NASA NIAC Phase 2- Extreme Solar Sailing

Solar sails allow a low cost pathway to high speed and ubiquitous exploration of the outer solar system and interstellar space. A slingshot maneuver ~2-5 solar radii distant from the sun can propel light-weight cubesat class spacecraft to near-relativistic speeds. They can reach 0.1% of the speed of light (over 300 km/s or restated as …

Read more

Converting Solar Wind and Interstellar Plasma Drag into Propulsion

The Plasma Magnet work sponsored by NIAC in 2004-2005 developed a means of producing drag against the interplanetary solar wind or interstellar medium with high drag-to-mass ratio. A new class of reaction drive is discussed, in which reaction mass is expelled from a vehicle using power extracted from the relative motion of the vehicle and …

Read more

Scalable New Fusion Drive

The Helicity Drive concept is a novel magneto-inertial fusion concept designed for a fusion space propulsion system. It has promising Lawson criterion performance scaling with input geometry resulting in power output that is uniquely scalable across thrust power classes (10s kW to GW levels) at high specific power. It exploits magnetic reconnection as a fast, …

Read more

Progress to Ultralight 16 Square Meter Nanocrystal Solar Sails for Breakthrough Starshot

Breakthrough Starship wants to use a 100 Gigawatt laser array to push an ultralight 4 meter X 4 meter nanocrystal solar sail. StarChip is the name used by Breakthrough Initiatives for a very small, centimeter-sized, gram-scale, interstellar spacecraft envisioned for the Breakthrough Starshot program. The light sail is envisioned to be no larger than 4 …

Read more

Direct Laser Propulsion For Earth-Mars in 30 Days and Eventually 2.5 Days

Limitless Space Institute gave out nine interstellar space-related grants for about $1 million to 2 million each. Phil Lubin’s direct laser propulsion group received a grant and they will use to prove out their directed laser propulsion system at the 10-20 watt level. They are also working on components at the kilowatt to tens of …

Read more

Extreme Solar Sails Will Slingshot Around the Sun to 0.1% of Lightspeed

Solar sails made out of extreme metamaterials, nanostructured and with some ceramics will be able to withstand over 1000 degrees celsius. They will reach slingshot within 2-5 solar radii of the sun, which is 2 to 4 times closer than the Parker solar probe. The solar sails should cost about $10 million per launch and …

Read more

DARPA Laser Version of EMDrive Has a Test Result Better Than Commercial Ion Drive

If we could have a space drive that did not use fuel then we could accelerate for decades using a nuclear power source. This would allow a spacecraft with a tiny amount of propulsion to accelerate to near light speed. DARPA has been funding the Nascent Light-Matter Interactions (NLM) project for about three years. This …

Read more