Direct Fusion Drive Mission to Titan

Titan, a moon of Saturn, is of great interest to space scientists. Titan is the only moon with a dense atmosphere and clouds and with liquids on its surface. Universe Today reports on a masters thesis that proposes a mission using Direct Fusion Drive to put an orbiter around the moon. The thesis, “Trajectory design for a Titan mission using the Direct Fusion Drive,” is by Marco Gajeri under the direction of Professor Sabrina Corpino of the Politecnio di Torino and Professor Roman Kezerashvili of the City University of New York.

The thesis gives an excellent overview of nuclear fusion technology and space propulsion. The author then goes on to do trajectory analysis for the Titan mission using STK. He presents three different mission strategies using Direct Fusion Drive. He includes all of the orbital maneuvering needed to get into a Titan orbit. His mission designs would get a spacecraft to Titan in two years.

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About Michael Paluszek

Michael Paluszek is President of Princeton Satellite Systems. He graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering in 1976 and followed that with an Engineer's degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1979. He worked at MIT for a year as a research engineer then worked at Draper Laboratory for 6 years on GN&C for human space missions. He worked at GE Astro Space from 1986 to 1992 on a variety of satellite projects including GPS IIR, Inmarsat 3 and Mars Observer. In 1992 he founded Princeton Satellite Systems.

2 thoughts on “Direct Fusion Drive Mission to Titan

  1. Hi, I am a senior at San Diego State University and I am tasked with creating an STk path for a mission to Titan, initially influenced by NASA’s Dragonfly path. Have you already created your STK? And would you allow me to see how you did it?

    • Hi Riley! We don’t use STK so we can’t help there. The process is to pick your launch vehicle, which gives you your heliocentric velocity. You then create the interplanetary mission plan which may involve multiple flybys, and go into a Saturnian orbit. You then rendezvous with Titan and do an orbit entry. This may involve aerodynamic braking.

      Good luck!

      Mike

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