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Antimatter Production for Near-Term Propulsion ApplicationsThis presentation discusses the use and potential of power generated from Proton-Antiproton Annihilation. The problem is that there is not enough production of anti-protons, and that the production methods are inefficient. The cost for 1 gram of antiprotons is estimated at 62.5 trillion dollars. Applications which require large quantities (i.e., about 1 kg) will require dramatic improvements in the efficiency of the production of the antiprotons. However, applications which involve small quantities (i.e., 1 to 10 micrograms may be practical with a relative expansion of capacities. There are four "conventional" antimatter propulsion concepts which are: (1) the solid core, (2) the gas core, (3) the plasma core, and the (4) beam core. These are compared in terms of specific impulse, propulsive energy utilization and vehicle structure/propellant mass ratio. Antimatter-catalyzed fusion propulsion is also evaluated. The improvements outlined in the presentation to the Fermilab production, and other sites. capability would result in worldwide capacity of several micrograms per year, by the middle of the next decade. The conclusions drawn are: (1) the Conventional antimatter propulsion IS not practical due to large p-bar requirement; (2) Antimatter-catalyzed systems can be reasonably considered this "solves" energy cost problem by employing substantially smaller quantities; (3) With current infrastructure, cost for 1 microgram of p-bars is $62.5 million, but with near-term improvements cost should drop; (4) Milligram-scale facility would require a $15 billion investment, but could produce 1 mg, at $0.1/kW-hr, for $6.25 million.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Gerrish, Harold P. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Schmidt, George R. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
April 7, 1999
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Distribution Limits