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Accession Number N20130011024
Title Potential Applications for Radioisotope Power Systems in Support of Human Exploration Missions.
Publication Date Feb 2013
Media Count 12p
Personal Author A. J. Colozza P. C. Schmitz R. L. Cataldo
Abstract Radioisotope power systems (RPS) for space applications have powered over 27 U.S. space systems, starting with Transit 4A and 4B in 1961, and more recently with the successful landing of the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity in August 2012. RPS enable missions with destinations far from the Sun with faint solar flux, on planetary surfaces with dense or dusty atmospheres, and at places with long eclipse periods where solar array sizes and energy storage mass become impractical. RPS could also provide an enabling capability in support of human exploration activities. It is envisioned that with the higher power needs of most human mission concepts, a high efficiency thermal-to-electric technology would be required such as the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope generator (ASRG). The ASRG should be capable of a four-fold improvement in efficiency over traditional thermoelectric RPS. While it may be impractical to use RPS as a main power source, many other applications could be considered, such as crewed pressurized rovers, in-situ resource production of propellants, back-up habitat power, drilling, any mobile or remote activity from the main base habitat, etc. This paper will identify potential applications and provide concepts that could be a practical extension of the current ASRG design in providing for robust and flexible use of RPS on human exploration missions.
Keywords Aerospace systems
Energy storage
Mission planning
Photovoltaic conversion
Radioisotope power systems
Stirling cycle
Technology utilization
Thermoelectricity


 
Source Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NTIS Subject Category 97O - Miscellaneous Energy Conversion & Storage
77C - Nuclear Auxiliary Power Systems
84 - Space Technology
Corporate Author National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cleveland, OH. NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field.
Document Type Conference proceedings
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1320
Contract Number NNC12BA01B NNC09BA03B

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