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High Performance Manned Interplanetary Space Vehicle Using D-3He Inertial Electrostatic Fusion
R. Burton1, H. Momota2, N. Richardson1, M. Coventry2, Y. Shaban2 and G. H. Miley1
1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801
2NPL Associates, Inc,

Abstract
A preliminary system design is presented for a high performance 100 MWe manned space vehicle in the 500 metric ton class, based on Inertial Electrostatic Fusion (IEC), with trip times to the outer planets of several months.  An IEC is chosen because it simplifies structure results in a very high power to weight ratio.  The fusion reactor uses D-3He fuel which generates 14.7-MeV protons as the primary reaction product.  The propulsion system design philosophy is based on direct conversion of proton energy to electricity, avoiding the thermalization of the working fluid to maximize efficiency.  The principle system components crew compartment, electronics, fusion reactor, traveling wave direct energy converter, step-down transformer, rectifier, ion thruster and heat rejection radiators are described. 
Image of 100-MWe IEC Fusion Powered Space Craft with Ion Thruster Propulsion

The design requires that an IEC reactor with a proton energy gain (power in 14.7-MeV protons/input electric power) of 4 or better is necessary to keep radiator mass and size at acceptable levels.  Extrapolation of present laboratory scale IEC experiments to reactor relevant conditions is possible theoretically, but faces several open issues including stability under high-density conditions. Since unburned fusion fuels are recycled rather than exhausted with the propellant, problems of fuel weight and preservation of 3He are minimized. The 100-MWe propulsion system is based on NSTAR-extrapolated krypton ion thrusters operating at a specific impulse of 16,000 seconds and a total thrust of 1020 N. 

Thrust time for a typical outer planet mission ?V of 50,000 m/s is then ~200 days.

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