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Gradient Field Imploding Liner Fusion Propulsion System: NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Phase I Final ReportThe advancement of human deep space exploration requires the continued development of energetic in-space propulsion systems, from current chemical engines to nuclear thermal rockets to future high energy concepts such as nuclear fusion. As NASA embarks on a program to develop near-term nuclear thermal propulsion, this NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I activity was funded to investigate the feasibility of an innovative approach toward highly energetic pulsed fusion propulsion. Previous concept studies have proposed the conversion of fusion energy for in-space propulsion, ranging from laser-ignited fusion systems such as Gevaltig and VISTA, to the British Interplanetary Society's Daedalus concept and its more recent incarnation under Project Icarus, to steady-state spherical torus fusion systems. Recent NIAC studies have also evaluated several innovative fusion concepts, including the acceleration and compression of field reversed configuration plasmas in time-changing magnetic fields, magnetically driven liners imploding onto plasma targets, and high current z-pinch compression of material liners onto fission-fusion fuel targets. While each of these studies firmly established the potential benefits of fusion systems for interplanetary travel, they also identified significant challenges in successfully engineering such systems for spacecraft propulsion. The concept outlined in this Technical Publication (TP) builds on the lessons learned from these prior activities, approaching the quest for fusion-powered propulsion through an innovative variation of magneto-inertial fusion concepts developed for terrestrial power applications.
Document ID
20180006825
Document Type
Technical Publication (TP)
Authors
Lapointe, M. R. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Adams, R. B. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Cassibry, J. (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Zweiner, M. (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Gilland, J. H. (Ohio Aerospace Inst. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
October 24, 2018
Publication Date
September 1, 2018
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
M-1471
MSFC-E-DAA-TN53878
NASA/TP-2018-219996
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: GRC-OAI
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Portions of document may include copyright protected material.

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