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Atmosphere-entry behavior of a modular, disk-shaped, isotope heat source.The authors have studied the entry and impact behavior of an isotope heat source for space nuclear power that disassembles into a number of modules which would enter the earth's atmosphere separately if a flight aborted. These modules are disk-shaped units, each with its own reentry heat shield and protective impact container. In normal operation, the disk modules are stacked inside the generator, but during a reentry abort they separate and fly as individual units of low ballistic coefficient. Flight tests at hypersonic speeds have confirmed that a stack of disks will separate and assume a flat-forward mode of flight. Free-fall tests of single disks have demonstrated a nominal impact velocity of 30 m/sec at sea level for a practical range of ballistic coefficients.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Proceedings
Vorreiter, J. W.
Pitts, W. C.
Stine, H. A. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, Calif., United States)
Burns, J. J. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, Calif.; California, University, Los Alamos, N. Mex., United States)
Date Acquired
August 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1973
Subject Category
Meeting Information
Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference(Philadelphia, PA)
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