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Integration of Radioisotope Heat Source with Stirling Engine and Cooler for Venus Internal-Structure Mission

Description: The primary mission goal is to perform long-term seismic measurements on Venus, to study its largely unknown internal structure. The principal problem is that most payload components cannot long survive Venus's harsh environment, 90 bars at 500 degrees C. To meet the mission life goal, such components must be protected by a refrigerated payload bay. JPL Investigators have proposed a mission concept employing a lander with a spherical payload bay cooled to 25 degrees C by a Stirling cooler powered by a radioisotope-heated Sitrling engine. To support JPL's mission study, NASA/Lewis and MTI have proposed a conceptual design for a hydraulically coupled Stirling engine and cooler, and Fairchild Space - with support of the Department of Energy - has proposed a design and integration scheme for a suitable radioisotope heat source. The key integration problem is to devise a simple, light-weight, and reliable scheme for forcing the radioisotope decay heat to flow through the Stirling engine during operation on Venus, but to reject that heat to the external environment when the Stirling engine and cooler are not operating (e.g., during the cruise phase, when the landers are surrounded by heat shields needed for protection during subsequent entry into the Venusian atmosphere.) A design and integration scheme for achieving these goals, together with results of detailed thermal analyses, are described in this paper. There are 7 copies in the file.
Date: October 1, 1993
Creator: Schock, Alfred
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

RTGs Options for Pluto Fast Flyby Mission

Description: A small spacecraft design for the Pluto Fast Flyby (PFF) Mission is under study by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), for a possible launch as early as 1998. JPL's 1992 baseline design calls for a power source able to furnish an energy output of 3963 kWh and a power output of 69 watts(e) at the end of the 9.2-year mission. Satisfying those demands is made difficult because NASA management has set a goal of reducing the spacecraft mass from a baseline value of 166 kg to ~110 kg, which implies a mass goal of less than 10 kg for the power source. To support the ongoing NASA/JPL studies, the Department of Energy's Office of Special Applications (DOE/OSA) commissioned Fairchild Space to prepare and analyze conceptual designs of radioisotope power systems for the PFF mission. Thus far, a total of eight options employing essentially the same radioisotope heat source modules were designed and subjected to thermal, electrical, structural, and mass analyses by Fairchild. Five of these - employing thermoelectric converters - are described in the present paper, and three - employing free-piston Stirling converters - are described in the companion paper presented next. The system masses of the thermoelectric options ranged from 19.3 kg to 10.2 kg. In general, the options requiring least development are the heaviest, and the lighter options require more development with greater programmatic risk. There are four duplicate copies
Date: October 1, 1993
Creator: Schock, Alfred
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Thermal Analysis of the Mound One Kilowatt Package

Description: The Mound One Kilowatt (1 KW) package was designed for the shipment of plutonium (Pu-238) with not more than 1 kW total heat dissipation. To comply with regulations, the Mound 1 kW package has to pass all the requirements under Normal Conditions of Transport (NCT; 38 degrees C ambient temperature) and Hypothetical Accident Conditions (HAC; package engulfed in fire for 30 minutes). Analytical and test results were presented in the Safety Analysis Report for Packaging (SARP) for the Mound 1 kW package, revision 1, April 1991. Some issues remained unresolved in that revision. In March 1992, Fairchild Space and Defense Corporation was commissioned by the Department of Energy to perform the thermal analyses. 3-D thermal models were created to perform the NCT and HAC analyses. Four shipping configurations in the SARP revision 3 were analyzed. They were: (1) The GPHS graphite impact shell (GIS) in the threaded product can (1000 W total heat generation); (2) The fueled clads in the welded product can (1000 W total heat generation); (3) The General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) module (750 W total heat generation); and (4) The Multi-Hundred Watt (MHW) spheres (810 W total heat generation). Results from the four cases show that the GIS or fuel clad in the product can is the worse case. The temperatures predicted under NCT and HAC in all four cases are within the design limits. The use of helium instead of argon as cover gas provides a bigger safety margin. There is a duplicate copy.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: Or, Chuen T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Radioisotope Stirling Generator Options for Pluto Fast Flyby Mission

