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Sample records for electric space propulsion

  1. In-Space Propulsion Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dankanich, John W.

    2006-12-01

    NASA’s In-space Propulsion Technology Project is developing new propulsion technologies that can enable or enhance near and mid-term NASA science missions. The solar electric propulsion technology area has been investing in NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC), lightweight reliable feed systems, wear testing and thruster modeling. These investments are specifically targeted to increase planetary science payload capability, expand the envelope of planetary science destinations, and significantly reduce the travel times, risk and cost of NASA planetary science missions. Current status and expected capabilities of the solar electric propulsion technologies will be discussed.

  2. US in-space electric propulsion experiments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stocky, John F.; Vondra, Robert; Sutton, Alan M.

    1995-01-01

    Arcjet and ion propulsion offer potentially significant reductions in the mass of propulsion systems required for Earth orbiting satellites and planetary spacecraft. For this reason, they have been the subject of validation and demonstration programs. After examining the benefits of electric propulsion, this paper discusses the technology base for the Electric Propulsion Space Experiment (ESEX) arcjet demonstration experiment and the NASA Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) ion propulsion validation program. As part of the Advanced Research Global Observation Spacecraft (ARGOS), ESEX will perform ten 15-min firings of a 30-kW ammonia arcjet. NASA's validation program, NSTAR, consists of two major elements: a ground-test element and an in-space experiment. The ground element will validate the life, integrability, and performance of low-power ion propulsion. The in-space element will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating and flying an ion propulsion system. The experiment will measure the interactions among the ion propulsion system, the host spacecraft, and the surrounding space plasma. It will provide a quantitative assessment of the ability of ground testing to replicate the in-space performance ion thrusters. By involving industry in NSTAR, a commercial source for this technology will be ensured. Furthermore, the successful completion of the NSTAR validation program will stimulate commercial and government (both civilian and military) uses of this technology.

  3. The electric rail gun for space propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bauer, D. P.; Barber, J. P.; Vahlberg, C. J.

    1981-01-01

    An analytic feasibility investigation of an electric propulsion concept for space application is described. In this concept, quasistatic thrust due to inertial reaction to repetitively accelerated pellets by an electric rail gun is used to propel a spacecraft. The study encompasses the major subsystems required in an electric rail gun propulsion system. The mass, performance, and configuration of each subsystem are described. Based on an analytic model of the system mass and performance, the electric rail gun mission performance as a reusable orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) is analyzed and compared to a 30 cm ion thruster system (BIMOD) and a chemical propulsion system (IUS) for payloads with masses of 1150 kg and 2300 kg. For system power levels in the range from 25 kW(e) to 100 kW(e) an electric rail gun OTV is more attractive than a BIMOD system for low Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit transfer durations in the range from 20 to 120 days.

  4. In-Space Propulsion Technology Program Solar Electric Propulsion Technologies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dankanich, John W.

    2006-01-01

    NASA's In-space Propulsion (ISP) Technology Project is developing new propulsion technologies that can enable or enhance near and mid-term NASA science missions. The Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) technology area has been investing in NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC), lightweight reliable feed systems, wear testing, and thruster modeling. These investments are specifically targeted to increase planetary science payload capability, expand the envelope of planetary science destinations, and significantly reduce the travel times, risk, and cost of NASA planetary science missions. Status and expected capabilities of the SEP technologies are reviewed in this presentation. The SEP technology area supports numerous mission studies and architecture analyses to determine which investments will give the greatest benefit to science missions. Both the NEXT and HiVHAC thrusters have modified their nominal throttle tables to better utilize diminished solar array power on outbound missions. A new life extension mechanism has been implemented on HiVHAC to increase the throughput capability on low-power systems to meet the needs of cost-capped missions. Lower complexity, more reliable feed system components common to all electric propulsion (EP) systems are being developed. ISP has also leveraged commercial investments to further validate new ion and hall thruster technologies and to potentially lower EP mission costs.

