SPACE FLIGHT SYSTEMS RADIOISOTOPE POWER SYSTEMS PROGRAM OFFICE NATIONAL CENTER FOR SPACE EXPLORATION RESEARCH EXTERNAL PARTNERS EDUCATION/OUTREACH SPACE EXPLORATION BENEFITS PROGRAM SUPPORT IMAGE GALLERY



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Nuclear Systems


"The Nuclear Systems project will test power conversion and thermal management technologies for in-space nuclear power and propulsion systems."



Nuclear 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.

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