Helicity Space wants to get an afterburner on an electric propulsion system. It will be pulsed-power magneto inertial fusion concept. It is similar to z-pinch but more like helical pinch. It seems like they have exceeded the $5 million seed funding target. They will take 24-36 months (from 1 year ago) to get their lab system built and already have various components built and operating. The could now be 12-24 months from a working lab system at Caltech.
They generate the plasma, then pre-heat the ions and then compress to fusion and then mix it for propulsion exhaust.
The system mainly scales with the number of plasma guns. They will initially target 100 kilowatt hours of power to produce 50 kilowatts for generating high quality thrust and then scale 100 kilowatts powering 2 megawatt hours to produce thrust. They will then need to transition to more difficult to get to far more powerful systems. Various materials suggest they can get tens of newtons of thrust and then scale it to tens of thousands of newtons. The ISP would be 7000 to 160000.
The “large” system would get to 55-1000 newtons of thruyst with 30 plasma guns and convert about 100 kilowatts into 1-2 megawatts of power. The very large systems with 170 plasma guns could reach gigawatts of power and tens of thousands of newtons of thrust. Below are several charts describing specs for the planned scaling of the systems.
The screenshots of slides below go over scientific details and technical details of what they plan to do and how they plan to do it.
They plan to large systems with built about 30 plasma guns and able to reach the solar gravitational lens point (about 16 times further than Pluto) in less than 2 years.
It will start with D-D fusion and then scale to D-He3 fusion.
$500 million would be enough to generate an initial fusion system that can produce thrust and flown in space.
There will be larger and larger net energy gain as the systems evolve. It could lead this to great fusion drives as well as fusion energy on earth.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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6 thoughts on “Helicity Working to a Practical Fusion Drive with a Path to Large Ships at 1%+ Lightspeed”
Someone needs to get something working soon. Chemical rockets aren’t going to help us to do much but stay in earth orbits…
“They will initially target 100 kilowatt hours of power to produce 50 kilowatts of high quality thrust ”
Units, Brian! “Kilowatt hours” are energy, “kilowatts” are power!
Other than that, what the Goat said.
I was about to write the same thing except to add that thrust is *force* in Newtons.
I am using the units that they were quoting in some of their materials. I have edited to clarify the multiplier effect of the energy which is then used to produce newtons of force.
I love the graphics. I found a not-too-old bag of microwave popcorn, and I’m making it as I write this. Popcorn, and got a burger on the barbecue, and waiting for the fast-fusion to take off, since all the pretty pictures sez its so.
I mean a few million in seed capital, invested wisely from a cabal of elder investors, trying to make a decent return on their inflation depreciated retirement funds … compared to ITER or Macy’s or Sear’s MrFusion devices … really ought to cut the mustard.
At all not.
When magnificent results are preempted, yet fail to have even lab-top working engines that have also shown lab-table-top scaling through 3 or more generations of scaling … well, let’s say that the hype isn’t measuring up to the bubble.
So Sez Me,
The next article shows the progress to making the full lab prototype. Hopefully working till in 12-24 months
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