Since its conception, the theory of antimatter has always amazed physicists and aficionados of science, and even more so after positrons were discovered in 1932. Fast forward this to the 21st century and you get Positron Dynamics, an aerospace startup company that is leading the effort in building a new rocket engine from positrons.
Dr. Ryan Weed, Co-Founder and CEO, and his team achieve this in a three-step process. First, they use a radioisotope source to continuously emit positron. Then, they use an array of moderators (designed in-house) to create a high-intensity cold positron beam. The moderator device (3x3mm size) uses several layers of silicon carbide film to help cool the emitted hot positrons. An electric field assists the particles to drift to the surface of each layer where they can cool.
Lastly, fusion reactions are used to transfer the kinetic energy of the gamma-ray producing positron beam into charged particles. These charged particles are directed with magnets where then this energy can be used as thrust.
Positron Dynamics outlined several milestones during the coming years. And, with 2018 right around the corner these dates seem closer than ever before:
- Positron-powered launch of small “CubeSat” satellite into low-Earth orbit, demonstrating orbital change from positron propulsion. mid-2018 to mid-2019.
- Propulsion system could be used in satellite constellations, for example — as part of a global network of broad-band internet, enabling virtually anyone on the planet access to the internet during the 2020's.
- Launch of another rocket to further demonstrate the feasibility of positrons to power a spacecraft in about early 2020’s and most likely follow by a succession of other unmanned spacecraft over a period of years.
- Launch of a positron-propelled spacecraft to Mars. In the 2030s.
This revolutionary capability will transform how spacecraft operate in space. Lower launch costs (less fuel required), added maneuverability and longer satellite lifetimes are incredibly important for applications in Earth's Orbit and beyond.
For more information, please visit www.positrondynamics.com