PLASMA ROCKET ENGINE
(ATOMIC POWERED ROCKET)
Inventor: Thomas Hulon Jackson Citizenship: United States of America
Universal Patent Number 1
Star Ship Operators License Number 1
Expiration Date- None
Disclosure Document Number: 210758
U.S. 07/247,498 Plasma rocket engine;
International Patent Cooperation Treaty
PCT/US89/05888 Star Ship.
Table of ContentsFrom Authorship(authority),I preserve all intellectual and physical property rights both tangible and intangible of:
A Definitive Analysis of Atomic Power ©1987 Disclosure Document No.201758 and inventions entitled;
A Plasma Rocket Engine filed 1988 Patent Application Number 07/247,498 (application abandoned),
Star Ship filed 1988 International Patent Cooperation Treaty Patent Application Number 07/247,498 Application PCT/US89/05888 (application abandoned), licensing rights to others to make use and operate my inventions, rights to petition congress for revival of abandoned applications and extension of patent life terms as well as retaining non petition rights to modifications and improvement of my invention and any craft secrets deamed keepable. This list of rights is non-exclusive.
Brief Discription of the Drawings
Drawings -Figures 1 to 4
Legend of the Drawings
(Fig 5 Animation added year 2000 for net display)
Background of Invention
Field of Invention
Description of the Prior Art
Summary of the Invention
Description of a Preferred Embodiment
Claims 1 to 7
Figures 1 to 4
Fig I A plasma rocket engine showing cross section of engine in
starting mode with a magnified view of the plasma generator in off
Fig 2 Shows a means to obtain fuel disks from radioactive metal to be
inserted in a plasma generator and stacked above critical mass to
generate a plasma.
Fig 3 Shows a means to determine critical mass from a radioactive
metal to be used to manufacture fuel disks, also, a plasma generator
shown in off, on and plasma mode.
Fig 4 A preferred embodiment of a means to obtain a fully functional
plasma engine (shown with plasma generator in plasma state). This is
opposed to fig. 1 which is a one start, go where you point it basic
Figure 5 Engine Animation- added year 2000 for net display
LEGEND OF DRAWINGS
The following is (are) the preferred embodiment(s) of:
1 a solid casing open at one end to expel exhaust and with a
propellant storage and delivery system (shown with optional cooling
path) to a plasma chamber.
2 a liquid propellant.
3 a plasma generator assembly.
4 a means of nozzles and openings to direct propellant flow (four
5 a fuel disk(s).
6 a fuel disk guide post (2 shown).
7 an electric starter motor.
8 a worm gear.
9 a burning plasma.
10 a crucible with radioactive metal cubes.
11 a heat source.
12 a Geiger counter.
13 a fuel disk mold.
14 a Worm gear shape.
15 exhaust focusing nozzles (2 shown).
16 exhaust tuning nozzles (2 shown).
17 exhaust steering nozzles (2 shown).
18 optional magnetic containment coils.
19 electromechanical propellant pumps.
20 exhaust focusing tuning and steering pumps.
21 an exhaust port.
22 a plasma chamber.
23 separated metal cubes.
24 cubes arranged and stacked in a disk shape to determine
25 a critical mass graph with radioactive curve expressed as
a function of mass and radiation to determine Geiger
counter "runaway" of critical mass point (c.m). The
fuel disk mass is one half this point.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION
My invention is an atomic rocket engine that contains a plasma
generated by radioactive metal above critical mass. It uses the heat
to accelerate a liquid propellant. The energy produced gives thousands
of times more thrust per pound than chemical rockets presently used and
produces greater efficiency and velocity than proposed atomic rockets.
2. DESCRlPTlON OF THE PRIOR ART
Theodore Taylor's Project Orion uses a series of small atomic bomb
explosions on a "pusher plate" to obtain thrust. The disadvantage is
that due to cooling time between explosions the time the engine is on
compared to the time it is off gives a very low efficiency or duty
cycle [Time on divided by (time on + time off) = duty cycle). One is
The propellant shrapnel is expelled from the pusher plate
in all directions from behind it. This wastes the majority of the
energy used in energy vectors perpendicular to the line of travel. He
indirectly uses atomic energy to build bombs, then used these bombs to
build a rocket engine. A device that may work but is not energy
efficient; however, it will probably create more thrust per pound of
engine weight than chemical rockets.