  5. Nuclear Electric Propulsion for Deep Space Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, G.

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) holds considerable promise for deep space exploration in the future. Research and development of this technology is a key element of NASA's Nuclear Systems Initiative (NSI), which is a top priority in the President's FY03 NASA budget. The goal is to develop the subsystem technologies that will enable application of NEP for missions to the outer planets and beyond by the beginning of next decade. The high-performance offered by nuclear-powered electric thrusters will benefit future missions by (1) reducing or eliminating the launch window constraints associated with complex planetary swingbys, (2) providing the capability to perform large spacecraft velocity changes in deep space, (3) increasing the fraction of vehicle mass allocated to payload and other spacecraft systems, and, (3) in some cases, reducing trip times over other propulsion alternatives. Furthermore, the nuclear energy source will provide a power-rich environment that can support more sophisticated science experiments and higher- speed broadband data transmission than current deep space missions. This paper addresses NASA's plans for NEP, and discusses the subsystem technologies (i.e., nuclear reactors, power conversion and electric thrusters) and system concepts being considered for the first generation of NEP vehicles.

  6. Space nuclear power applied to electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vicente, F. A.; Karras, T.; Darooka, D.; Isenberg, L.

    1989-01-01

    Space reactor power systems with characteristics ideal for advanced spacecraft systems applications are discussed. These characteristics are: high power-to-weight ratio (15 to 33 W/kg); high volume density (high ballistic coefficient); no preferential orientation in orbit; long operational life; high reliability; and total launch and operational safety. These characteristics allow the use of electric propulsion to raise spacecraft from low earth parking orbits to operational orbits, greatly increasing the useful orbit payload for a given launch vehicle by eliminating the need for a separation injection stage. A proposed demonstration mission is described.

  7. Nuclear Electric Propulsion for Outer Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barret, Chris

    2003-01-01

    Today we know of 66 moons in our very own Solar System, and many of these have atmospheres and oceans. In addition, the Hubble (optical) Space Telescope has helped us to discover a total of 100 extra-solar planets, i.e., planets going around other suns, including several solar systems. The Chandra (X-ray) Space Telescope has helped us to discover 33 Black Holes. There are some extremely fascinating things out there in our Universe to explore. In order to travel greater distances into our Universe, and to reach planetary bodies in our Solar System in much less time, new and innovative space propulsion systems must be developed. To this end NASA has created the Prometheus Program. When one considers space missions to the outer edges of our Solar System and far beyond, our Sun cannot be relied on to produce the required spacecraft (s/c) power. Solar energy diminishes as the square of the distance from the Sun. At Mars it is only 43% of that at Earth. At Jupiter, it falls off to only 3.6% of Earth's. By the time we get out to Pluto, solar energy is only .066% what it is on Earth. Therefore, beyond the orbit of Mars, it is not practical to depend on solar power for a s/c. However, the farther out we go the more power we need to heat the s/c and to transmit data back to Earth over the long distances. On Earth, knowledge is power. In the outer Solar System, power is knowledge. It is important that the public be made aware of the tremendous space benefits offered by Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) and the minimal risk it poses to our environment. This paper presents an overview of the reasons for NEP systems, along with their basic components including the reactor, power conversion units (both static and dynamic), electric thrusters, and the launch safety of the NEP system.

  8. Recent Advances in Nuclear Powered Electric Propulsion for Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cassady, R. Joseph; Frisbee, Robert H.; Gilland, James H.; Houts, Michael G.; LaPointe, Michael R.; Maresse-Reading, Colleen M.; Oleson, Steven R.; Polk, James E.; Russell, Derrek; Sengupta, Anita

    2007-01-01

    Nuclear and radioisotope powered electric thrusters are being developed as primary in-space propulsion systems for potential future robotic and piloted space missions. Possible applications for high power nuclear electric propulsion include orbit raising and maneuvering of large space platforms, lunar and Mars cargo transport, asteroid rendezvous and sample return, and robotic and piloted planetary missions, while lower power radioisotope electric propulsion could significantly enhance or enable some future robotic deep space science missions. This paper provides an overview of recent U.S. high power electric thruster research programs, describing the operating principles, challenges, and status of each technology. Mission analysis is presented that compares the benefits and performance of each thruster type for high priority NASA missions. The status of space nuclear power systems for high power electric propulsion is presented. The paper concludes with a discussion of power and thruster development strategies for future radioisotope electric propulsion systems,

