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A Small Fission Power System with Stirling Power Conversion for NASA Science MissionsIn early 2010, a joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Energy (DOE) study team developed a concept for a 1 kWe Fission Power System with a 15-year design life that could be available for a 2020 launch to support future NASA science missions. The baseline concept included a solid block uranium-molybdenum reactor core with embedded heat pipes and distributed thermoelectric converters directly coupled to aluminum radiator fins. A short follow-on study was conducted at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) to evaluate an alternative power conversion approach. The GRC study considered the use of free-piston Stirling power conversion as a substitution to the thermoelectric converters. The resulting concept enables a power increase to 3 kWe with the same reactor design and scalability to 10 kW without changing the reactor technology. This paper presents the configuration layout, system performance, mass summary, and heat transfer analysis resulting from the study.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Mason, Lee
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Carmichael, Chad
(Saint Louis Univ. MO, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2011
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS-2011)
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Country: United States
Start Date: February 7, 2011
End Date: February 10, 2011
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Nuclear Society
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 463169.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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