Princeton Satellite Systems, Inc. is a small company developing advanced technology for the aerospace and energy sectors. Our agility and focus enables us to rapidly develop innovative solutions to a wide range of aerospace and energy problems. Our commercial hardware and software products enable our customers to pursue the same types of demanding, state-of-the-art applications.

Our core values include a dedication to learning and an emphasis on innovation. We believe that each employee can grow intellectually, learn new disciplines, and contribute original ideas to our business areas.

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Going to Mars with Direct Fusion Drive

We developed a round trip mission to Mars using Direct Fusion Drive. Key parameters are:

  • Specific power of 1.2 kW/kg
  • Exhaust velocity of 110 km/s
  • 40 MW engine
  • Payload of 55 MT out, 40 MT return
  • Outward leg 128 days
  • Inward leg 110 days
  • Stay on Mars 650 days

The following plot shows the trajectory. Some additional time would be needed to enter and exit the Mars and Earth’s orbit. That could be shortened by using a nuclear thermal engine tug.

The payload is based on the NASA Deep Space Habitat. It could be replaced by a less massive habitat and a lander. Two spacecraft, one including a lander, is another possibility. A dual spacecraft mission would enhance safety.

This mission plan has the DFD decelerating the spacecraft and going into Mars orbit. Some time could be saved using aerodynamic braking. The mass of the aeroshell would need to be included as part of the “engine” mass.

This analysis was done using the Spacecraft Control Toolbox http://www.psatellite.com/products/sct/

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