Princeton Satellite system is creating a direct drive fusion propulsion and power systems for a phase II NASA NIAC study. They have follow up government studies to develop the superconducting magnets and other components.
They are using radio frequency heating to reach fusion conditions. They need helium 3 which is scarce. There is enough helium 3 for some small space missions but would not be able to scale until there is more helium 3. Also, the cost would not be initially competitive. They are looking at high value niches.
It is a lot easier to make a fusion rocket versus a fusion power plant. Shorter pulses for fusion for propulsion is simpler than constantly generating power.
Princeton Satellite System has novel antenna configurations.
Direct fusion drive or dfd is a new type of rocket engine made of a fusion reactor powering a plasma rocket. It is different from many other nuclear fusion technologies because this single fusion engine can generate both propulsion and electricity to power its payload.To read more, click here.