Star shot: UK-built plasma rocket engine will let mankind COLONISE space, say experts

Former Made in Chelsea cast member Richard Dinan, and business partner Dr James Lambert, recently successful tested their engine, which could potentially propel spacecraft at a staggering 100,000mph, at their laboratory in Bletchley, near Milton Keynes in Bedfordshire. And the pair, who together launched Pulsar Fusion in 2015, believe they could be in a position to unveil a working, full-sized version of their engine within two years. Mr Dinan, 37, who was briefly in the show in 2012, said the company is on the hunt for a serious investor with a long-standing interest in physics and space.

What really excites me is I know how possible it is

Richard Dinan

However, he emphasised the project they were working on was not a get-rich-quick venture.

He said: “For investors that want a quick buck – it’s not a quick buck investors’ game.

“As I said before, this is this is for people who have a little bit more patience and more probably a little bit more money.

“What really excites me is I know how possible it is. We’re doing what the world’s greatest physicists have shown to be true. ”

Nevertheless, despite the successful recent trial, he knows it will not be easy.

He explained: “Probably if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be so fun.

“To achieve the conditions that you would want for fusion temperatures, we need bigger, more powerful tech, two conductors, needed capacitors, bigger vessel, more analytics.

“It’s just expensive equipment. It’s not billions at all.

“We need probably around £12 million to have our first rocket thruster test which we’re planning to do planning on testing in two years.”

While Mr Dinan has big ideas, when it comes to the deal, he relies on Dr Lambert, who earned his PhD for his thesis The Relationship between physics and computer science.

Dr Lambert, 33, told “Unlike a lot of companies with fusion in the name, we are not an energy supply energy research company.

“We make rocket engines and we are particularly interested in a branch of rocket engines called electric propulsion.

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“And this is something that has been around and used for many decades. electric propulsion is most popular when you want a very efficient, but quite weak style of thrusters.

“So they’re frequently used to reposition satellites. They’re not used to launch things into space.”

He explained: “We believe that there’s a very interesting product roadmap in electric propulsion right now.

“And we want to take it from this low powered, delicate manoeuvring-type device to a scaled up fusion powered rocket that is appropriate for interplanetary travel.

“Ultimately, that’s the goal.”

If they succeed, such an engine would have the potential to halve journey times to Mars, dramatically cutting the time it would take to reach planets within the solar system and beyond.

In the initial tests, a huge amount of energy is put into argon gas, the propellant, to produce a high temperature plasma similar to that found in a nuclear fusion reactor, before an electromagnetic field is used to shoot out the plasma at very high speeds.

Dr Lambert added: “When we’re ready to actually test that concept fully, somewhere down the line, we’d operate it with hydrogen.

“But when we test it day to day, in the lab, we operated on an inert gas. So argon, which is ideal because it’s cheap.”

Meanwhile Mr Dinan estimates Pulsar may be in a position to stage its first plasma tests within two years.

He said: “That doesn’t mean we’ll be launching anything then – but that will be the moment when everyone sits up and takes notice, I think.”

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