Fusion-powered spacecraft could be a reality soon

The tech could allow a probe to make it to Saturn in just two years

Fusion-powered spacecraft may not be just a sci-fi dream for much longer.

The Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) engine could take flight for the first time in 2028 or so, if all goes according to plan, the concept’s developers said.

That would be big news for space fans; the minivan-size DFD could get a 22,000-lb. (10,000 kilograms) robotic spacecraft to Saturn in just two years, or all the way out to Pluto within five years of launch, project team members said.

And the engine doubles as a potent power source, meaning the technology could have a broad range of off-Earth applications.

For example, the DFD could help power NASA’s planned moon-orbiting space station, known as the Gateway, as well as bases on the moon and Mars, project team member Stephanie Thomas, vice president of Princeton Satellite Systems in Plainsboro, New Jersey, said late last month during a presentation with NASA’s Future In-Space Operations working group.

more at space.com