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Advanced Stirling Convertor Testing at NASA Glenn Research CenterThe NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) has been testing high-efficiency free-piston Stirling convertors for potential use in radioisotope power systems (RPSs) since 1999. The current effort is in support of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), which is being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC), Sunpower, Inc., and the NASA GRC. This generator would use two high-efficiency Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) to convert thermal energy from a radioisotope heat source into electricity. As reliability is paramount to a RPS capable of providing spacecraft power for potential multi-year missions, GRC provides direct technology support to the ASRG flight project in the areas of reliability, convertor and generator testing, high-temperature materials, structures, modeling and analysis, organics, structural dynamics, electromagnetic interference (EMI), and permanent magnets to reduce risk and enhance reliability of the convertor as this technology transitions toward flight status. Convertor and generator testing is carried out in short- and long-duration tests designed to characterize convertor performance when subjected to environments intended to simulate launch and space conditions. Long duration testing is intended to baseline performance and observe any performance degradation over the life of the test. Testing involves developing support hardware that enables 24/7 unattended operation and data collection. GRC currently has 14 Stirling convertors under unattended extended operation testing, including two operating in the ASRG Engineering Unit (ASRG-EU). Test data and high-temperature support hardware are discussed for ongoing and future ASC tests with emphasis on the ASC-E and ASC-E2.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wilson, Scott D.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Poriti, Sal
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
July 25, 2010
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 8th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference (IECEC 2010)
Location: Nashville, TN
Country: United States
Start Date: July 25, 2010
End Date: July 28, 2010
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 138494.05.02.04,01
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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