His invention's problems are low duty cycle, inefficient exhaust,
indirect means of propulsion, and the use of atomic bombs subject to
theft. Also, the use of atomic bombs in space is forbidden by
international treaty. My invention eliminates all the above problems.
The other atomic rocket encounters one of the above problems and
one additional one my invention eliminates. He uses atomic energy to
operate a reactor and uses the electricity produced from heat to
liquid hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. He then uses
electricity to strip electrons from hydrogen atoms. He uses the small
remainder to accelerate the positive ions for propulsion. The safety
problem of a over heated reactor and liquid hydrogen is obvious as is
the inefficiency of the many steps he uses to get indirectly from
atomic energy to propellant through this is partially off set by the
production of oxygen and electricity for the pay load.
His invention's problems are indirect means of propulsion and a
inefficient atomic reactor with it's safety concerns. My invention
solves all the above problems by using all the power available in
atomic energy to directly accelerate the propellant in a line parallel
to the direction of travel in a continuous on state. This eliminates
the energy waste of the above rockets enabling it to accelerate the
same pay load mass to many times the velocity of prior art. The safety
factor of eliminating the atomic bombs and the liquid hydrogen is
considerable. The future chemical and nuclear costs of solar system
or galactic exploration with prior art will be astronomical. I
invention will reduce that cost astronomically.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
My invention is an atomic rocket engine that contains and
harnesses a Plasma in a liquid propellant and casing to directly
effect the rapid expansion of the propellant; thereby, expelling the
propellant out of an exhaust port causing acceleration of the engine
which consists of a means to contain the plasma in three dimensions,
whereby; the energy from the plasma directly causes the liquid
propellant plasma container to rapidly expand from chemical and atomic
change and this changed liquid propellant is contained in the two
dimensions of the casing with the "leak" in the third dimension used
to provide propulsion.
To make my invention fully functional in the environment it is
required to operate, the means are described to obtain the functions
of steering, starting once and multiple times, planned and emergency
stops, regulating propellant flow, tuning and focusing the exhaust,
casing cooling, artificial gravity, auxiliary power, increasing
velocity to permit intra and extra galactic exploration, replenishing
the propellant from deep space, manufacturing the fuel disks and
protecting the engine and pay load from meteorite collisions.
Also described is a means of converting the engine to a electric
generator to power a space and earth habitat as is a means of
modifying my invention to convert earth stored radioactive waste and
toxic chemical waste to harmless atoms and subatomic particles and
deliver the remainder to deep space economically.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
My invention is a rocket engine that consists of a solid container
(casing 1) open at one end to emit exhaust from an exhaust port 21.
The opposite end and sides are closed but contain openings 4 to admit
a liquid spray (propellant 2) directed to contain a plasma 9
consisting of radioactive metal (fuel disks 5) above critical mass
located in a plasma chamber 22 (the hollow inside of a casing 1). The
vaporization of the liquid propellant 2 creates a vapor container for
the plasma 9 isolating and insulating it from the casing 1; thereby,
preventing melting. The plasma 9 is balanced and contained in the
liquid envelope balanced by the dynamic pressures created. (This is
similar to a ping pong ball in an air stream enclosed in a tube of
greater diameter than the ball to provide stabilization.) The energy
from the plasma 9 directly causes the liquid propellant 2
plasma 9 container to rapidly expand from chemical and atomic changes;
whereby, this changed liquid propellant 2 is contained in the two
dimensions of the casing I with the "leak" in the third dimension used
to provide propulsion by the action and reaction law.
Additional stabilization that may be required in some operating
modes can be obtained from electro-magnetic containment field coils
18, constructed with conventional technology, used to confine the
plasma 9 in one or two dimensions by using the electro-magnetic
properties of the plasma 9. Three of the above mentioned operating
modes of turning, starting and rapid acceleration change may cause
the inertial mass of the plasma 9 to increase to where it overcomes
the propellant 2 containment properties, therefore may require
additional containment to prevent the plasma 9 from becoming
unbalanced in it's plasma chamber 22.
