Could a Seattle startup launch a fusion reactor into space?

“Practical nuclear fusion is famously always 10 years in the future,” reports IEEE spectrum. “Recently, except for the Pentagon. Awarded to a small startup to launch a fusion power system into space. In five minutes…”

avalanche energy design, based near the Boeing facility in Seattle… is developing a modular “micro-fusion pack”. These packs are small enough to hold in your hand, but can power everything from electric vehicles to spacecraft. Last month, the Pentagon Department of Defense Innovation (DIU) announced Avalanche award of unspecified amount Developing an Orbitron fusion device to generate heat or electricity, with the goal of powering high-efficiency propulsion systems on board prototype satellites in 2027….

Avalanche’s Orbitron… could theoretically be placed on a tabletop. depend on Dr. Tom Maguire’s thesis, a student at MIT studying inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC) fusion in 2007… McGuire’s IEC work waned until it caught the attention of Robin Langtry and Brian Riordan, two engineers working at Blue Origin. In 2018, they formed Avalanche Energy as a side job, eventually leaving Blue Origin in the summer of 2021. In March of this year, Avalanche’s official address was still a detached house in Seattle.

Avalanche’s website proudly declares: “We see our Fusion Power Packs as the foundation for a healthy balanced world with abundant clean water, healthy oceans, vast rainforests and massive glaciers.” all Patent A report submitted by Langtry and Riordan contains details on how Orbitron works. It describes an orbital containment system that is tens of centimeters in size, in which a fuel ion beam interacts with an electrostatic field and enters an elliptical orbit around an inner electrode. This application describes a system in which ions last longer than 1 second. It’s ten times longer than McGuire’s simulations and lasts long enough for each ion to complete millions of orbits in a nuclear reactor. not Articles from GeekWire As Avalanche exits stealth mode, announcements include claims that the company has already produced neutrons through fusion.

Avalanche envisions small fusion packs with capacities from 5 to 15 kilowatts that operate on their own or in groups of hundreds for megawatt scale clean energy solutions. The Pentagon is potentially interested in packs that allow smaller spacecraft to move freely in deep space with higher power payloads.

Now the challenge is for Avalanche to move from her 15-year-old Ph.D. Papers in simulation with a working prototype in space in just 60 months.

Could a Seattle startup launch a fusion reactor into space?

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