"The Nuclear Systems project will test power conversion and thermal management technologies for in-space nuclear power and propulsion systems."
This project will test power conversion and thermal management technologies
for in-space nuclear power and propulsion systems. Non-nuclear testing
will validate the performance of integrated systems. NASA will partner
with DOE in this development. Over the five-year budget, the project
will address five project elements: thermal power conversion, thermal
management systems, reactor simulators, thermal propulsion and fission
reactors. Not all project elements will be initiated in FY12, with
the thermal propulsion project element starting by FY14, and the
fission reactor project element starting no earlier than FY15. The
thermal power conversion project element will develop the technologies
to convert fission thermal energy into high power electric power
applicable to human exploration. The thermal management systems project
element will develop heat transfer and heat rejection capabilities
applicable to high power nuclear power and propulsion systems. The
reactor simulator project element will, in partnership with the DOE,
continue the development of fission reactor thermal source simulator
to permit the non-nucleartesting of other power and propulsion subsystems.
The fourth project element will develop the thrusters and propellant
management systems applicable to fission based thermal propulsion.
The final project element, fission reactor development, would start
no earlier than FY15, in partnership with the DOE, and only after
other power and propulsion system elements have shown viability.