Architectures based on direct fission fragment energy conversion for interstellar exploration Conference Paper uri icon


  • The present study is focused on evaluating technologically feasible system architectures that are capable to support interstellar robotic exploration missions. The central technology is based on direct fission fragment energy conversion utilizing magnetic collimation. Critical fission configurations and source-driven fission configurations are explored accounting for anticipated mission power and propulsion. The results of the analysis will be discussed in the paper. The systems based on fission fragment energy conversion combine several advantageous design solutions, which have been proposed for application in both fission and fusion reactors, into an innovative architecture that can offers exceptional energy conversion efficiency and propulsion capabilities. The analysis takes into consideration a wide range of operational aspects including fuel element array design, collimators-collectors, long-term performance, energy conversion efficiency, heat removal, safety characteristics, mission duration and interstellar mission bounds. The analysis methods and modeling approaches, specific characteristics of the individual system components and the entire system, path forward towards deployment are discussed. Consistent analysis and evaluation of the technological feasibility of the concept were achieved using state-of-the-art computer codes that allowed realistic and consistent modeling.

published proceedings

  • American Nuclear Society - 3rd Topical Meeting on Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space 2009, NETS 2009

author list (cited authors)

  • Tsvetkov, P. V., & Guy, T. L.

complete list of authors

  • Tsvetkov, PV||Guy, TL

publication date

  • December 2009