Feasibility of an antiproton catalyzed fission fragment rocket

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The purpose of this project was to investigate the feasibility of an antiproton catalyzed fission fragment rocket (FFR). The FFR is characterized by the extraction of fission fragments from the fissile fuel, and the utilization of their kinetic energy for thrust generation. A significant drawback to previous FFR designs was the requirement to maintain a critical nuclear pile as the fission fragment source. The author examined the possibility of replacing the critical pile with a sub-critical pile driven by antiprotons. Recent experiments have revealed that antiprotons stimulate highly energetic fissions in {sup 238}U, with a neutron multiplicity of 13.7 neutrons ... continued below

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71 p.

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Hdinger, D.S. March 1, 1992.

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Description

The purpose of this project was to investigate the feasibility of an antiproton catalyzed fission fragment rocket (FFR). The FFR is characterized by the extraction of fission fragments from the fissile fuel, and the utilization of their kinetic energy for thrust generation. A significant drawback to previous FFR designs was the requirement to maintain a critical nuclear pile as the fission fragment source. The author examined the possibility of replacing the critical pile with a sub-critical pile driven by antiprotons. Recent experiments have revealed that antiprotons stimulate highly energetic fissions in {sup 238}U, with a neutron multiplicity of 13.7 neutrons per fission. This interaction was used as a throttled neutron source. The pile consisted of layers of fissile coated fibers which are designed to allow fission fragments to escape them, where the fragments collide with a fluid. The heated fluid is then ejected from the rocket to provide thrust. The calculations performed indicate that each antiproton injected into the pile can stimulate 8 or more fissions while maintaining a neutron multiplication of less than 0.4. Based on the results seen, the engine design presented is inadequate. Limitations introduced by the reaction fluid far outweigh the simplicity-of-design gained. Despite this, the basic idea of using the antiproton-U interaction as a source of spacecraft propulsion warrants further study.

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71 p.

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OSTI as DE99001601

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  • Other Information: TH: Thesis (M.S.)

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  • Other: DE99001601
  • Report No.: DOE/SF/17799--T1
  • Report No.: AFIT/GNE/ENP--92M-03
  • Grant Number: AI03-88SF17799
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 307939
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc684962

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • March 1, 1992

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • May 16, 2016, 3:52 p.m.

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Hdinger, D.S. Feasibility of an antiproton catalyzed fission fragment rocket, thesis or dissertation, March 1, 1992; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc684962/: accessed October 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.