  9. Nuclear modules for space electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Difilippo, F. C.

    1998-01-01

    The analysis of interplanetary cargo and piloted missions requires the calculations of the performances and masses of subsystems to be integrated in a final design. In a preliminary and scoping stage the designer needs to evaluate options in an iterative way by using simulations that run fast on a computer. As a consequence of a collaborative agreement between the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), ORNL has been involved in the development of models and calculational procedures for the analysis (neutronic and thermal hydraulic) of power sources for nuclear electric propulsion. The nuclear modules will be integrated into the whole simulation of the nuclear electric propulsion system. The vehicles use either a Brayton direct-conversion cycle, using the heated helium from a NERVA-type reactor, or a potassium Rankine cycle, with the working fluid heated on the secondary side of a heat exchanger and lithium on the primary side coming from a fast reactor. Given a set of input conditions, the codes calculate composition, dimensions, volumes, and masses of the core, reflector, control system, pressure vessel, neutron and gamma shields, as well as the thermal hydraulic conditions of the coolant, clad and fuel. Input conditions are power, core life, pressure and temperature of the coolant at the inlet of the core, either the temperature of the coolant at the outlet of the core or the coolant mass flow and the fluences and integrated doses at the cargo area. Using state-of-the-art neutron cross sections and transport codes, a database was created for the neutronic performance of both reactor designs. The free parameters of the models are the moderator/fuel mass ratio for the NERVA reactor and the enrichment and the pitch of the lattice for the fast reactor. Reactivity and energy balance equations are simultaneously solved to find the reactor design. Thermalhydraulic conditions are calculated by solving the one

  10. Space transfer with ground-based laser/electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.; Stavnes, Mark; Oleson, Steve; Bozek, John

    1992-01-01

    Ground-based high-power CW lasers can be used to beam power to photovoltaic receivers in space that furnish electricity to space vehicles; this energy can also be used to power electric-propulsion orbital transfer vehicles. An account is presently given of the anticipated requirements for the pulsed FEL lasers, large adaptive optics, photovoltaic receivers, and high specific impulse electrical propulsion. Preliminary system analysis results are presented.

  11. Concept of electric propulsion realization for high power space tug

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zakharenkov, L. E.; Semenkin, A. V.; Solodukhin, A. E.

    2016-07-01

    Popular at the beginning of the Space Age, ambitious projects aimed at Moon, Mars, and other space objects exploration, have returned with new technology and design level. High power space tug with electric propulsion system (EPS) is mainly considered as a transport vehicle for such missions. Modern high power space tugs projects as well as their spacecraft (SC) power and propulsion systems are reviewed in the paper. The main technologies and design solutions needed for high-power EPS realization are considered.

  12. Electric propulsion applications enabled by space nuclear power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vicente, F. A.; Karras, T.; Brewer, L.; Gore, R.

    1989-01-01

    Electric propulsion promises the advantage of providing high Isp's for placing payloads into their assigned orbits. This translates into heavier payloads using a given lift capability or, conversely, the use of smaller boosters. To accomplish this, high electric powers are required. Space reactor power systems such as SP-100 enable this technology. The electric propulsion requirements needed, namely, their power requirements and the resulting payload masses and time-to-orbit, are shown. Also indicated are the missions most benefitting from the use of electric propulsion. An Interim Reference Mission is described, synthesizing the results shown, for demonstration purposes.

  13. Advanced Electric Propulsion for Space Solar Power Satellites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steve

    1999-01-01

    The sun tower concept of collecting solar energy in space and beaming it down for commercial use will require very affordable in-space as well as earth-to-orbit transportation. Advanced electric propulsion using a 200 kW power and propulsion system added to the sun tower nodes can provide a factor of two reduction in the required number of launch vehicles when compared to in-space cryogenic chemical systems. In addition, the total time required to launch and deliver the complete sun tower system is of the same order of magnitude using high power electric propulsion or cryogenic chemical propulsion: around one year. Advanced electric propulsion can also be used to minimize the stationkeeping propulsion system mass for this unique space platform. 50 to 100 kW class Hall, ion, magnetoplasmadynamic, and pulsed inductive thrusters are compared. High power Hall thruster technology provides the best mix of launches saved and shortest ground to Geosynchronous Earth Orbital Environment (GEO) delivery time of all the systems, including chemical. More detailed studies comparing launch vehicle costs, transfer operations costs, and propulsion system costs and complexities must be made to down-select a technology. The concept of adding electric propulsion to the sun tower nodes was compared to a concept using re-useable electric propulsion tugs for Low Earth Orbital Environment (LEO) to GEO transfer. While the tug concept would reduce the total number of required propulsion systems, more launchers and notably longer LEO to GEO and complete sun tower ground to GEO times would be required. The tugs would also need more complex, longer life propulsion systems and the ability to dock with sun tower nodes.

