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NASA's Kilopower Reactor Development and the Path to Higher Power MissionsThe development of NASAs Kilopower fission reactor is taking large strides toward flight development with several successful tests completed during its technology demonstration trials. The Kilopower reactors are designed to provide 1-10 kW of electrical power to a spacecraft which could be used for additional science instruments as well as the ability to power electric propulsion systems. Power rich nuclear missions have been excluded from NASA proposals because of the lack of radioisotope fuel and the absence of a flight qualified fission system. NASA has partnered with the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration to develop the Kilopower reactor using existing facilities and infrastructure to determine if the design is ready for flight development. The 3-year Kilopower project started in 2015 with a challenging goal of building and testing a full-scale flight prototypic nuclear reactor by the end of 2017. As the date approaches, the engineering team shares information on the progress of the technology as well as the enabling capabilities it provides for science and human exploration.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gibson, Marc A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Oleson, Steven R.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Poston, David I.
(Los Alamos National Lab. NM, United States)
McClure, Patrick
(Los Alamos National Lab. NM, United States)
Date Acquired
March 7, 2017
Publication Date
March 4, 2017
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: IEEE Aerospace Conference
Location: Big Sky, MT
Country: United States
Start Date: March 4, 2017
End Date: March 11, 2017
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, PHM Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 887359.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
kilopower fission reactor
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