Application of the HeliosX ICF Advanced Propulsion Mission Analysis Code to Perturbed Interstellar Design Models


 Kelvin F. Long (2023), JBIS, 76, pp.94-111

Refcode: 2023.76.094


HeliosX is a system integrated programming design tool which has the purpose of calculating spacecraft mission profile and propulsion performance for inertial confinement fusion (ICF) driven designs. This code uses the vehicle configuration input and capsule assumptions and then calculates the likely mission profile for a given destination target. The key technology is the inclusion of the fusion propulsion system and an adequate modelling of its likely energy outputs. This paper discusses calculations for perturbed design concepts from a baseline model in both series and parallel thrust mode. These new concepts are collectively known as the advanced baseline models which are presented in preliminary form under the names Resolution, Endeavour and Pegasus. These are for missions to 4.3 ly in trip times of less than 100 years for flyby and rendezvous configurations carrying a 150 tons payload. The designs utilise an ICF capsule mass of 0.288 g filled with D-3He fuel detonated at a pulse frequency in the range 100-150 Hz. The calculations show that the propulsion systems are characterised by thrusts 0.3-2 MNkg-1, jet powers 1.2-9.2 TW and specific powers 2.9-5.1 MWkg-1 for interstellar missions at 0.045-0.049c. In addition to the preliminary mission performance calculations we also discuss the philosophy and methodology used in the design evolution.

Keywords: Interstellar Studies, Fusion Propulsion, HeliosX, Project Icarus