Pulsar Fusion Collaborates with Princeton Satellite Systems for Nuclear Fusion Propulsion

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Pulsar Fusion, known for developing sustainable space propulsion systems through fusion technology, is entering into a research collaboration with Princeton Satellite Systems (PSS) to explore the potential application of machine learning in advancing fusion propulsion for feasible interstellar space travel. This joint effort will analyze data from the Princeton field-reverse configuration (PFRC-2) reactor, offering insight into plasma behavior in an aneutronic fusion propulsion system.

This study seeks to decode the behavior of plasma under electromagnetic heating and containment as part of a fusion propulsion system. Its outcomes could define how nuclear fusion plasma will behave as it exits a rocket engine, releasing exhaust particles at high velocities, ultimately making significant distances in space travel achievable within months or years rather than a lifetime.

PSS and Pulsar Fusion will utilize plasma shots data from the PFRC-2 reactor, developed in cooperation with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), employing machine learning technologies to examine fusion plasma behavior in a rocket engine configuration.

"Considering the burgeoning need for faster propulsion in the growing space economy, fusion provides 1,000 times the power of conventional ion thrusters currently in use," stated Richard Dinan, Founder and CEO of Pulsar Fusion. He affirmed the inevitability of fusion propulsion in space if humans succeed in achieving fusion for energy, anticipating that this propulsion method could be demonstrated in space much sooner than we can harness fusion for terrestrial energy.


Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) rocket propulsion could significantly shorten transit times to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and even beyond the solar system. With a DFD system, the fusion reactor generates energy, creating a plasma of electrically charged particles that can be converted into thrust via a rotating magnetic field. As Stephanie Thomas, Vice President of PSS, puts it, DFD technology has the potential to "reach deep space destinations much faster and with vast amounts of power."

The study will involve Pulsar Fusion engineers creating simulations based on gas puffing data from the PFRC-2, intending to produce predictive ion and electron behavior simulations in a field-reversed configuration (FRC) plasma. These accurate predictive simulations are crucial for the development of future PFRC reactors suitable for rocket propulsion.

Pulsar Fusion works with nuclear fusion propulsion. PSS, an aerospace R&D company, is collaborating with PPPL on developing Direct Fusion Drive, a revolutionary fusion-powered rocket engine concept.