Description: The preceding paper described conceptual designs and analytical results for five Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) options for the Pluto Fast Flyby (PFF) mission, and the present paper describes three Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) options for the same mission. The RSG options are based on essentially the same radioisotope heat source modules used in previously flown RTGs and on designs and analyses of a 75-watt free-piston Stirling engine produced by Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) for NASA's Lewis Research Center. The integrated system design options presented were generated in a Fairchild Space study sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Special Applications, in support of ongoing PFF mission and spacecraft studies that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is conducting for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). That study's NASA-directed goal is to reduce the spacecraft mass from its baseline value of 166 kg to ~110 kg, which implies a mass goal of less than 10 kg for a power source able to deliver 69 watts(e) at the end of the 9.2-year mission. In general, the Stirling options were found to be lighter than the thermoelectric options described in the preceding paper. But they are less mature, requiring more development, and entailing greater programmatic risk. The Stirling power system mass ranged from 7.3 kg (well below the 10-kg goal) for a non-redundant system to 11.3 kg for a redundant system able to maintain full power if one of its engines fails. In fact, the latter system could deliver as much as 115 watts(e) if desired by the mission planners. There are 5 copies in the file.
Date: October 1, 1993
Creator: Schock, Alfred
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fabric composite radiators for space nuclear power applications. Final report, March 1993

Description: Nuclear power systems will be required to provide much greater power levels for both civilian and defense space activities in the future than an currently needed. Limitations on the amount of usable power from radioisotope thermal generators and the limited availability of radioisotope heat source materials lead directly to the conclusion that nuclear power reactors will be needed to enhance the exploration of the solar system as well as to provide for an adequate defense. Lunar bases and travel to the Martian surface will be greatly enhanced by the use of high levels of nuclear power. Space based radar systems requiring many kilowatts of electrical power can provide intercontinental airline traffic control and defense early warning systems. Since the, figure of merit used in defining any space power system is the specific power, the decrease in die mass of any reactor system component will yield a tremendous benefit to the overall system performance. Also, since the heat rejection system of any power system can make up a large portion of the total system mass, any reduction in the mass of the heat rejection radiators will significantly affect the performance of the power system. Composite materials which combine the high strength, flexibility, and low mass characteristics of Si% based fibers with the attractive compatibility and heat transfer features of metallic foils, have been proposed for use m a number of space radiator applications. Thus, the weave of the fabric and the high strength capability of the individual fibers are combined with the high conductivity and chemical stability of a metallic liner to provide a light weight, flexible alternative to heavy, rigid, metallic radiator structural containers. The primary focus of this investigation revolves around two applications of the fabric composite materials, notably a fabric heat pipe radiator design and the Bubble Membrane ...
Date: March 24, 1993
Creator: Klein, A.C.; Al-Baroudi, H.; Gulshan-Ara, Z.; Kiestler, W.C.; Snuggerud, R.D.; Abdul-Hamid, S.A. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fiber optic signal amplifier using thermoelectric power generation

Description: A remote fiber optic signal amplifier for use as a repeater/amplifier, such as in transoceanic communication, powered by a Pu{sub 238} or Sr{sub 90} thermoelectric generator. The amplifier comprises a unit with connections on the receiving and sending sides of the communications system, and an erbium-doped fiber amplifier connecting each sending fiber to each receiving fiber. The thermoelectric generator, preferably a Pu{sub 238} or Sr{sub 90} thermoelectric generator delivers power to the amplifiers through a regulator. The heat exchange surfaces of the thermoelectric generator are made of material resistant to corrosion and biological growth and are directly exposed to the outside, such as the ocean water in transoceanic communications.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: Hart, M.M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Space reactor fuel element testing in upgraded TREAT

Description: The testing of candidate fuel elements at prototypic operating conditions with respect to temperature, power density, hydrogen coolant flow rate, etc., a crucial component in the development and qualification of nuclear rocket engines based on the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR), NERVA-derivative, and other concepts. Such testing may be performed at existing reactors, or at new facilities. A scoping study has been performed to assess the feasibility of testing PBR based fuel elements at the TREAT reactor. initial results suggest that full-scale PBR, elements could be tested at an average energy deposition of {approximately}60--80 MW-s/L in the current TREAT reactor. If the TREAT reactor was upgraded to include fuel elements with a higher temperature limit, average energy deposition of {approximately}100 MW/L may be achievable.
Date: May 1, 1993
Creator: Todosow, M.; Bezler, P.; Ludewig, H. & Kato, W.Y.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Experimental and theoretical investigations of Cs-Ba vapor tacitron inverter for power conditioning in space power systems

