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System-Level Testing of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering HardwareTo support future NASA deep space missions, a radioisotope power system utilizing Stirling power conversion technology was under development. This development effort was performed under the joint sponsorship of the Department of Energy and NASA, until its termination at the end of 2013 due to budget constraints. The higher conversion efficiency of the Stirling cycle compared with that of the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) used in previous missions (Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini, Pluto New Horizons and Mars Science Laboratory) offers the advantage of a four-fold reduction in Pu-238 fuel, thereby extending its limited domestic supply. As part of closeout activities, system-level testing of flight-like Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) with a flight-like ASC Controller Unit (ACU) was performed in February 2014. This hardware is the most representative of the flight design tested to date. The test fully demonstrates the following ACU and system functionality: system startup; ASC control and operation at nominal and worst-case operating conditions; power rectification; DC output power management throughout nominal and out-of-range host voltage levels; ACU fault management, and system command / telemetry via MIL-STD 1553 bus. This testing shows the viability of such a system for future deep space missions and bolsters confidence in the maturity of the flight design.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Chan, Jack
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. King of Prussia, PA, United States)
Wiser, Jack
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Louisville, CO, United States)
Brown, Greg
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Louisville, CO, United States)
Florin, Dominic
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Louisville, CO, United States)
Oriti, Salvatore M.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
November 26, 2014
Publication Date
July 28, 2014
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Propulsion and Energy forum 2014(Cleveland, OH)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 138494.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Deep space
Stirling Cycle
Thermoelectric generators
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