HPS: A space fission power system suitable for near-term, low-cost lunar and planetary bases

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Near-term, low-cost space fission power systems can enhance the feasibility and utility of lunar and planetary bases. One such system, the Heatpipe Power System (HPS), is described in this paper. The HPS draws on 40 yr of United States and international experience to enable a system that can be developed in <5 yr at a cost of <$100M. Total HPS mass is <600 kg at 5 kWe and <2000 kg at 50 kWe, assuming that thermoelectric power conversion is used. More advanced power conversion systems could reduce system mass significantly. System mass for planetary surface systems also may be reduced ... continued below

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13 p.

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Houts, M.G.; Poston, D.I. & Ranken, W.A. May 1, 1996.

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Description

Near-term, low-cost space fission power systems can enhance the feasibility and utility of lunar and planetary bases. One such system, the Heatpipe Power System (HPS), is described in this paper. The HPS draws on 40 yr of United States and international experience to enable a system that can be developed in <5 yr at a cost of <$100M. Total HPS mass is <600 kg at 5 kWe and <2000 kg at 50 kWe, assuming that thermoelectric power conversion is used. More advanced power conversion systems could reduce system mass significantly. System mass for planetary surface systems also may be reduced (1) if indigenous material is used for radiation shielding and (2) because of the positive effect of the gravitational field on heatpipe operation. The HPS is virtually non-radioactive at launch and is passively subcritical during all credible launch accidents. Full-system electrically heated testing is possible, and a ground nuclear power test is not needed for flight qualification. Fuel burnup limits are not reached for several decades, thus giving the system long-life potential.

Physical Description

13 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE96009803

Source

  • Space `96: 5. international conference and exposition on engineering, construction, and operations in space and 2. specialty conference on Robotics for challenging environments (RCE-II), Albuquerque, NM (United States), 1-6 Jun 1996

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  • Other: DE96009803
  • Report No.: LA-UR--96-761
  • Report No.: CONF-9606105--7
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 236233
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc668214

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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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  • May 1, 1996

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  • June 29, 2015, 9:42 p.m.

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  • Feb. 25, 2016, 7:18 p.m.

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Houts, M.G.; Poston, D.I. & Ranken, W.A. HPS: A space fission power system suitable for near-term, low-cost lunar and planetary bases, article, May 1, 1996; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc668214/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.