Assembly and Testing of a Radioisotope Power System for the New Horizons Spacecraft

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The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) recently fueled and assembled a radioisotope power system (RPS) that was used upon the New Horizons spacecraft which was launched in January 2006. New Horizons is the first mission to the last planet - the initial reconnaissance of Pluto-Charon and the Kuiper Belt, exploring the mysterious worlds at the edge of our solar system. The RPS otherwise known as a "space battery" converts thermal heat into electrical energy. The thermal heat source contains plutonium dioxide in the form of ceramic pellets encapsulated in iridium metal. The space battery was assembled in a new facility at ... continued below

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Rosenberg, Kenneth E. & Johnson, Stephen G. June 1, 2006.

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The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) recently fueled and assembled a radioisotope power system (RPS) that was used upon the New Horizons spacecraft which was launched in January 2006. New Horizons is the first mission to the last planet - the initial reconnaissance of Pluto-Charon and the Kuiper Belt, exploring the mysterious worlds at the edge of our solar system. The RPS otherwise known as a "space battery" converts thermal heat into electrical energy. The thermal heat source contains plutonium dioxide in the form of ceramic pellets encapsulated in iridium metal. The space battery was assembled in a new facility at the Idaho National Laboratory site near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The new facility has all the fueling and testing capabilities including the following: the ability to handle all the shipping containers currently certified to ship Pu-238, the ability to fuel a variety of RPS designs, the ability to perform vibrational testing to simulate transportation and launch environments, welding systems, a center of mass determination device, and various other support systems.

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  • AIAA 4th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference and Exhibit (IECEC),San Diego, CA,06/26/2006,06/29/2006

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-06-11282
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911656
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc891241

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  • June 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 3:58 p.m.

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Rosenberg, Kenneth E. & Johnson, Stephen G. Assembly and Testing of a Radioisotope Power System for the New Horizons Spacecraft, article, June 1, 2006; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc891241/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.