This new nuclear fusion rocket will help us escape the Solar System in our lifetime

Nuclear fusion rockets developed by a company could enable mankind to leave the Solar System in the near future.

Rockets propelled by nuclear fusion could be closer than you think.

According to a press release, UK rocket manufacturer Pulsar Fusion has received money from the UK Space Agency to aid in the development of "integrated nuclear fission-based power systems for electric propulsion."

To make their concept of green rocket technology, in the form of fusion propulsion, a reality, they will work with the Universities of Cambridge and Southampton as well as the Nuclear AMRC.

The goal of Pulsar Fusion is to one day use nuclear fusion to create hypersonic rocket technology. The Sun and the stars have been generating enormous quantities of energy for eons via nuclear fusion.

According to Pulsar Fusion's news release, "although nuclear fusion may be the solution to the energy dilemma, it is also the solution to in-orbit satellite management and deep space exploration. According to [Pulsar], fusion propulsion is the sole means by which humans will ever be able to depart the solar system in their lifetime.

The goal of scientists everywhere is to use nuclear fusion to produce energy on Earth, but this goal has not yet been achieved. Before achieving its ultimate aim, Pulsar Fusion could need to wait for improvements in that technology, however it might also enhance efforts to develop commercially viable nuclear fusion technologies.

The firm also produces a variety of rocket engines in the meantime. This includes the biggest and most powerful electric spaceship engine ever tested in Europe, which was carried out independently by researchers at the University of Southampton in 2021 as part of a government-funded project.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) fuel, oxygen, and nitrous oxide (N2O) are burned in the "green" hybrid rocket engine developed by Pulsar Fusion. The liquid that has been oxidized under controlled pressure is fed into the combustion chamber via a control valve.

Near November of 2021, the business successfully tested their engine at the Cranfield Ordnance Test and Evaluation Centre (COTEC), a military installation run by the UK Ministry of Defence in Salisbury, Wilts. Prior to then, it completed successfully a worldwide demonstration for customers in the space industry in Switzerland.

“Pulsar has built and tested the most powerful electric propulsion engines in Europe,” Dr. James Lambert, Head of Operations at Pulsar, explained.

“Combining this part of our propulsion portfolio with nuclear fission reactor technology is perfectly suited to the company’s skillsets and I am delighted that this has been recognized by the UKSA. 

The project will help us to build relationships and gather important data that will contribute towards our longer-term ambitions for nuclear fusion propulsion.”

Additionally, Pulsar Fusion obtained financing from the UK government in September of last year to aid in the development of its Mach-7 Hall Effect Thruster, or HET, plasma satellite engines, which have particle exhaust speeds of 20 km/s. In the near future, the business wants to test its engines in space.

A nuclear fusion rocket prototype is something the UK rocket company has previously indicated it hopes to create by 2025. 

According to its most recent press release, the business is certain that it can create the "fusion-based infrastructure and propulsion technologies" needed to allow nuclear fusion rockets "in less than four years."

If it succeeds, that technology may also be adopted for Earth, which would change both how we travel through space and how we generate energy on Earth.


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