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Strategic Technologies for Deep Space TransportDeep space transportation capability for science and exploration is fundamentally limited by available propulsion technologies. Traditional chemical systems are performance plateaued and require enormous Initial Mass in Low Earth Orbit (IMLEO) whereas solar electric propulsion systems are power limited and unable to execute rapid transits. Nuclear based propulsion and alternative energetic methods, on the other hand, represent potential avenues, perhaps the only viable avenues, to high specific power space transport evincing reduced trip time, reduced IMLEO, and expanded deep space reach. Here, key deep space transport mission capability objectives are reviewed in relation to STMD technology portfolio needs, and the advanced propulsion technology solution landscape is examined including open questions, technical challenges, and developmental prospects. Options for potential future investment across the full compliment of STMD programs are presented based on an informed awareness of complimentary activities in industry, academia, OGAs, and NASA mission directorates.
Document ID
20160001703
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Litchford, Ronald J. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
February 9, 2016
Publication Date
February 5, 2016
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
MSFC-E-DAA-TN29769
AAS 16-128
Meeting Information
AAS 2016 Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference(Breckenridge, CO)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Keywords
Technology
Strategy
Propulsion

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