Description: The operation characteristics of the Cs-Ba tacitron as a switch are investigated experimentally in three modes: (a) breakdown mode, (b) I-V mode, and (c) current modulation mode. The switching frequency, grid potentials for ignition and extinguishing of discharge, and the Cs pressure and emission conditions (Ba pressure and emitter temperature) for stable current modulation are determined. The experimental data is also used to determine the off-time required for successful ignition, and the effects of the aforementioned operation parameters on the ignition duty cycle threshold for stable modulation. Operation parameters measured include switching frequency up to 20 kHz, hold-off voltage up to 180 V, current densities in excess of 15 A/cm[sup 2], switch power density of 1 kW/cm[sup 2]. and a switching efficiency in excess of 90% at collector C: realer than 30 V. The voltage drop strongly depends on the Cs pressure and to a lesser extent on the emission conditions. Increasing the Cs pressure and/or the emission current lowers the voltage drop, however, for the same initial Cs pressure and emission conditions, the voltage drop in the I-V mode is usually lower than that during current modulation. As long as the discharge current is kept lower that the.emission current, the voltage drop during stable current modulation could be as low as 3 V.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: El-Genk, M.; Murray, C. & Wernsman, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Design, qualification and operation of nuclear rockets for safe Mars missions

Description: Nuclear thermal propulsion modules planned for use on crew missions to Mars improve mission reliability and overall safety of the mission. This, as well as all other systems, are greatly enhanced if the system specifications take into account safety from design initiation, and operational considerations are well thought through and applied. For instance, the use of multiple engines in the propulsion module can lead to very high system safety and reliability. Operational safety enhancements may include: the use of multiple perigee burns, thus allowing time to ensure that all systems are functioning properly prior to departure from Earth orbit; the ability to perform all other parts of the mission in a degraded mode with little or no degradation of the mission; and the safe disposal of the nuclear propulsion module in a heliocentric orbit out of the ecliptic plane. The standards used to qualify nuclear rockets are one of the main cost drivers of the program. Concepts and systems that minimize cost and risk will rely on use of the element and component levels to demonstrate technology readiness and validation. Subsystem or systems testing then is only needed for verification of performance. Also, these will be the safest concepts because they will be more thoroughly understood and the safety margins will be well established and confirmed by tests.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: Buden, D.; Madsen, W.W.; Olson, T.S. (EG and G Idaho, Inc., Idaho Falls, ID (United States)) & Redd, L.R. (USDOE Idaho Field Office, Idaho Falls, ID (United States))
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Generation of neutronic thermal data in support of space nuclear propulsion

Description: The scattering kernel data for [sup 7]LiH have been generated for the first time in the temperature range 50--1000 K. This is based on a phonon distribution function derived from both experimental data and theoretical calculations. A detailed study of the variation of the moderator temperature coefficient [alpha][sub m](T) with temperature, T, is carried out for a typical space nuclear reactor of the particle bed type. It is established that the moderator temperature coefficient due to chemical binding effects follows the relationship [alpha][sub m](T) = C F[sub v](H)[sup 1.6] where F[sub v](H) is the volume fraction of bound solid hydrogen and C is a normalization constant which depends on the moderator capture thermal cross section. The value 1.65 is to be compared with 1.54 [plus minus] 0.06 derived in a previous study where water scattering kernels are applied. For control and safety reasons, a minimization of this positive component temperature coefficient can be most effective by operating the moderator at high temperatures. Advantages of this approach are outlined. In addition, suggestions are made to render the overall temperature coefficient negative.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: Mughabghab, S.; Schmidt, E. & Ludewig, H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

