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PEGASUS: A multi-megawatt nuclear electric propulsion systemA propulsion system (PEGASUS) consisting of an electric thruster driven by a multimegawatt nuclear power system is proposed for a manned Mars mission. Magnetoplasmadynamic and mercury-ion thrusters are considered, based on a mission profile containing a 510-day burn time (for a mission time of approximately 1000 days). Both thrusters are capable of meeting the mission parameters. Electric propulsion systems have significant advantages over chemical systems, because of high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass. The power for the PEGASUS system is supplied by a boiling liquid-metal fast reactor. The power system consists of the reactor, reactor shielding, power conditioning subsystems, and heat rejection subsystems. It is capable of providing a maximum of 8.5 megawatts of electrical power of which 6 megawatts is needed for the thruster system, leaving 1.5 megawatts available for inflight mission applications.
Document ID
19870008354
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Coomes, Edmund P. (Battelle Northwest Labs. Richland, Wash., United States)
Cuta, Judith M. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Webb, Brent J. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
King, David Q. (Jet Propulsion Lab. California Inst. of Tech., Pasadena, United States)
Patterson, Mike J. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Berkopec, Frank (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1986
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Marshall Space Flight Center Manned Mars Mission. Working Group Papers, V. 2, Sect. 5, App.
Subject Category
SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND POWER
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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