paperburn1 wrote:Notably hidden among the budget items for NASA was a $100 million allocation to develop a nuclear thermal rockets.
Does anybody know if polywell tried to get their fingers into that rice bowl?
This comes up from time to time. When we were working in Manassas Park there was an initiative within NASA (with no outside news that I've ever seen) for "Strategy F". This was a push I think from Huntsville to develop either fission or fusion to reach Mars with crewed spacecraft. Dr. Bussard suspected it was intended to give Huntsville a mission (in other words, funding, and continuation of employment).
The three Fs were fission (NERVA or something like it), fusion using tokamaks, and fusion using the Polywell. Thus, two of the three F's were from Dr. Bussard's ideas. He was greatly amused. But evidently this particular idea never got much beyond a memo. He was contacted by someone seeking a proposal, but they had no money, and he'd written multiple papers proposing just this already.
There was, of course, a push in NASA to use VASIMIR, a motor in need of a power source, and there was good reason for any Mars strategy to at least consider if that system could be incorporated. It would be compatible with Polywell powerplants. It could also use fission, but not in the form of NERVA.
Of the strategies available in the late 90's when this was floated, nuclear-thermal was the most proven, with working engines tested and stored under a mountain in Nevada.