: Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
Location: Monterey, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: June 28, 1993
End Date: June 30, 1993
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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