Colliding beam fusion reactor space propulsion system

Wessel, Frank J.; Binderbauer, Michl W.; Rostoker, Norman; Rahman, Hafiz Ur; O’Toole, Joseph
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p1425
Academic Journal
We describe a space propulsion system based on the Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor (CBFR). The CBFR is a high-beta, field-reversed, magnetic configuration with ion energies in the range of hundreds of keV. Repetitively-pulsed ion beams sustain the plasma distribution and provide current drive. The confinement physics is based on the Vlasov-Maxwell equation, including a Fokker Planck collision operator and all sources and sinks for energy and particle flow. The mean azimuthal velocities and temperatures of the fuel ion species are equal and the plasma current is unneutralized by the electrons. The resulting distribution functions are thermal in a moving frame of reference. The ion gyro-orbit radius is comparable to the dimensions of the confinement system, hence classical transport of the particles and energy is expected and the device is scaleable. We have analyzed the design over a range of 10[sup 6]-10[sup 9] Watts of output power (0.15–150 Newtons thrust) with a specific impulse of, I[sub sp]∼10[sup 6] sec. A 50 MW propulsion system might involve the following parameters: 4-meters diameter×10-meters length, magnetic field ∼7 Tesla, ion beam current ∼10 A, and fuels of either D-He[sup 3],P-B[sup 11],P-Li[sup 6],D-Li[sup 6], etc. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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