Brian Riordan | 1/17/2024
When you hear "fusion-powered spacecraft", a picture probably pops into your head pretty quick. What's it look like? A saucer-shaped hull with an offset cockpit? A chrome-clad rocket straight out of a golden-age pulp film? As it happens, we had a few ideas of our own. Avalanche Energy is proud to announce that we are working towards making the next generation of space exploration a reality.
Let us take you to the engine room. Any sci-fi fan will tell you that a fusion-powered spaceship needs three things:
We are happy to announce the real fusion-powered spaceship will have all those things: fusion plasma, ions orbiting within their confinement chamber, and even something glowing, even if it’s just Avalanche’s charming logo gently radiating a calm “all is well” light.
The render above shows Avalanche’s integrated fusion reactor, the Orbitron, on the far end of the craft. This integrated system was developed under contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and is optimized for in-space applications. Twin ion injectors jut off either side of the main body of the reactor, each with their own Deuterium and Tritium supplies and recyclers. A radiator is positioned between the Orbitron and the vessel's main body to reject waste heat, while an ionic thruster propels the system through the stars.
Like all other spacecraft starting their functional life on our pale blue dot, our fusion-powered craft will need a pretty solid kick to break free of Earth's gravity well. Our vessel’s size and mass will be constrained accordingly by the available launch service offerings of current chemical rockets.
Unlike its counterparts, our spacecraft can launch with decades of fuel strapped to its back, at the cost of no more than a few grams; no giant tanks of cryo-fuel, fossil fuels, or batteries required. It can travel the deep void of space or loiter in the shadow of astral bodies without issue. No solar radiation? No problem! Our model is B.Y.O.S.
We are thrilled to announce that this project is underway, but there is still work to be done before you’ll be able to scan the skies for that cerulean glow. The Avalanche team is currently building both its Gen 3 and Gen 4 reactors, and will soon be running tests on three prototypes simultaneously. We are working to make this vision a reality as quickly as possible.
As we work towards a new benchmark of space operations, it is not lost on us that our long-term focus remains here on the ground. Our partners at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) have helped fund these space-borne Orbitron system designs, accelerating the timeline for both a fusion future in space, and its application on Earth.