"Erin is researching propellant feed systems and helping to develop some of the pulsed power technologies we will use in future experiments," Dr. Cassibry said.
The scientists are repurposing machinery originally built for nuclear weapons research into a test facility for a spacecraft propulsion system based on nuclear fusion. The facility will produce an extremely brief pulse of plasma created by an equally brief nuclear fusion reaction. An engine producing these pulses could propel a spacecraft over interplanetary distances at great speeds.
"We are trying to research and develop fusion propulsion for rapid interplanetary space travel to Mars and the outer planets," Dr. Cassibry said. "We are currently making final repairs to the pulsed power system and setting up the control system. We have power to the machine and can already control some of the subsystems remotely."
Ahead is installation of a water filtration system and filling the tanks that store oil to cool the large capacitors used when operating the system.
"We are very excited by the opportunities which have been created by transporting Charger-1 to UAH and are working very hard to fulfill our goal of controlled fusion for advanced space propulsion," Dr. Cassibry said.
He added that the group recently worked with
Having the equipment nearly ready to go has generated other interest.
"We will be starting a Phase I project being led by the
The Marshall Space Flight Center is a crown jewel in
A next-generation rocket, the Space Launch System, or SLS, is under development at
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