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Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC)--From Technology Development to Future Flight ProductThe Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC) is being developed by Sunpower Inc. under contract to NASA s Glenn Research Center (GRC) with critical technology support tasks led by GRC. The ASC development, funded by NASA s Science Mission Directorate, started in 2003 as one of 10 competitively awarded contracts that were intended to address the power conversion needs of future Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS). The ASC technology has since evolved through progressive convertor builds and successful testing to demonstrate high conversion efficiency (38 percent), low mass (1.3 kg), hermetic sealing, launch vibration simulation, EMI characterization, and is undergoing extended operation. The GRC and Sunpower team recently delivered two ASC-E convertors to the Department of Energy (DOE) and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company for integration onto the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit (ASRG EU) plus one spare. The design of the next build, called the ASC-E2, has recently been initiated and is based on the heritage ASC-E with design refinements to increase reliability margin and offer higher temperature operation and improve performance. The ASC enables RPS system specific power of about 7 to 8 W/kg. This paper provides a chronology of ASC development to date and summarizes technical achievements including advancements toward flight implementation of the technology on ASRG by as early as 2013.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Wong, Wayne A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Wood, J. Gary
(SunPower, Inc. Athens, OH, United States)
Wilson, Kyle
(SunPower, Inc. Athens, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2008
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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