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Pluto/Kuiper Missions with Advanced Electric Propulsion and PowerIn response to a request by NASA Code SD Deep Space Exploration Technology Program, NASA Glenn Research center performed a study to identify advanced technology options to perform a Pluto/Kuiper mission without depending on a 2004 Jupiter Gravity Assist, but still arriving before 2020. A concept using a direct trajectory with small, sub-kilowatt ion thrusters and Stirling radioisotope power system was shown to allow the same or smaller launch vehicle class (EELV) as the chemical 2004 baseline and allow launch in any year and arrival in the 2014 to 2020 timeframe. With the nearly constant power available from the radioisotope power source such small ion propelled spacecraft could explore many of the outer planetary targets. Such studies are already underway. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Oleson, S. R.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Patterson, M. J.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Schrieber, J.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Gefert, L. P.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Publication Information
Publication: Forum on Innovative Approaches to Outer Planetary Exploration 2001-2020
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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