Feasibility of Isotopic Power for Manned Lunar Missions. Volume 1. Summary. Page: 21 of 61
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Decontaminated fuel capsules must be shipped either separately or
in the fuel block in a shipping cask which meets Federal regulations.
The maximum credible accident that could occur during the prelaunch
operation would be an accidental dropping of the fuel source from the top
of the gantry to the concrete pad. The impact force upon the fuel con-
tainment structure would, however, be less severe than terminal ve -
locity impact resulting from re -entry.
C. LAUNCH PHASE NUCLEAR SAFETY
The launch phase of the Apollo spacecraft on its lunar mission is de-
fined as the time interval from the initiation of countdown until the space-
craft is injected into an earth-moon trajectory (thrust termination of the
S-IVB stage engine). The primary safety considerations are: (1) ade-
quate radiobiological shielding of spacecraft crew members under nor-
mal launch conditions; and (2) the occurrence of aborts and their result-
ing hazards to the spacecraft crew, launch site personnel and the gen-
An abort occurring during the ascent portion of the trajectory could
result in exposing the nuclear power system to aerodynamic heating and,
Subsequently, to earth impact at or less than terminal velocity. The de-
sign criteria for the system requires that the radioisotopic fuel be ade-
quately protected from aerothermodynamic forces such that intact re-
entry can be assured. This mode of re -entry significantly reduces pos -
sible radiobiological hazards by eliminating the grey area or partial
burnup zone. This is a major factor in terms of safety since the radio-
nuclide cannot be released to the atmosphere for a concentrated area
dispersion. In addition, intact re -entry enhances containment of the
fuel as a result of earth impact by protecting the structural integrity of
the containment structure prior to impact.
An aerothermodynamic evaluation of the radioisotope fuel containment
structures used in nuclear power systems was performed. The objective
of the study was to design the fuel containment structure for each energy
conversion system under consideration to conform to the established de -
sign criteria of intact re -entry.
D. RE-ENTRY PHASE NUCLEAR SAFETY
The re -entry phase is defined as the period from the time the service
module is jettisoned from the command module during the earth re -entry
trajectory until the astronauts are recovered and the radioisotopic power
source is disposed of safely.
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Feasibility of Isotopic Power for Manned Lunar Missions. Volume 1. Summary., report, January 1, 1964; Baltimore, Maryland. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1032333/m1/21/: accessed May 27, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.