NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Feasibility Study of a Nuclear-Stirling Plant for the Jupiter Icy Moons OrbiterNASA is undertaking the design of a new spacecraft to explore the planet Jupiter and its three moons Calisto, Ganymede and Europa. This proposed mission, known as Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) would use a nuclear reactor and an associated electrical generation system (Reactor Power Plant-RPP) to provide power to the spacecraft. The JIMO spacecraft is envisioned to use this power for science and communications as well as Electric Propulsion (EP). Among other potential power-generating concepts, previous studies have considered Thermoelectric and Brayton Power conversion systems, coupled to a liquid metal reactor for the JIMO mission. This paper will explore trades in system mass and radiator area for a nuclear reactor power conversion system, however this study will focus on Stirling power conversion. The Stirling convertor modeled in this study is based upon the Component Test Power Convertor design that was designed and operated successfully under the Civil Space Technology Initiative for use with the SP-100 nuclear reactor i the 1980's and early 1990's. The study design is such that two of the four convertors would operate at any time to generate the 100 kWe while the others are held in reserve. For this study the Stirling convertors hot-side temperature is 1050 K, would operate at a temperature ratio of 2.4 for a minimum mass system and would have a system efficiency of 29%. The Stirling convertor would generate high voltage (400 volt), 100 Hz single phase AC that is supplied to the Power Management and Distribution system. The waste hear is removed from the Stirling convertors by a flowing liquid sodium-potassium eutectic and then rejected by a shared radiator. The radiator consists of two coplanar wings, which would be deployed after the reactor is in space. System trades were performed to vary cycle state point temperatures and convertor design as well as power output. Other redundancy combinations were considered to understand the affects of convertor size and number of spares to the system mass.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Schmitz, Paul C.
(Power Computing Solutions, Inc. Avon, OH, United States)
Schreiber, Jeffrey G.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Penswick, L. Barry
(Penswick (Barry L.) Consulting Stevenson, WA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2005
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
University of New Mexico''s Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies (UNM-ISNPS)(Albuquerque, NM)
Funding Number(s)
OTHER: 982-10-03
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available