To innovate future technologies while promoting a sustainable future, Princeton Satellite Systems and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have proposed a revolutionary direct-drive, fusion-powered rocket engine. Compact and clean-burning, the Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) can generate controllable power from 1-10 MW with high thrust and high specfic power.
Equipped with this engine:
Other possible applications include asteroid mining and space-based radar. PSS has also developed the Fusion Propulsion Module to help with fusion propulsion design. A diagram of the DFD with more information is shown below.
2016 NIAC award: Fusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander
New Scientist: "Our top 5 wacky NASA missions that might just happen," which includes the DFD Pluto mission.
Princetoninfo.com (US 1): At PPPL: Fusion for Energy, Eggs, and More. December 16, 2015. [PDF]
Time.com: Going to Mars via Fusion Power? Could Be. September, 2013.
New York Times article that discusses the 100 Year Starship Symposium October 18, 2011. Some of the information in the article may have come from our paper.
A direct fusion drive for rocket propulsion, Yosef S Razin, Gary Pajer, Mary Breton, Eric Ham, Joseph Mueller, Michael Paluszek, Alan H Glasser and Samuel A Cohen, Acta Astronautica, Number 1, pp 145--155, December, 2014.
Direct Fusion Drive, presented at the 20th Advanced Space Propulsion Workshop, S. Thomas, M. Paluszek, and S. Cohen, November, 2014.
Direct Fusion Drive for a Human Mars Orbital Mission, Michael Paluszek, Gary Pajer, Yosef Razin, James Slonaker, Samuel Cohen, Russ Feder, Kevin Griffin and Matthew Walsh, International Astronautical Congress, October, 2014.
Compact Aneutronic Fusion Engine, Y. Razin, M. Paluszek, E. Ham, G. Pajer, J. Mueller, S. Cohen, A. H. Glasser International Astronautical Congress, Naples, October 2012.
Modular Aneutronic Fusion Engine, G. Pajer, Y. Razin, M. Paluszek, A. H. Glasser, S. Cohn, Space Propulsion 2012, May 2012.
Modular Aneutronic Fusion Engine for an Alpha Centauri Mission, M. Paluszek, S, Hurley, G. Pajer, S. Thomas, J. Mueller, S. Cohen, D. Welch, DARPA 100 Year Starship Conference, September 2011.
Magnetic Fusion Engine, N. N. Gorelenkov, L. E. Zakharov, M. A. Paluszek and P. Bhatta, Magnetic Fusion Engine, in Proc. 43rd AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference, Cincinnati, July, 2007.
"In Space Startup Method for Nuclear Fusion Rocket Engines," Paluszek, M., Ham, E., Cohen, S., and Razin, Y. Patent Pending, August 2013, Publication Number 20150055740.
"Method To Reduce Neutron Production in Small Clean Fusion Reactors," S. Cohen, Patent Pending, US 13/33767, 2012.
"Method To Produce High Specific Impulse and Moderate Thrust From a Fusion-Powered Rocket Engine," S. Cohen, G. Pajer, M. Paluszek, Y. Razin, Patent Pending, US 61/645459, 2012.