Key issues in space nuclear power challenges for the futureThe future appears rich in missions that will extend the frontiers of knowledge, human presence in space, and opportunities for profitable commerce. Key to the success of these ventures is the availability of plentiful, cost effective electric power and assured, low cost access to space. While forecasts of space power needs are problematic, an assessment of future needs based on terrestrial experience has been made. These needs fall into three broad categories: survival, self sufficiency, and industrialization. The cost of delivering payloads to orbital locations from LEO to Mars has been determined and future launch cost reductions projected. From these factors, then, projections of the performance necessary for future solar and nuclear space power options has been made. These goals are largely dependent upon orbital location and energy storage needs. Finally the cost of present space power systems has been determined and projections made for future systems.
Brandhorst, Henry W., Jr. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
August 15, 2013
January 1, 1991
Publication: In: Space nuclear power systems; Proceedings of the 8th Symposium, Albuquerque, NM, Jan. 6-10, 1991. Pt. 3 (A93-13751 03-20)