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Hi! I was reading about new possible ways to travel interplanetary and bumbed into fusion reactor powered spacecraft. So it got me to wonder that such a ship would have to be assembled on orbit because fusion reactors are rather large. So can you estimate the mass a fusion reactor would have? Let's for this question assume that we got ITER functional and decided to build a copy of the reactor and use the reactor on our Mars mission ship. So how much would the ITER in your estimations have mass and how much would it cost to bring it to orbit?

Answer
Please forgive my delay in responding -- it's the only way I can think of, to ensure I am not assisting with academic work, of which homework is just a small part. Also, as I am unable to determine the veracity of what people post, I can not know whether or not a question involves academic work.

> So how much would the ITER in your estimations have mass

A quick perusal of ITER's technical specs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER#Vacuum_vessel
shows that just two parts of it will weight 9000 metric tons. Let's make an order of magnitude estimate of mass to be 10^4 tons. Note that ITER is a research machine, not a functioning reactor, so the latter would have to be larger.

> how much would it cost to bring it to orbit?
The quick answer I found
http://space.stackexchange.com/questions/1989/what-is-the-current-cost-per-pound
gives an order of magnitude estimate of $5000 USD to send one pound into LEO.
That means one metric ton of material would cost about $10 million USD.
Or one ITER would cost $100 billion USD.
An actual fusion reactor would, most likely, cost about ten times as much.

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I can help with understanding physics that does not involve eggs. I will NOT help with academic or professional questions, which are NOT limited only to homework. Please do not waste your time by asking a question that comes out of ANY kind of academic, professional, or business matters.

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Have been fascinated by physical laws ever since I learned, at age seven, that magnets work under water. My study continued through college and has not ceased even after I retired.

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B.A. in Physics (with honors) from University of California at Berkeley.M.A. in Physics (with honors) from University of Texas Austin.

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