The Nuclear Systems project will test power conversion and thermal management technologies for in-space nuclear power and propulsion systems.
The success of future exploration missions will rely on the availability of safe, readily available, and abundant power. Nuclear-based technologies have the potential to satisfy this need given the fact that they are independent of available solar energy and their performance will not diminish by environmental factors such as dust accumulation on solar panels or weakening in available solar power for outer planetary missions.
In FY 2015, the Nuclear Systems project, led by GRC, will initiate the development of a low-cost, small fission terrestrial demonstration. The 3-year development effort will result in the demonstration of a fission power system using a prototype U235 reactor core coupled to flight-like Stirling converters. The small fission reactor and Stirling power converter technology enable both future more capable outer planetary science missions as well as surface power systems for human missions to Mars. In addition to this new development effort, the project will complete the non-nuclear, thermal vacuum testing of a medium power (40 to 100 kW) in-space fission power system, which will advance the component technologies to a TRL 5.
For more information about the Nuclear Systems Project, read the fact sheet “The Fission System Gateway to Abundant Power for Exploration.”
|Principal Technologist||Project Manager|
|Lee Mason (email@example.com)||Don Palac (firstname.lastname@example.org)|