This content is not included in your SAE MOBILUS subscription, or you are not logged in.
10 KWe Dual-Mode Space Nuclear Power System for Military and Scientific Applications
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published August 03, 1992 by SAE International in United States
Annotation ability available
A 10 KWe dual-mode space power system concept has been identified which is based on INEL's Small Externally-fueled Heat Pipe Thermionic Reactor (SEHPTR) concept. This power system will enhance user capabilities by providing reliable electric power and by providing two propulsion systems; electric power for an arc-jet electric propulsion system and direct thrust by heating hydrogen propellant inside the reactor. The low thrust electric thrusters allow efficient station keeping and long-term maneuvering. The direct thrust capability can provide tens of pounds of thrust at a specific impulse of around 730 seconds for maneuvers that must be performed more rapidly. The direct thrust allows the nuclear power system to move a payload from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) in less than one month using approximately half the propellant of a cryogenic chemical stage. The low mass of the power system (approximately 1000 Kg) allows it to be used with payloads launched from Atlas II and potentially Delta launch vehicles, reducing launch costs. This paper will focus on the nuclear power system design, including: the reactor with its UO2 fuel in tungsten clad, 36 thermionic heat pipe modules (THPMs) which produce electricity within the reactor and remove waste heat, radiation shielding, waste heat radiators, and reactivity control systems. The use of non-vented fuel elements for short lifetime missions (under five years) will be described. Non-vented fuel elements reduce the complexity of fuel development and qualification, allowing the system to reach flight status sooner. Methods for producing direct thrust using hydrogen propellant and the mission advantages provided by this direct thrust capability will be briefly discussed.
CitationMalloy, J., Westerman, K., Rochow, R., and Scoles, S., "10 KWe Dual-Mode Space Nuclear Power System for Military and Scientific Applications," SAE Technical Paper 929072, 1992, https://doi.org/10.4271/929072.
- General Electric, Nuclear Materials & Propulsion Operation “Seventh Annual Report-AEC Fuels and Materials Development Program” February 29 1968 38 49
- General Electric, Nuclear Materials & Propulsion Operation “710 High Temperature Gas Reactor, Program Summary Report, Volume III-Fuel element Development” 1968
- Rom F.E. “Review of Nuclear Rocket Research at NASA's Lewis Research Center from 1953 through 1973” AIAA/NADSA/OAI Conference on Advanced SEI Technologies September 4-6 1991 Cleveland, OH Paper No. AIAA 91-3500
- Nikolaev Yu. V. Khromov Yu. F. Khromonozhkin V.V. Lyutikov R. A. Ivanov O. L. Galkin E. A. Zaitsev V. A. Lebedev A. M. Mitrophanov V. I. “Some Characteristics of Fuel Compositions: UO 2 , UZr(CN), U(Zr, Nb, Ta)C,UCS” Paper 4/2-2, Anniversary Specialist Conference on Nuclear Power Engineering in Space May 15-19 1990 Obninsk, U.S.S.R.
- Banks B. Rutledge S. Hotes D. “High Emittance Surfaces for High Temperature Space Radiator Applications” 1990 International Symposium on Optical and Optoelectric Applied Science and Engineering 1990
- Mirtich M. DiFilippo F. Barry J. Kussmaul M. “The Emittance of Space Radiator Materials Measured at Elevated Temperatures,”
- Banks B. Rutledge S. Mirtich M. Behred T. Hotes D. Kussmaul M. Barry, J. Sitdham C. Steuber T. DiFilippo F. “Arc-Textured Metal Surfaces for High Thermal Emittance Space Reactors”