Princeton Satellite Systems Awarded NASA NIAC Phase II Grant for Fusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander

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An advanced nuclear fusion reactor for space propulsion and terrestrial power generation.

Orbiting Pluto

Princeton Satellite Systems, developer of advanced technology for the aerospace and energy industries, was awarded a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase II grant for its work to develop an advanced rocket propulsion system for space operations. Princeton Satellite Systems is teamed with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory managed by Princeton University, and MIT on this grant. The technology is based on the Princeton Field Reversed Configuration fusion reactor invented by Dr. Samuel Cohen of PPPL. This new propulsion system will dramatically reduce the cost and duration of human and robotic missions in space and permit new missions that were heretofore impossible. The award is for the development of a mission to orbit Pluto, reaching it in less than four years. In contrast, the recent New Horizons mission to Pluto took nine years to reach the distant dwarf planet. The engine will facilitate many other scientific explorations. One is a proposed mission to fly a telescope to a distance of 550 astronomical units from the Sun in order to use the enormous mass of the Sun as a gravitational lens to view exoplanets in distant star systems. It could also be used to send humans to Mars in a time much shorter than what is possible with conventional technology, and it would enable large human bases on Mars and the moon. This reactor could also be used for a wide variety of terrestrial power applications including modular power plants, propulsion systems for submarines and aircraft, and remote power for civilian and military applications. The $500K grant will include research on the fundamental physics of the fusion engine and the design of the subsystems needed to make the reactor a reality.

Princeton Satellite Systems was founded in 1992 by Mr. Michael Paluszek to develop advanced technology for space and terrestrial applications. The company has produced control systems for geosynchronous satellites, formation flying algorithms for space robots, high efficiency vertical axis wind turbines and solar systems for home and electric vehicle charging. The company developed a two stage to orbit launch vehicle concept that would dramatically reduce the cost of launching satellites into space, The company sells design software worldwide and has been awarded numerous patents.

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Michael Paluszek
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