Princeton Satellite Systems and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Researchers Named 2020 Thomas Edison Patent Award Winners

Dr. Gary Pajer, Yosef Razin and Michael Paluszek of Princeton Satellite Systems and Dr. Samuel Cohen of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory were awarded a 2020 Thomas Edison Patent Award for U.S. Patent 9,822,769, “Method and Apparatus to Produce High Specific Impulse and Moderate Thrust from a Fusion- Powered Rocket Engine.” This patent is for a new type of nuclear fusion reactor that is compact, making it suitable for mobile power, emergency power, space propulsion and power. The award is given by the Research and Development Council of New Jersey.

Images of a mobile version of the reactor, and a version used for a rocket engine are shown below. The work is currently funded by an ARPA-E OPEN grant. NASA has also funded this work through the NASA NIAC program.

PFRC on a HEMTT truck
Fusion-powered spaceship at Mars

The 41st Edison Patent Awards Ceremony, themed “Transforming Hope into Action” will take place virtually on November 12th. Contact Vanessa Johnson for more information about the event.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Princeton Satellite Systems and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Researchers Named 2020 Thomas Edison Patent Award Winners

  1. Michael,
    I had worked with Susanne Klebe and Senator Pennacchio’s office to set up the forum that was held at State Capitol Building in Trenton, New Jersey. I wanted to congratulate you and your team for the continued progress and excitement that is being brought toward a successful advance in this field. I will be sure to pass this on to the Senator’s office, and continue to raise awareness of it on the national level. Thanks and Congratulations again. Sincerely, Bruce Todd.

  2. Hi Michael,
    Patents are great, and I am always hopeful. But I have been reading about plans and such for the last 40 or more years but so far nothing concrete of practical value has come form it. What makes this different? Has manufacturing started? Will it actually work in the next 5 years? I really hope it will but I am losing hope that I will see anything in my lifetime (I am 63.) I remember the setting up to watch the lunar landings and thinking mars is only a few years away.

    William Cook

    • Dear William:

      Thanks for the note. We are in the experiment stage under our ARPA-E contract. The advantage of our concept is that test machines can be built very quickly. In addition, engineering our reactor is quite a bit easier than engineering a Stellarator or a Tokamak. Our experimental results will guide the design of the next test machine. We still have a lot to learn about the physics but are working the machine engineering in parallel which will speed development.

      I worked on the Space Shuttle. We would have had astronauts on Mars in the 1980’s if NASA had continued to be funded at 1960’s levels. The same is true about fusion. Progress has been proportional to funding.


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