RocketStar has been awarded a contract by the United States Air Force (USAF) AFWERX program for a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to continue its effort in the development a fusion-powered space engine called the Boron-Enhanced Electric Propulsion (BEEP) Drive. The BEEP Drive project is a collaboration between Rocketstar, Rhea Space Activity, Inc., and Miles Space, Inc. The award marks an essential next step for RocketStar’s evolving offering of space propulsion technologies. The new grant was secured based on extraordinary Phase 1 results, which saw the company and its partners achieve aneutronic fusion by observing a high degree of alpha particles. RocketStar’s aneutronic fusion technology creates a fusion reaction of a boron nucleus with a proton that produces alpha particles. This Phase 2 award will allow for third party validation of the fusion, as well as the ability to accurately quantify thrust output.
“It comes down to two things: electric propulsion is moving to water as a fuel, and fusion doesn’t have to be contained to be useful. A water-based thruster can cause fusion in its exhaust plume and achieve benefits akin to an afterburner,” Wesley Faler, CEO of Miles Space said.
Christopher Craddock, CEO and Founder of RocketStar, stated: “We’re honored to have been selected by the Air Force for this Phase 2 award, which not only acknowledges the compelling results we achieved in Phase 1, but gives us a path towards the possibility of creating a bona-fide in-space fusion thruster that can be affixed to most existing thrusters.
“This Phase II effort will combine RocketStar’s fusion-powered propulsion core with RSA’s Jervis Autonomy Module (JAM), so our U.S. Space Force customers can truly expand beyond Geostationary Orbit, BEEP Drive will revolutionize the cost-effectiveness of deep space missions by harvesting the power of fusion energy and autonomous navigation,” Samuel Lee, RSA’s Chief Financial Officer said.
RocketStar is an industry leader in rocket propulsion technologies transforming access to space. Recognized for their revolutionary, patent-pending Aerospike Engine, as being reusable, reliable, and affordable, RocketStar is opening up a whole new level of accessibility for future space travel. The team is comprised of a small but talented group of scientists and adventurers with a mission to make space democratized and open for everyone and everywhere.
Miles Space enables a future of deep space exploration with technologies essential to today’s market: Power efficient propulsion, long-range communications and passive space radar for national defense. The M1.4B thruster, the beginnings of the BEEP drive, uses water vapor and electricity to achieve market-leading efficiency. Miles’ AI-in-the-loop signal processing products have saved millions of dollars in communications hardware costs.
Rhea Space Activity (RSA) is an astrophysics company that ideates and creates high-risk/high-reward research and development concepts to support U.S. national security objectives. RSA has developed various technologies in the fields of infrared satellites, directed energy, artificial intelligence, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), astro-particle physics, small satellites, cis-lunar operations, intelligence collection, autonomous underwater vehicles, and for the F35 Lightening II.