NASA STTR 2017 Solicitation
FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY
|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||171 T2.01-9984|
|RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:||Advanced Nuclear Propulsion|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||Nuclear Propulsion through Direct Conversion of Fusion Energy|
|SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC):||RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):|
|NAME:||MSNW, LLC||NAME:||University of Washington|
|STREET:||8551 154th Avenue Northeast||STREET:||4333 Brooklyn Ave NE Box 359472|
|STATE/ZIP:||WA 98052 - 3557||STATE/ZIP:||WA 98195 - 9742|
|PHONE:||(425) 867-8900||PHONE:||(206) 543-4043|
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Plasma Dynamics Lab 8551 154th Avenue Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052 - 3557
CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
8551 154th Avenue Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052 - 3557
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Advanced Nuclear Propulsion is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?
TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Manned space exploration depends critically on a vastly more proficient propulsion architecture for in-space transportation. The key reason for developing a nuclear powered rocket is the vast energy density gain of nuclear fuel when compared to chemical combustion. Current nuclear fusion efforts are wholly inappropriate for space transportation as the application of a reactor-based fusion-electric system creates a colossal mass and heat rejection problem in space. The Fusion Driven Rocket (FDR) represents a revolutionary approach to fusion propulsion where the power source releases its energy directly into the propellant, not requiring conversion to electricity. Several lithium metal shells are magnetically driven by induction to converge radially and axially and form a thick blanket surrounding the target plasmoid and compressing it to fusion conditions. The lithium is rapidly vaporized, ionized and accelerated to high exhaust velocity (> 30 km/s) as virtually all of the radiant, neutron and particle energy from the fusion plasma is absorbed by the encapsulating, metal blanket thereby isolating the spacecraft from the fusion process and eliminating the need for large radiator mass. This energy, in addition to the intense Ohmic heating at peak magnetic field compression, is. T, while having no significant physical interaction with the spacecraft limiting the thermal heat load and thus radiator mass. The FDR can be realized with little extrapolation from existing technology, at high specific power (~ 1 kW/kg), at a reasonable mass scale (<100 mt), and cost. The prime objective of the phase I project is to address the most critical element of the FDR concept, that is the validation of the fusion physics by an experimental demonstration of fusion energy production at a scale that would justify the FDR prototype to be demonstrated in phase II can reach fusion gain conditions (TRL 4) and justify the future investment required to fully develop the FDR concept.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The most significant commercial application by far for the proposed Fusion Driven Rocket propulsion system would be the enabling of a wide range of manned and unmanned planetary missions with a rapid Mars mission as the most significant first step.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The basic methodology for fusion energy generation employed in the Fusion Driven Rocket has the clear application to electrical power generation producing no atmospheric carbon while avoiding the hazardous waste and nuclear proliferation issues. Near term applications include medical isotope production and materials irradiation, likely providing the first commercial spinoffs from the FDR.
TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)
Spacecraft Main Engine