  14. Nuclear electric ion propulsion for three deep space missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chiravalle, Vincent P.

    2008-03-01

    Nuclear electric ion propulsion is considered for three sample deep space missions starting from a 500 km low Earth orbit encompassing the transfer of a 100 MT payload into a 1500 km orbit around Mars, the rendezvous of a 10 MT payload with the Jovian moon Europa and the rendezvous of a similar payload with Saturn's moon Titan. Near term ion engine and space nuclear reactor technology are assumed. It is shown that nuclear electric ion propulsion offers more than twice the payload for the Mars mission relative to the case when a nuclear thermal rocket is used for the trans-Mars injection maneuver at Earth, and about the same payload advantage relative to the case when solar electric propulsion is used for the Mars heliocentric transfer. For missions to the outer planets nuclear electric ion propulsion increases the payload mass fraction by a factor of two or more compared with high thrust systems that utilize gravity assist trajectories.

  15. Electric Propulsion Requirements and Mission Analysis Under NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dudzinski, Leonard a.; Pencil, Eric J.; Dankanich, John W.

    2007-01-01

    The In-Space Propulsion Technology Project (ISPT) is currently NASA's sole investment in electric propulsion technologies. This project is managed at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) for the NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate (SMD). The objective of the electric propulsion project area is to develop near-term and midterm electric propulsion technologies to enhance or enable future NASA science missions while minimizing risk and cost to the end user. Systems analysis activities sponsored by ISPT seek to identify future mission applications in order to quantify mission requirements, as well as develop analytical capability in order to facilitate greater understanding and application of electric propulsion and other propulsion technologies in the ISPT portfolio. These analyses guide technology investments by informing decisions and defining metrics for technology development to meet identified mission requirements. This paper discusses the missions currently being studied for electric propulsion by the ISPT project, and presents the results of recent electric propulsion (EP) mission trades. Recent ISPT systems analysis activities include: an initiative to standardize life qualification methods for various electric propulsion systems in order to retire perceived risk to proposed EP missions; mission analysis to identify EP requirements from Discovery, New Frontiers, and Flagship classes of missions; and an evaluation of system requirements for radioisotope-powered electric propulsion. Progress and early results of these activities is discussed where available.

  16. Nuclear modules for space electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Difilippo, F. C.

    1998-01-01

    Analysis of interplanetary cargo and piloted missions requires calculations of the performances and masses of subsystems to be integrated in a final design. In a preliminary and scoping stage the designer needs to evaluate options iteratively by using fast computer simulations. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been involved in the development of models and calculational procedures for the analysis (neutronic and thermal hydraulic) of power sources for nuclear electric propulsion. The nuclear modules will be integrated into the whole simulation of the nuclear electric propulsion system. The vehicles use either a Brayton direct-conversion cycle, using the heated helium from a NERVA-type reactor, or a potassium Rankine cycle, with the working fluid heated on the secondary side of a heat exchanger and lithium on the primary side coming from a fast reactor. Given a set of input conditions, the codes calculate composition. dimensions, volumes, and masses of the core, reflector, control system, pressure vessel, neutron and gamma shields, as well as the thermal hydraulic conditions of the coolant, clad and fuel. Input conditions are power, core life, pressure and temperature of the coolant at the inlet of the core, either the temperature of the coolant at the outlet of the core or the coolant mass flow and the fluences and integrated doses at the cargo area. Using state-of-the-art neutron cross sections and transport codes, a database was created for the neutronic performance of both reactor designs. The free parameters of the models are the moderator/fuel mass ratio for the NERVA reactor and the enrichment and the pitch of the lattice for the fast reactor. Reactivity and energy balance equations are simultaneously solved to find the reactor design. Thermalhydraulic conditions are calculated by solving the one-dimensional versions of the equations of conservation of mass, energy, and momentum with compressible flow.

  17. Electric Propulsion for International Space Station Reboost: A Fresh Look

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; Benson, Scott W.

    2002-01-01

    Electric propulsion has recently been revisited for reboost of space station due to its high fuel efficiency. This paper focuses upon the propulsion system and orbit analysis trades undertaken at the beginning of a study to show the relative performance of potential electric propulsion system. A code was developed to analyze continuous low thrust reboost of space station with various electric propulsion systems at various power levels. Analysis showed that a major portion of reboost of space station can be made using electric propulsion systems with 0.5 N of continuous thrust. 1.0 N of EP thrust can provide almost the entire reboost mission, Three electric propulsion systems at various total power levels were chosen for further investigation: N2H4 arcjets at 5 kW, xenon Hall at 10 kW, and xenon ion thrusters at 20 kW. They were chosen for their ability to reduce the internationally launched chemical reboost fuel by 50% or more.

