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Method and apparatus to produce high specific impulse and moderate thrust from a fusion-powered rocket engine

United States Patent

9,822,769
November 21, 2017
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A system and method for producing and controlling high thrust and desirable specific impulse from a continuous fusion reaction is disclosed. The resultant relatively small rocket engine will have lower cost to develop, test, and operate that the prior art, allowing spacecraft missions throughout the planetary system and beyond. The rocket engine method and system includes a reactor chamber and a heating system for heating a stable plasma to produce fusion reactions in the stable plasma. Magnets produce a magnetic field that confines the stable plasma. A fuel injection system and a propellant injection system are included. The propellant injection system injects cold propellant into a gas box at one end of the reactor chamber, where the propellant is ionized into a plasma. The propellant and fusion products are directed out of the reactor chamber through a magnetic nozzle and are detached from the magnetic field lines producing thrust.
Cohen; Samuel A. (Princeton, NJ), Pajer; Gary A. (Yardley, PA), Paluszek; Michael A. (Princeton, NJ), Razin; Yosef S. (Princeton, NJ)
Princeton Satellite Systems (Plainsboro, NJ), The Trustees of Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
14/ 400,204
20150098543
May 10, 2013
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT This invention was made with government support under Grant #DE-AC02-09CH11466 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in this invention.