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Advanced Space Propulsion

High-Power FRC Propulsion

The goal of this program is to experimentally investigate the physics behind differing methods of FRC formation and acceleration to better understand the scaling laws and optimal operating conditions of high-power FRC propulsion concepts, including the ELF and NET thrusters. 


Neutral Entrainment Thruster

The Neutral Entrainment Thruster (NET) program is developing an electromagnetic thruster capable of entraining and accelerating neutrals in a propellant stream, reducing the effective ionization cost while increasing the efficiency and thrust-to-power ratio of FRC thrusters.


High-Speed Plasma Diagnostics

The goal of this AFOSR funded program is to develop high-speed optical plasma diagnostics to provide fundamental understanding of the interaction between supersonic non-equilibrium electric propulsion plasmas and the low-density background gas of vacuum test facilities.



Fusion Driven Rocket

The Fusion Driven Rocket (FDR) directly converts fusion thermal energy resulting from an inductively compressed liner into both directed (propulsive) energy and electrical energy. The energy density of fusion fuel is vastly larger than conventional chemical propellants, making FDR an enabling technology for rapid travel throughout the solar system. 


Materials Analysis of Transient Plasma-Wall Interactions

The aim of this program is to discover and develop fundamental and integrated science among materials science, electric propulsion, and electro energetic physics that advances not only pulsed plasma thruster development but any future space power and propulsion concepts based on high energy density plasmas.