  18. Solar Electric Propulsion Concepts for Human Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mercer, Carolyn R.; McGuire, Melissa L.; Oleson, Steven R.; Barrett, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Advances in solar array and electric thruster technologies now offer the promise of new, very capable space transportation systems that will allow us to cost effectively explore the solar system. NASA has developed numerous solar electric propulsion spacecraft concepts with power levels ranging from tens to hundreds of kilowatts for robotic and piloted missions to asteroids and Mars. This paper describes nine electric and hybrid solar electric/chemical propulsion concepts developed over the last 5 years and discusses how they might be used for human exploration of the inner solar system.

  19. Solar Electric Propulsion Concepts for Human Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mercer, Carolyn R.; Mcguire, Melissa L.; Oleson, Steven R.; Barrett, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Advances in solar array and electric thruster technologies now offer the promise of new, very capable space transportation systems that will allow us to cost effectively explore the solar system. NASA has developed numerous solar electric propulsion spacecraft concepts with power levels ranging from tens to hundreds of kilowatts for robotic and piloted missions to asteroids and Mars. This paper describes nine electric and hybrid solar electric/chemical propulsion concepts developed over the last 5 years and discusses how they might be used for human exploration of the inner solar system.

  20. Enhancing space transportation: The NASA program to develop electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bennett, Gary L.; Watkins, Marcus A.; Byers, David C.; Barnett, John W.

    1990-01-01

    The NASA Office of Aeronautics, Exploration, and Technology (OAET) supports a research and technology (R and T) program in electric propulsion to provide the basis for increased performance and life of electric thruster systems which can have a major impact on space system performance, including orbital transfer, stationkeeping, and planetary exploration. The program is oriented toward providing high-performance options that will be applicable to a broad range of near-term and far-term missions and vehicles. The program, which is being conducted through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Lewis Research Center (LeRC) includes research on resistojet, arcjets, ion engines, magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters, and electrodeless thrusters. Planning is also under way for nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) as part of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI).

  1. In-Space Propulsion Solar Electric Propulsion Program Overview of 2006

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baggett, Randy M.; Hulgan, Wendy W.; Dankanich, John W.; Bechtel, Robert T.

    2006-01-01

    The primary source of electric propulsion development throughout NASA is implemented by the In-Space Propulsion Technology Project at the NASA MSFC under the management of the Science Mission Directorate. The Solar Electric Propulsion technology area's objective is to develop near and mid-term SEP technology to enhance or enable mission capture while minimizing risk and cost to the end user. Major activities include developing NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), implementing a Standard Architecture, and developing a long life High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC). Lower level investments include advanced feed system development, advanced cathode testing and xenon recovery testing. Progress on current investments and future plans are discussed.

  2. High Power Electric Propulsion for Deep Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polk, Jay

    2011-01-01

    Slide presentation reviews: (1) An Electric Propulsion Primer (2) The Flexible Path and the Electric Path (2a) A New Plan for Human Exploration (2b)The Role of Electric Propulsion (3) High Power Electric Thrusters (3a)Hall Thrusters (3b) Magnetoplasmadynamic Thrusters (4)Challenges for the Next Generation of Advanced Propulsion Technologist

  3. A High-power Electric Propulsion Test Platform in Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Petro, Andrew J.; Reed, Brian; Chavers, D. Greg; Sarmiento, Charles; Cenci, Susanna; Lemmons, Neil

