Sean Knecht from the University of Washington joins us to speak about his presentation on using a Dense Plasma Focus for use in fusion-propulsion applications. This study was performed as part of a USAF advanced military aerospace vehicle concept study.

This vehicle is an aerospace plane that combines clean “aneutronic” dense plasma focus (DPF) fusion power and propulsion technology, with advanced “lifting body”-like airframe configurations utilizing air-breathing MHD propulsion and power technology within a reusable single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) vehicle.

Knecht’s paper is similar to the hypersonic aneutronic fusion spaceplane proposed by Paul Czysz, but it focuses on the details of producing clean nuclear fusion instead of on the overall spaceplane concept that Czsyz focused on in his earlier presentation. Knecht’s study focused primarily on developing the overall propulsion concept to create a “fast-track” to other planets — with round trip times to the moon to be measured in hours.