A means to generate the plasma 9 is obtained by fuel disks 5 of
radioactive metal below critical mass which when stacked together by
a plasma generator assembly 3 using a electric motor 7 to turn a worm
gear 8, thereby; moving the disks 5 along the guide posts 6 to the non-
threaded portion of the worm gear 8 where they obtain critical mass
and generate heat in the range below the melting point of the
radioactive metal to the temperature of a blue white star depending
on the total mass of the fuel disks 5 and the quality of the fuel
used. The hotter and larger the Plasma 9 contained the more mass in
the propellant 2 and fuel disks 5 is converted to energy giving faster
acceleration effects and, therefore, velocities. Velocities based on
ratios of chemical rockets, mass and velocities, to projected atomic
rockets, mass and velocities, indicate a range of velocities from dead
stop to in excess of that of light, therefore, my invention may
provide a means to test Einstein's theory that a man made object other
than a particle accelerator may be found to travel faster than light.
A means of steering is obtained by directing liquid propellant 2
from the exhaust port 21 nozzles and openings 17 to alter the
direction of the ejected propellant 2. Another means is obtained by
the artificial gravity of acceleration for self regulation. A means
of pumping the fluid at various pressure is desirable for various
plasma 9 sizes and acceleration rates required of the engine
therefore, mechanical regulation can be obtained by conventional
A means of constricting the exhaust propellant diameter to effect
plasma chamber 22 pressure; thereby, tuning and focusing the exhaust
for pencil thin efficiency can be obtained by directing with openings
and nozzles 16, 17 the liquid propellant 2 to the center of the
exhaust port 21 to effect narrowing and acceleration of the propellant
The solid casing I can be cooled by the internal circulation of
propellant 2 part of which is used for steering, focusing, and tuning
and The preheated remainder is directed at the plasma 9 for further
confinement and to prevent thermal shock that may be present.
Artificial gravity is provided for extended space flight by the
acceleration and deceleration rates of an engine that can burn
continuously providing one 9 of acceleration.
Auxiliary power is provided by thermo-couples attached to the
casing 1 to generate electricity for the pay load requirements of
electricity. Also, oxygen may be generated from the electrolysis of
water. The waste products from the air and surplus hydrogen may be
added to the propellant 2.
A means of increasing the velocities obtained by multi-stage
operation for sensor probes in intra or extra galactic exploration can
be obtained by making stacked engines of a size to propel the engines
to escape velocity of earth, solar system, and milky way in that order
Two means of replacing the propellant 2 from frozen liquids on
asteroids, moons, or planets is obtained. One by directing the exhaust
at a frozen mass, two by a plasma generator assembly 3 started a body
of frozen propellant 2 will melt it; thereby, allowing conventional
pumping techniques to be used as with a propellant 2 found in a liquid
A means of manufacturing fuel disks 5 from high grade radioactive
metal found extra-terrestrially can be obtained by the following means.
The maximum size a disk 5 can made changes with the ratio of
unstable isotopes to stable in a radioactive metal. 40% to 80%
reactor grade and 80% or higher bomb grade is suitable. The actual
size depends on the element and the quality available. The more
unstable and heavier (Atomic Mass) the greater the heat generated by
atomic parts hitting other unstable atoms producing heat. This is
best determined by experiment.
Arrange 1/2 inch cubes 23 in a disk shape 24 with a (5 to 4):1
ratio of diameter to thickness. The sides should be touching.
Monitor the pile with a Geiger counter 12. As the mass is increased
linearly, (one cube at a time). the radiation will increase
exponentially. Plotted on a graph 25, the y axis is radiation. x
axis is mass. The curve starts with a low slope going to a sharp
rise. The steep rise (marked as c.m. for critical mass) is that point
where the temperature rises. This makes it unsuitable in a fuel disk
5 resulting in melting the shape of the disks to changes it where it
is no longer the disk you designed. When the Geiger count starts to
'run away', physically separate the cubes 24 and take 1/2 the mass,
from this point and place in a crucible 10. (Caution) Give the
separated cubes 24 time to cool down. The cubes 24 are then melted
over a heat source 11. They should be monitored by Geiger counter 12
to assure the radiation is stable. 4 slight rise is expected. 4
rapid rise requires that the contents of the crucible 10 be scattered
by pouring in a sweeping motion through water. Begin again with a
smaller mass. Pour in a disk mold 13 with it's worm gear shape 14 and
a (5 to 4): 1, diameter to thickness, ratio. When cooled at room
temperature for 24 hours, measure the temperature. If the temperature
is more than 90 degrees thin with hacksaw or lathe. (Disk faces
should be parallel.) They can then be installed in the plasma
generating assembly 3.
