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Design and Test Plans for a Non-Nuclear Fission Power System Technology Demonstration UnitA joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Energy (DOE) team is developing concepts and technologies for affordable nuclear Fission Power Systems (FPSs) to support future exploration missions. A key deliverable is the Technology Demonstration Unit (TDU). The TDU will assemble the major elements of a notional FPS with a non-nuclear reactor simulator (Rx Sim) and demonstrate system-level performance in thermal vacuum. The Rx Sim includes an electrical resistance heat source and a liquid metal heat transport loop that simulates the reactor thermal interface and expected dynamic response. A power conversion unit (PCU) generates electric power utilizing the liquid metal heat source and rejects waste heat to a heat rejection system (HRS). The HRS includes a pumped water heat removal loop coupled to radiator panels suspended in the thermal-vacuum facility. The basic test plan is to subject the system to realistic operating conditions and gather data to evaluate performance sensitivity, control stability, and response characteristics. Upon completion of the testing, the technology is expected to satisfy the requirements for Technology Readiness Level 6 (System Demonstration in an Operational and Relevant Environment) based on the use of high-fidelity hardware and prototypic software tested under realistic conditions and correlated with analytical predictions.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Mason, Lee
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Palac, Donald
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Gibson, Marc
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Houts, Michael
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Warren, John
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Werner, James
(Idaho National Lab. Idaho Falls, ID, United States)
Poston, David
(Los Alamos National Lab. NM, United States)
Qualls, Arthur Lou
(Oak Ridge National Lab. TN, United States)
Radel, Ross
(Sandia National Labs. Albuquerque, NM, United States)
Harlow, Scott
(Department of Energy Washington, DC, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2012
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS-2011)(Albuquerque, NM)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 429698.01.03
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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