    2005-01-01

    This paper will describe the results of the preliminary phase of a NASA design study for a facility to test high-power electric propulsion systems in space. The results of this design study are intended to provide a firm foundation for subsequent detailed design and development activities leading to the deployment of a valuable space facility. The NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate is sponsoring this design project. A team from the NASA Johnson Space Center, Glenn Research Center, the Marshall Space Flight Center and the International Space Station Program Office is conducting the project. The test facility is intended for a broad range of users including government, industry and universities. International participation is encouraged. The objectives for human and robotic exploration of space can be accomplished affordably, safely and effectively with high-power electric propulsion systems. But, as thruster power levels rise to the hundreds of kilowatts and up to megawatts, their testing will pose stringent and expensive demands on existing Earth-based vacuum facilities. These considerations and the human access to near-Earth space provided by the International Space Station (ISS) have led to a renewed interest in space testing. The ISS could provide an excellent platform for a space-based test facility with the continuous vacuum conditions of the natural space environment and no chamber walls to modify the open boundary conditions of the propulsion system exhaust. The test platform could take advantage of the continuous vacuum conditions of the natural space environment. Space testing would provide open boundary conditions without walls, micro-gravity and a realistic thermal environment. Testing on the ISS would allow for direct observation of the test unit, exhaust plume and space-plasma interactions. When necessary, intervention by on-board personnel and post-test inspection would be possible. The ISS can provide electrical power, a location for

  4. Lightweight Radiator for in Space Nuclear Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Craven, Paul; Tomboulian, Briana; SanSoucie, Michael

    2014-01-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) is a promising option for high-speed in-space travel due to the high energy density of nuclear fission power sources and efficient electric thrusters. Advanced power conversion technologies may require high operating temperatures and would benefit from lightweight radiator materials. Radiator performance dictates power output for nuclear electric propulsion systems. Game-changing propulsion systems are often enabled by novel designs using advanced materials. Pitch-based carbon fiber materials have the potential to offer significant improvements in operating temperature, thermal conductivity, and mass. These properties combine to allow advances in operational efficiency and high temperature feasibility. An effort at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to show that woven high thermal conductivity carbon fiber mats can be used to replace standard metal and composite radiator fins to dissipate waste heat from NEP systems is ongoing. The goals of this effort are to demonstrate a proof of concept, to show that a significant improvement of specific power (power/mass) can be achieved, and to develop a thermal model with predictive capabilities making use of constrained input parameter space. A description of this effort is presented.

  5. Iodine as propellant for electric space propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grondein, Pascaline; Chabert, Pascal; Aanesland, Ane

    2014-10-01

    In PEGASES (an electric gridded thruster) both positive and negative ions are expelled after extraction from an ion-ion plasma formed downstream a localized magnetic field placed a few centimeters from the ionization region. For this thruster concept, we believe that Iodine is the best candidate. Its advantages are multiple: heavy and therefore good for high thrust, low ionization threshold and high electronegativity (the latter crucial for PEGASES) leading to high ion-ion densities and low RF power, at solid state at STP with a high vapor, and finally inexpensive. Iodine is also di-atomic and therefore energy loss in dissociation processes are reduced compared to SF6. We present here a dedicated experimental set-up intended for iodine experiments. The injection system consists of an evaporation chamber with temperature controlled gas lines and vacuum chamber to control condensation. A global model of the iodine electronegative plasma will be developed to compare and predict the plasma behavior and composition inside the thruster. The main challenge in this model is to reproduce the conditions of a strongly segregated plasma with two regions: one with rather high electron temperature and low electronegativity and the other an ion-ion plasma with low temperature.

  6. Advanced Hall Electric Propulsion for Future In-space Transportation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; Sankovic, John M.

    2001-01-01

    The Hall thruster is an electric propulsion device used for multiple in-space applications including orbit raising, on-orbit maneuvers, and de-orbit functions. These in-space propulsion functions are currently performed by toxic hydrazine monopropellant or hydrazine derivative/nitrogen tetroxide bi-propellant thrusters. The Hall thruster operates nominally in the 1500 sec specific impulse regime. It provides greater thrust to power than conventional gridded ion engines, thus reducing trip times and operational life when compared to that technology in Earth orbit applications. The technology in the far term, by adding a second acceleration stage, has shown promise of providing over 4000s Isp, the regime of the gridded ion engine and necessary for deep space applications. The Hall thruster system consists of three parts, the thruster, the power processor, and the propellant system. The technology is operational and commercially available at the 1.5 kW power level and 5 kW application is underway. NASA is looking toward 10 kW and eventually 50 kW-class engines for ambitious space transportation applications. The former allows launch vehicle step-down for GEO missions and demanding planetary missions such as Europa Lander, while the latter allows quick all-electric propulsion LEO to GEO transfers and non-nuclear transportation human Mars missions.

  7. Study of electrical and chemical propulsion systems for auxiliary propulsion of large space systems, volume 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, W. W.

