A Fission-Powered Interstellar Precursor Mission

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An 'interstellar precursor mission' lays the groundwork for eventual interstellar exploration by studying the interstellar medium and by stretching technologies that have potential application for eventual interstellar exploration. The numerous scientific goals for such a mission include generating a 3-D stellar map of our galaxy, studying Kuiper-belt and Oort cloud objects, and observing distant objects using the sun's gravitational lens as the primary of an enormous telescope. System equations are developed for a space tug which propels a 2500-kg scientific payload to 550 astronomical units in about 20 years. The tug to transport this payload uses electric propulsion with an ... continued below

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Lenard, R.X.; Lipinski, R.J.; West, J.L. & Wright, S.A. October 28, 1998.

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  • Sandia National Laboratories
    Publisher Info: Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, and Livermore, CA
    Place of Publication: Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Description

An 'interstellar precursor mission' lays the groundwork for eventual interstellar exploration by studying the interstellar medium and by stretching technologies that have potential application for eventual interstellar exploration. The numerous scientific goals for such a mission include generating a 3-D stellar map of our galaxy, studying Kuiper-belt and Oort cloud objects, and observing distant objects using the sun's gravitational lens as the primary of an enormous telescope. System equations are developed for a space tug which propels a 2500-kg scientific payload to 550 astronomical units in about 20 years. The tug to transport this payload uses electric propulsion with an Isp of 15,000 seconds and a fission reactor with a closed Brayton cycle to genemte the electricity. The optimal configuration may be to thrust for only about 6 years and then coast for the remaining 14 pars. This spacecraft does not require any physics breakthroughs or major advances in technology. The fission power syslem can be engineered and built by drawing upon known technologies developed for relatgd systems over the past 40 years. The tug system would eventually reach 1000 a.u in 33 years, and would have adequate power to relay large amounts of data throughout its journey.

Source

  • Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF-99); Albuquerque, NM; 01/31-02/04/1999

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  • Other: DE00001556
  • Report No.: SAND98-2441C
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1556
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc625966

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 28, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 4:37 p.m.

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Lenard, R.X.; Lipinski, R.J.; West, J.L. & Wright, S.A. A Fission-Powered Interstellar Precursor Mission, article, October 28, 1998; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc625966/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.