Antimatter Catalyzed Fusion Propulsion Update

Ryan Weed updates the work at Positron Dynamics at Space Access 2019.
Positron Dynamics has completed the NASA NIAC study. They are applying for some Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

Positron Dynamics will use Krypton isotopes to generate positrons. They would breed more Krypton isotopes. They sidestep the issue of antimatter storage. It would take 10 school buses of volume at the Brillouin limit to trap 1 microgram.

They are slowing the positrons that are generated.
Krypton 79 isotope to generate hot positrons.
Use their system to moderate the positrons so they can be used.

They then use the Positrons to catalyze nuclear fusion. Neutrons from nuclear fusion can then breed more Krypton 79.

They have done momentum transfer and deuterium loading experiments.

There would be 1-10% momentum transfer from catalyzed fusion propulsion.

They need one trillion positrons to generate nuclear fusion events according to the Lawson Criteria.
Energy balance and 2-D pic models indicate maybe 100 billion positrons would be needed.

They have worked on the isotope breeding. They needed to get the Krypton densified. The amount of Krypton 79 that can be generated is limited by source geometry.

They have a system designed for an 100-ton asteroid capture mission with a delta-V of 60 kilometers per second. It would be 20 times lighter than NASA solar electric mission.

They need to efficiently create more isotope to get more positrons instead of using magnetic storage.

They are working on a bragg laser mirror using aerogels. Their processes for positron moderation overlap with making bragg laser mirrors. Light mirrors for laser sail propulsion.

They are also working to get to 100 watts per kilogram for a nuclear battery using aerogel and graphene layers.

SOURCES – Live Coverage of Ryan Weed Positron Dynamics presentation at Space Access 2019, Youtube presentation and Positron Dynamics
Written by Brian Wang,

17 thoughts on “Antimatter Catalyzed Fusion Propulsion Update”

  1. Muon fusion? I did not see any reference to muons. Thought he was claiming that cold positrons somehow stimulate fusion in deuterium adsorbed to palladium.

  2. I will talk to about getting the mobile commenting fixed. Sorry for the difficulty. I installed a new AMP plugin and have to get all of the configuration sorted.

  3. Does anyone know any reason why firing cold positrons (or fast ones, for that matter) at a block of “15 psi deuterium loaded palladium” (or any other kind of deuterium) should have any effect at all on fusion? deuterium loaded palladium is a cold fusion (excuse me, LENR) thing. This looks like cold fusion with positrons. I thought at first maybe they were talking about heat from the annihilation events at the surface causing an implosion of a pellet, but the energy from a trillion positrons annihilation is laughably inadequate (.00016 Joules), and the way they drew the diagram does not look like they are feeding a series of pellets to be blown up, it looks like charged particles mysteriously emanating from the surface of the “dense deuterium”. Certainly if the “fast charged particles” are alpha particles and they are not blowing up the target, they could only be escaping from the very outermost surface.

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  5. Goodyear blimp: Google: About 1,030,000 results (0.49 seconds). Seen one blimp seen them all? Probably. Though, I have seen some smaller ones occasionally.
    A Goodyear blimp has accompanied virtually every big outdoor sporting event with good weather in the US for 90+ years. More recently there have been others: MetLife, and Fuji.
    Shipload was a British standard: 949,760 lb
    The smaller bales used to be the only bales then those big round ones came along, just the machines handle.
    When people say pickup truck load, they usually mean what will fit in there and be legal, the mass limit is not usually an issue. 1/4 ton is just a name. The trucks are much stronger than that. 1/4 tons can handle about 3/4 tons within spec. More, out of spec, but driven slowly on good quality roads…at your own risk.
    I was not advocating any of these in particular…well…other than the Aircraft carrier and Golden Gate Bridge. Just trying to say this is not an unusual thing to do, to make things visualizable for the majority of the audience. Better to have some people comprehend than no one.

  6. No, see you’ve done it yourself.
    I’ve never seen a Goodyear blimp. There are three (currently) species of Elephant. Ships? Range of a couple of orders of magnitude between the largest and smallest. Hay bales come in two sizes I’m familiar with with one about 10 times the size of the other. Olympic pools aren’t too bad. Bathtubs are all over the place. And pickup trucks range from about 1/4 tonne to 2 tonne payloads.

    I have seen the USS Midway aircraft carrier. It was fairly memorable so I’ll give you that one.

  7. Standard ISO cargo containers is a more regular unit, but there is always 35% of the audience who do not know what that is. Everyone knows what a school bus is, even if they are not standardized. They used to use elephants a lot, but then you have 2 species that are not the same size and both sexes are not the same size. Hay bales, barrels, shiploads (1=949,760 lb), Olympic swimming pools (1=88,263 cubic feet), bath tubs full, dump trucks-full, semi truckloads, Goodyear blimps, and pickup truckloads are all common.
    The idea is to be able to visualize the volume or weight one is talking about…and have a number of them that is visualizable. If he used walrus testicles it would be a big number. If he used Melchizedeks (1Melchizedek=30 Liters) it might be a better fit, but very obscure.

    I like using Nimitz aircraft carriers when sizes are 1-10,000 Nimitz aircraft carriers (1=102,820 t). Hard to visualize more than 10,000 of anything (100 rows 100 columns). Here is a cool clock with 86,400 seconds: The annual ash from US coal plants is around the mass of 1,361 Nimitz aircraft carriers. If I say 140,000,000 tones, no one has any idea what that looks like, but most people can begin to visualize 1,361 aircraft carriers.

    My new big: Golden Gate Bridge 887,000 tons. 167 GGB of Coal ash/year.

  8. Well, I don’t think I have even seen a school bus in real life in my entire life. I couldn’t tell the volume of one even if I tried. Of course, we have a lot of other buses here in EU but I don’t know the volume of all those different models either. Internal volume? external volume? double-decker?
    I’m not taking this too seriously but it makes me sort of dismiss the entire article 6 sentences in. As you say, a serious targeting error for audience.

  9. Is this the same group that came out with an antimatter space drive a year or so ago, but they were making their antimatter using a nuclear reaction that energy balances showed could not possibly work? The end products just had a higher total of energy and mass than the input.

    Looks like that was the rough draft and they’ve tried for something more realistic for this round. Or at least harder to spot the flaws.

  10. This is just continuing the long, long tradition of converting perfectly good numerical examples into something that a very poorly educated school child would understand.
    Because that’s exactly the audience one would expect for a lecture on nuclear space projects.
    Extra bonus points if you choose an “everyday example” that is only familiar to a very small fraction of the audience. Many a lecture has taken something that any educated person would understand (say 5000 cubic metres) and made it “more relatable” by saying something like “the same size as a particular public building that only people in this one geographical area would even know about, let alone be familiar with”.
    Compared to such things, at least buses are fairly standard world wide.
    Why a school bus in particular was chosen is best left as an exercise to criminal psychiatrists because that is just messed up.

  11. Since when are we measuring volume in “school buses” ?

    Why not use cockroach bladders instead?

  12. I think laser compression of tiny pellets of D2T would be more likely successful. There has been a tremendous growth in laser power recently.

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