    1981-01-01

    The five major tasks of the program are reported. Task 1 is a literature search followed by selection and definition of seven generic spacecraft classes. Task 2 covers the determination and description of important disturbance effects. Task 3 applies the disturbances to the generic spacecraft and adds maneuver and stationkeeping functions to define total auxiliary propulsion systems requirements for control. The important auxiliary propulsion system characteristics are identified and sensitivities to control functions and large space system characteristics determined. In Task 4, these sensitivities are quantified and the optimum auxiliary propulsion system characteristics determined. Task 5 compares the desired characteristics with those available for both electrical and chemical auxiliary propulsion systems to identify the directions technology advances should take.

  8. Proposal of Space Reactor for Nuclear Electric Propulsion System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagata, Hidetaka; Nishiyama, Takaaki; Nakashima, Hideki

    Currently, the solar battery, the chemical cell, and the RI battery are used for the energy source in space. However, it is difficult for them to satisfy requirements for deep space explorations. Therefore, other electric power sources which can stably produce high electric energy output, regardless of distance from the sun, are necessary to execute such missions. Then, we here propose small nuclear reactors as power sources for deep space exploration, and consider a conceptual design of a small nuclear reactor for Nuclear Electric Propulsion System. It is found from nuclear analyses that the Gas-Cooled reactor could not meet the design requirement imposed on the core mass. On the other hand, a light water reactor is found to be a promising alternative to the Gas-Cooled reactor.

  9. Nuclear electric propulsion for future NASA space science missions

    SciTech Connect

    Yen, Chen-wan L.

    1993-07-20

    This study has been made to assess the needs, potential benefits and the applicability of early (circa year 2000) Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) technology in conducting NASA science missions. The study goals are: to obtain the performance characteristics of near term NEP technologies; to measure the performance potential of NEP for important OSSA missions; to compare NEP performance with that of conventional chemical propulsion; to identify key NEP system requirements; to clarify and depict the degree of importance NEP might have in advancing NASA space science goals; and to disseminate the results in a format useful to both NEP users and technology developers. This is a mission performance study and precludes investigations of multitudes of new mission operation and systems design issues attendant in a NEP flight.

  10. Electric propulsion and its applications to space missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Finke, R. C.

    1981-01-01

    Consideration is given the NASA, Air Force and European electric propulsion programs, the characteristics of primary electric propulsion systems, nuclear electric orbit transfer vehicles, and such topics in the fundamental processes of electrostatic thrusters as sputtering in mercury ion thrusters, the screen hole plasma sheath of an ion accelerator system, and the modelling of ion beam neutralization and nitrogen chemisorption. Also considered are electrostatic thruster components and systems, electromagnetic thrusters such as MPD and RIT systems, electric rail guns and mass drivers, power sources which include solar and nuclear alternatives, power conversion systems and their cooling apparatus, and the environmental interactions between spacecraft and their electric propulsion systems.

  11. Space Weather Concerns for All-Electric Propulsion Satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horne, Richard B.; Pitchford, David

    2015-08-01

    The introduction of all-electric propulsion satellites is a game changer in the quest for low-cost access to space. It also raises new questions for satellite manufacturers, operators, and the insurance industry regarding the general risks and specifically the threat of adverse space weather. The issues surrounding this new concept were discussed by research scientists and up to 30 representatives from the space industry at a special meeting at the European Space Weather Week held in November 2014. Here we report on the discussions at that meeting. We show that for a satellite undergoing electric orbit raising for 200 days the radiation dose due to electrons is equivalent to approximately 6.7 year operation at geostationary orbit or approximately half the typical design life. We also show that electrons can be injected into the slot region (8000 km) where they pose a risk of satellite internal charging. The results highlight the importance of additional radiation protection. We also discuss the benefits, the operational considerations, the other risks from the Van Allen radiation belts, the new business opportunities for space insurance, and the need for space situation awareness in medium Earth orbit where electric orbit raising takes place.

  12. Overview of electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daniłko, Dariusz

    2014-11-01

    Space Electric Rocket Test (SERT 1) was the first experiment in which electric propulsion device was sent into space. The present year marks the 50th anniversary of that particular mission that opened the door for the application of electric propulsion on board spacecrafts. We present an overview of existing electric propulsion technology along with the description of the most successful missions that followed the success of the SERT 1mission.