A means to protect the rocket and pay load from projectile
collisions with dust and matter it may encounter may be obtained by
reducing the cross section of the craft, thereby, streamlining it. My
invention may be shaped as a long cylinder to aid in streamlining.
Another means of protection may be found with metals that have a shape
memory effect when heated. By anticipating the collision of solid
matter using conventional technology (such as radar or metal
detectors), a heating electric current may be generated through the
shape memory effect metal to resist the original penetration at the
time of impact by the force of the spring back effect plus the
thickness of the metal, thereby, creating an electric armor of my own
A means of converting the engine to a electric generator for
power a space and earth habitat is obtained by mounting the engine on
the ground of planet or moon with the exhaust pointed upwards and
using the thermo couples to power the manufacture of devices to
contain the uncontained third dimension of the exhaust port 21. In
practice 90% or less containment is needed for more containment may
result in the melt down of the engine. Energy present in the exhaust
as heat, light, mechanical and other forms can be tapped with
conventional thermo couples, turbine generators, solar cells and other
common energy converters.
Earth requires 100% containment so the harmful wastes of the 100
uncontained exhaust and any other from the conventional energy taps
may be collected in a low impedance container and recycled in the
propellant 2 directed at the plasma 9 where it's temperatures can'
render them harmless by altering the chemical and atomic structure;
thereby, decreasing the half lives of radioactive atoms to where they
stabilize in an ecological short time.
A means of detoxifying radioactive and chemical wastes is obtained
by mixing low level radioactive and chemical wastes with the
propellant 2. High level radioactive material can be combined with
the fuel disks 5. This allows the plasma 9 temperatures to break down
the chemical and atomic structures into harmless components. That
quantity not practical to convert to energy can be economically
delivered by my invention to deep space.
An atomic theory explaining the atomic alteration
of a liquid propellant 2 of water to it's exhaust form
"plasmelt" (coined from that which is melted and
vaporized by a plasma 9) from a plasma 9 of americium
241 in a steel casing I is beyond requirement for this
patent application for it's theoretical and therefore,
transient nature. A detailed atomic theory can be
found in the document disclosed at the time of this
1. My invention is an atomic rocket engine that provides a means
to contain a plasma, generated by radioactive metal
above critical mass, by using a liquid propellant to contain
the plasma and insulate a casing from it; thereby, directly
changing the chemical and atomic structure of a liquid
propellant; thereby causing expansion which is contained
in two dimensions with the leak of the changed propellant from
the third dimension; thereby accelerating the engine.
2. My invention uses a casing and propellant to directly
contain and harness the atomic energy of a plasma in the
dimensions required of a rocket engine and consists of all
atomic engines of this type in a range of the basic unregulated,
unguided, rocket to the fully functional engine
and that the operating temperatures of the plasma contained
range from below the melting point of the radioactive metals
used to the temperatures of a blue white star which can give
a range of velocities from dead stop to faster than light.
3. A preferred embodiment of a means to generate a plasma by
the plasma generator assembly that can deliver one or more
multiple plasmas to the plasma chamber.
4. My invention is a means to create temperatures of an
extent to effect the atomic and chemical structure of the
propellant; thereby, creating a means to reduce the half
life of radioactive atoms by using the plasma temperatures
to convert radioactive and chemical wastes in an
ecologically short time.
5. My invention is a means to generate electricity
by harnessing the energy in the propellant with conventional
technology and that it effectively will contain a propellant
in two dimensions and future technology may contain it in
three dimensions therefore; should my invention be the basis
for this container in the life of this patent, I claim
credit as co-inventor.
6. My invention is an electric armor that is a means of
protecting an object from projectile collision, whereby, a
shape memory metal is heated electrically at the time of
collision to use the metals spring back effect to add to the
effective thickness of the shield, thereby increasing the
resistance to penetration.
7. My invention is a rocket engine that is a means to test Einstein's
theory that a man made object other than a particle accelerator
may travel faster than light.
My invention is an atomic powered rocket engine that
contains a plasma and harnesses it's energy directly to
accelerate a propellant It increases the velocities
and payload handling capabilities by many factors over present
rockets including chemical and atomic. It is more cost efficient,
more reliable, safer and faster than any previous invention
chemical or atomic. It has the potential to populate the stars with mankind.