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A Practical Approach to Starting Fission Surface Power DevelopmentThe Prometheus Power and Propulsion Program has been reformulated to address NASA needs relative to lunar and Mars exploration. Emphasis has switched from the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) flight system development to more generalized technology development addressing Fission Surface Power (FSP) and Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). Current NASA budget priorities and the deferred mission need date for nuclear systems prohibit a fully funded reactor Flight Development Program. However, a modestly funded Advanced Technology Program can and should be conducted to reduce the risk and cost of future flight systems. A potential roadmap for FSP technology development leading to possible flight applications could include three elements: 1) Conceptual Design Studies, 2) Advanced Component Technology, and 3) Non-Nuclear System Testing. The Conceptual Design Studies would expand on recent NASA and DOE analyses while increasing the depth of study in areas of greatest uncertainty such as reactor integration and human-rated shielding. The Advanced Component Technology element would address the major technology risks through development and testing of reactor fuels, structural materials, primary loop components, shielding, power conversion, heat rejection, and power management and distribution (PMAD). The Non-Nuclear System Testing would provide a modular, technology testbed to investigate and resolve system integration issues.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Mason, Lee S.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2006
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
2006 International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP ''06)(Reno, NV)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 169-04-03
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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