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Affordable Development and Demonstration of a Small NTR Engine and Stage: A Preliminary NASA, DOE, and Industry AssessmentIn FY11, NASA formulated a plan for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) development that included Foundational Technology Development followed by system-level Technology Demonstrations. The ongoing NTP project, funded by NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program, is focused on Foundational Technology Development and includes 5 key task activities: (1) Fuel element fabrication and non-nuclear validation testing of heritage fuel options; (2) Engine conceptual design; (3) Mission analysis and engine requirements definition; (4) Identification of affordable options for ground testing; and (5) Formulation of an affordable and sustainable NTP development program. Performance parameters for Point of Departure designs for a small criticality-limited and full size 25 klb (sub f) (kip, or 1000 pound-force)-class engine were developed during FYs 13-14 using heritage fuel element designs for both Rover NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications) Graphite Composite (GC) and Ceramic Metal (Cermet) fuel forms. To focus the fuel development effort and maximize use of its resources, the AES program decided, in FY14, that a leader-follower down-selection between GC and cermet fuel was required. An Independent Review Panel (IRP) was convened by NASA and tasked with reviewing the available fuel data and making a recommendation to NASA. In February 2015, the IRP recommended and the AES program endorsed GC as the leader fuel In FY14, a preliminary development schedule DDTE (Design Development Test and Evaluation) plan was produced by GRC (Glenn Research Center), DOE (Department of Energy) and industry for the AES program. Assumptions, considerations and key task activities are presented here. At the direction of NASA HQ (32515), NASA and DOE are to work together to formulate a detailed development plan and schedule allowing the affordable development of a small (7.5-16.5 klbf) GC engine for possible flight technology demonstration (FTD) mission within a 10-year timeframe.
Document ID
20190004970
Document Type
Presentation
Authors
Borowski, S. K. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Sefcik, R. J. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Fittje, J. E. (Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
McCurdy, D. R. (Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
Qualls, A. L. (Oak Ridge National Lab. TN, United States)
Schnitzler, B. G. (Oak Ridge National Lab. TN, United States)
Werner, J. (Idaho National Lab. Idaho Falls, ID, United States)
Weitzberg, A. (Consultant, Dept. of Energy Woodland Hills, CA, United States)
Joyner, C. R. (Aerojet-General Corp. Rancho Cordova, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 3, 2019
Publication Date
July 27, 2015
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper-2015-3774
GRC-E-DAA-TN25387
Meeting Information
51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference(Orlando, FL)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 279585.10.99.99.99.22
CONTRACT_GRANT: NNC12BA01B
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
Single Expert
Keywords
Lunar Flyby Mission
Spacecraft Design
Nuclear Rocket Engines

Available Downloads

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