This article is being redone as there were significant inaccuracies derived from the source material. The Advanced Vehicle Research Center is in fact *not* pursuing fusion propulsion research anywhere, for anyone. The organization that is in fact pursuing this research is the World Institute for Science and Engineering (WISE). The plan is for one of the founders to be interviewed by Sander Olson next week, and for accurate material to be posted then as soon as possible. Inertial Electrostatic Fusion received somewhere between $8M and $10M in funding for the Bussard reactor program at EMC2 fusion recently. The now deceased Robert Bussard had proposed more advanced fusion propulsion if IEC fusion worked the way he envisioned. Last year Nextbigfuture interviewed Dr Richard Nebel who is running the IEC fusion reactor project and he indicated that we will know the viability for commercial fusion (and space propulsion is easier than commercial fusion) within two years.
Fusion Ship II, is a 750 MW thrust manned space vehicle in the 500 metric ton class, using Inertial Electrostatic Fusion (IEC), with outer
planet trip times of several months.
A proton energy gain (power in 14.7-MeV protons/input electric power)
of > 9 is required for acceptable radiator mass and size.
The propulsion system is based on NSTAR-extrapolated Argon ion thrusters operating at 35,000 seconds and a total thrust of 4,370 N. Round trip travel time for a typical Jupiter mission ΔV of 202,000 m/s is then 363 days.
Last year Nextbigfuture interviewed Dr Richard Nebel who is running the IEC fusion reactor project and he indicated that we will know the viability for commercial fusion (and space propolsion is easier than commercial fusion) within two years