Antimatter Assisted Inertial Confinement Fusion Propulsion Systems for Interstellar Missions


R.J. Halyard (1999), JBIS52, 429-433

Refcode: 1999.52.429

Current developments such as the Ion Compressed Antimatter Nuclear (ICAN-II) propulsion system proposed by the Pennsylvania State University Center for Space Propulsion Engineering open the way to the possible use of available supplies of antiprotons to power antimatter assisted inertial confinement fusion (AAICF) propulsion systems for interstellar missions. Analysis indicates that light weight AAICF propulsion systems with specific impulses in excess of seven hundred thousand seconds may be feasible within the next 30 years. AAICF should prove to be the optimum propulsion system since it possesses high thrust, low weight and high exhaust velocity. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the potential of AAICF propulsion for interstellar missions such as NASA Administrator Dan Goldin’s Alpha Centauri Flyby and a Barnard’s Star Orbital Mission, and to compare these projections with previous performance estimates for ICF Laser Beam propulsion systems.