TFE Verification Program

Description: The objective of the semiannual progress report is to summarize the technical results obtained during the latest reporting period. The information presented herein will include evaluated test data, design evaluations, the results of analyses and the significance of results. The program objective is to demonstrate the technology readiness of a TFE (thermionic fuel element) suitable for use as the basic element in a thermionic reactor with electric power output in the 0.5 to 5.0 MW(e) range, and a full-power life of 7 years. The TFE Verification Program builds directly on the technology and data base developed in the 1960s and early 1970s in an AEC/NASA program, and in the SP-100 program conducted in 1983, 1984 and 1985. In the SP-100 program, the attractive features of thermionic power conversion technology were recognized but concern was expressed over the lack of fast reactor irradiation data. The TFE Verification Program addresses this concern.
Date: May 1, 1993
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Technology transfer personnel exchange at the Boeing Company

Description: The objective of the exchange was to transfer Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) technology and expertise in advanced ceramic fabric composites (ACFC) to the Boeing Defense Space Group (Boeing Aerospace). Boeing Aerospace was especially interested in applying PNL-developed ACFC technology to its current and future spacecraft and space missions. Boeing has on-going independent research and development (R D) programs on advanced radiators and heat pipes, therefore, PNL research in ceramic fabric heat pipes was of particular interest to Boeing. Thus, this exchange assisted in the transfer of PNL's ACFC heat pipe technology and other, related research capabilities to private industrial application. The project was proposed as an initial step in building a long-term collaborative relationship between Boeing and PNL that may result in future Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and/or other types of collaborative efforts.
Date: March 1, 1993
Creator: Antoniak, Z.I.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High temperature heat pipe experiments in low earth orbit

Description: Although high temperature, liquid metal heat pipe radiators have become a standard component on most high power space power system designs, there is no experimental data on the operation of these heat pipes in a zero gravity or micro-gravity environment. Experiments to benchmark the transient and steady state performance of prototypical heat pipe space radiator elements are in preparation for testing in low earth orbit. It is anticipated that these heat pipes will be tested aborad the Space Shuttle in 1995. Three heat pipes will be tested in a cargo bay Get Away Special (GAS) canister. The heat pipes are SST/potassium, each with a different wick structure; homogeneous, arterial, and annular gap, the heat pipes have been designed, fabricated, and ground tested. In this paper, the heat pipe designs are specified, and transient and steady-state ground test data are presented.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: Woloshun, K.; Merrigan, M.A.; Sena, J.T. (Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)) & Critchley, E. (Phillips Lab., Kirtland AFB, NM (United States))
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Preliminary nuclear safety assessment of the NEPST (Topaz II) space reactor program

Description: The United States (US) Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) decided to investigate the possibility of launching a Russian Topaz II space nuclear power system. A preliminary nuclear safety assessment was conducted to determine whether or not a space mission could be conducted safely and within budget constraints. As part of this assessment, a safety policy and safety functional requirements were developed to guide both the safety assessment and future Topaz II activities. A review of the Russian flight safety program was conducted and documented. Our preliminary nuclear safety assessment included a number of deterministic analyses, such as; neutronic analysis of normal and accident configurations, an evaluation of temperature coefficients of reactivity, a reentry and disposal analysis, an analysis of postulated launch abort impact accidents, and an analysis of postulated propellant fire and explosion accidents. Based on the assessment to date, it appears that it will be possible to safely launch the Topaz II system in the US with a modification to preclude water flooded criticality. A full scale safety program is now underway.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: Marshall, A.C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Primary and secondary electrical space power based on advanced PEM systems

Description: For new space ventures, power continues to be a pacing function for mission planning and experiment endurance. Although electrochemical power is a well demonstrated space power technology, current hardware limitations impact future mission viability. In order to document and augment electrochemical technology, a series of experiments for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Lewis Research Center (NASA LeRC) are underway at the Los Alamos National Laboratory that define operational parameters on contemporary proton exchange membrane (PEM) hardware operating with hydrogen and oxygen reactants. Because of the high efficiency possible for water electrolysis, this hardware is also thought part of a secondary battery design built around stored reactants -- the so-called regenerative fuel cell. An overview of stack testing at Los Alamos, and of analyses related to regenerative fuel cell systems are provided in this paper. Finally, this paper describes work looking at innovative concepts that remove complexity from stack hardware with the specific intent of higher system reliability. This new concept offers the potential for unprecedented electrochemical power system energy densities.
Date: January 1, 1993
Creator: Vanderborgh, N.E.; Hedstrom, J.C.; Stroh, K.R. (Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)) & Huff, J.R. (Ballard Power Corp., Albuquerque, NM (United States))
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department