Plasma Heated by Intense Radiation Engine (PHIRE)

Introduction Plasma systems provide substantial savings over chemical propulsion systems but require higher power to attain any appreciable thrust. UW researchers have developed a basic system that enables high power plasma propulsion without electrodes so the system lasts longer and is more compact. Technology description PHIRE is a high thrust plasma engine that uses intense microwave or radio frequency heating of the plasma within a magnetic nozzle. The basic system allows high power (hundreds of kW to MW) plasma propulsion at a high specific thrust (50 mN/kW) without electrodes, and could provide the basis for proposed missions to the planets or for human exploration. Business opportunity The PHIRE system may be utilized as a direct plasma drive for in-space propulsion of satellites, beamed energy systems (ground-based or from a large in-space system) to deliver arbitrary payloads at low cost for any required orbital transfer, and ground-based power of sub-orbital payloads into arbitrary orbits. Stage of development Initial data and a working prototype exist for this technology. Intellectual property position The technology is available for licensing. The UW is currently reviewing this technology for worldwide patent protection.

Type of Offer: Licensing

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