Advanced Deuterium Fusion Rocket Propulsion for Manned Deep Space Missions

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F. Winterberg (2009), JBIS, 62, 386-401

Refcode: 2009.62.386
Keywords: Deuterium micro-bomb propulsion, Manned space flight, Oort cloud, Einstein gravitational lens focus, Interstel- lar exploration

Excluding speculations about future breakthrough discoveries in physics, it is shown that with what is at present known, and also what is technically feasible, manned space flight to the limits of the solar system and beyond deep into the Oort cloud is quite possible. Using deuterium as the rocket fuel of choice, abundantly available on the comets of the Oort cloud, rockets driven by deuterium fusion can there be refuelled. To obtain a high thrust with high specific impulse favours the propulsion by deuterium micro-bombs, and it is shown that the ignition of deuterium micro-bombs is possible by intense GeV proton beams, generated in space by using the entire spacecraft as a magnetically insulated billion volt capacitor. The cost to develop this kind of a propulsion system in space would be very high, but it can also be developed on Earth by a magnetically insulated Super Marx Generator. Since the ignition of deuterium is theoretically possible with the Super Marx Generator, making obsolete the ignition of deuterium-tritium with a laser, where 80% of the energy goes into neutrons, this would also mean a breakthrough in fusion research, and therefore would justify the large development costs.

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