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Nuclear Propulsion Through Direct Conversion of Fusion Energy
John Slough

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The future of manned space exploration and development of space depends critically on the creation of a vastly more efficient propulsion architecture for in-space transportation. Nuclear-powered rockets can provide the large energy density gain required. A small scale, low cost path to fusion-based propulsion is to be investigated. It is accomplished by employing the propellant to compress and heat a magnetized plasma to fusion conditions, and thereby channel the fusion energy released into heating only the propellant. Passage of the hot propellant through a magnetic nozzle rapidly converts this thermal energy into both directed (propulsive) energy and electrical energy.