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Small Radioisotope Power System Testing at NASA Glenn Research CenterIn April 2009, NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) formed an integrated product team (IPT) to develop a Small Radioisotope Power System (SRPS) utilizing a single Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC) with passive balancer. A single ASC produces approximately 80 We making this system advantageous for small distributed lunar science stations. The IPT consists of Sunpower, Inc., to provide the single ASC with a passive balancer, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) to design an engineering model Single Convertor Controller (SCC) for an ASC with a passive balancer, and NASA GRC to provide technical support to these tasks and to develop a simulated lunar lander test stand. The single ASC with a passive balancer, simulated lunar lander test stand, and SCC were delivered to GRC and were tested as a system. The testing sequence at GRC included SCC fault tolerance, integration, electromagnetic interference (EMI), vibration, and extended operation testing. The SCC fault tolerance test characterized the SCCs ability to handle various fault conditions, including high or low bus power consumption, total open load or short circuit, and replacing a failed SCC card while the backup maintains control of the ASC. The integrated test characterized the behavior of the system across a range of operating conditions, including variations in cold-end temperature and piston amplitude, including the emitted vibration to both the sensors on the lunar lander and the lunar surface. The EMI test characterized the AC and DC magnetic and electric fields emitted by the SCC and single ASC. The vibration test confirms the SCCs ability to control the single ASC during launch. The extended operation test allows data to be collected over a period of thousands of hours to obtain long term performance data of the ASC with a passive balancer and the SCC. This paper will discuss the results of each of these tests.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Dugala, Gina
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Bell, Mark
(Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
Oriti, Salvatore
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Fraeman, Martin
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Frankford, David
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Duven, Dennis
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
September 9, 2014
Publication Date
November 1, 2013
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2013-3814
Meeting Information
International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference (IECEC)(San Jose, CA)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 138494.01.99.01
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Radioisotope Heat Source
Stirling Cycle
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