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The NASA space power technology programNASA has a broad technology program in the field of space power. This paper describes that program, including the roles and responsibilities of the various NASA field centers and major contractors. In the power source area, the paper discusses the SP-100 Space Nuclear Power Project, which has been under way for about seven years and is making substantial progress toward development of components for a 100-kilowatt power system that can be scaled to other sizes. This system is a candidate power source for nuclear electric propulsion, as well as for a power plant for a lunar base. In the energy storage area, the paper describes NASA's battery- and fuel-cell development programs. NASA is actively working on NiCd, NiH2, and lithium batteries. A status update is also given on a U.S. Air Force-sponsored program to develop a large (150 ampere-hour) lithium-thionyl chloride battery for the Centaur upper-stage launch vehicle. Finally, the area of power management and distribution (PMAD) is addressed, including power system components such as solid-state switches and power integrated circuits. Automated load management and other computer-controlled functions offer considerable payoffs. The state of the art in space power is described, along with NASA's medium- and long-term goals in the area.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Stephenson, R. Rhoads
(Jet Propulsion Lab. California Inst. of Tech., Pasadena, CA, US, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publisher: ISTS Editorial Board
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Accession Number
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