  13. Radioisotope Electric Propulsion for Deep Space Sample Return

    SciTech Connect

    Noble, Robert J.; /SLAC

    2009-07-14

    The need to answer basic questions regarding the origin of the Solar System will motivate robotic sample return missions to destinations like Pluto, its satellite Charon, and objects in the Kuiper belt. To keep the mission duration short enough to be of interest, sample return from objects farther out in the Solar System requires increasingly higher return velocities. A sample return mission involves several complicated steps to reach an object and obtain a sample, but only the interplanetary return phase of the mission is addressed in this paper. Radioisotope electric propulsion is explored in this parametric study as a means to propel small, dedicated return vehicles for transferring kilogram-size samples from deep space to Earth. Return times for both Earth orbital rendezvous and faster, direct atmospheric re-entry trajectories are calculated for objects as far away as 100 AU. Chemical retro-rocket braking at Earth is compared to radioisotope electric propulsion but the limited deceleration capability of chemical rockets forces the return trajectories to be much slower.

  14. Electric Sail Propulsion for Exploring Nearby Interstellar Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Wiegmann, Bruce; Bangham, Mike

    2015-01-01

    An Electric Sail is a revolutionary propellant-less propulsion system that is ideal for deep space missions to the outer planets, the Heliopause, and beyond. It is revolutionary in that it uses momentum exchange with the hypersonic solar wind to propel a spacecraft within the heliosphere. The momentum exchange is affected by the deflection of charged solar wind particles by an array of electrically biased wires that extend outward up to 30 km from a slowly rotating spacecraft. A high-voltage, positive bias on the wires, which are oriented normal to the solar wind flow, deflects the streaming protons, resulting in a reaction force on the wires that is also directed radially away from the sun. Over a period of months, this small force can accelerate the spacecraft to enormous speeds-on the order of 100-150 km/s (approximately 20 to 30 AU/yr). Unlike solar sails, Electric Sails do not rely on a fixed area to produce thrust. In fact, as they move away from the Sun and solar wind pressure decreases, the area for solar proton momentum transfer becomes larger, increasing system efficiency. As a result, thrust decreases at ˜1/r**(7/6) instead of the ˜1/r**2 rate typical for solar sails. The net effect is that an increased radial range of operation, together with increased thrust, both contribute to higher velocities and shorter total trip times to distant destinations. The MSFC Advanced Concepts Office (ACO) was awarded a Phase II NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) study to mature the technology for possible future demonstration and implementation. Preliminary results indicate that the physics of the system is viable and that a spacecraft propelled by an Electric Sail could reach the Heliopause in less than 15 years - and could be developed within a decade.

  15. Electric Propulsion Apparatus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, Michael J. (Inventor)

    2013-01-01

    An electric propulsion machine includes an ion thruster having an annular discharge chamber housing an anode having a large surface area. The ion thruster includes flat annular ion optics with a small span to gap ratio. Optionally, a second electric propulsion thruster may be disposed in a cylindrical space disposed within an interior of the annulus.

  16. Low Cost Electric Propulsion Thruster for Deep Space Robotic Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Manzella, David

    2008-01-01

    Electric Propulsion (EP) has found widespread acceptance by commercial satellite providers for on-orbit station keeping due to the total life cycle cost advantages these systems offer. NASA has also sought to benefit from the use of EP for primary propulsion onboard the Deep Space-1 and DAWN spacecraft. These applications utilized EP systems based on gridded ion thrusters, which offer performance unequaled by other electric propulsion thrusters. Through the In-Space Propulsion Project, a lower cost thruster technology is currently under development designed to make electric propulsion intended for primary propulsion applications cost competitive with chemical propulsion systems. The basis for this new technology is a very reliable electric propulsion thruster called the Hall thruster. Hall thrusters, which have been flown by the Russians dating back to the 1970s, have been used by the Europeans on the SMART-1 lunar orbiter and currently employed by 15 other geostationary spacecraft. Since the inception of the Hall thruster, over 100 of these devices have been used with no known failures. This paper describes the latest accomplishments of a development task that seeks to improve Hall thruster technology by increasing its specific impulse, throttle-ability, and lifetime to make this type of electric propulsion thruster applicable to NASA deep space science missions. In addition to discussing recent progress on this task, this paper describes the performance and cost benefits projected to result from the use of advanced Hall thrusters for deep space science missions.

  17. NASA electric propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berkopec, F. D.; Stone, J. R.; Aston, G.

    1985-01-01

    It is pointed out that the requirements for future electric propulsion cover an extremely large range of technical and programmatic characteristics. A NASA program is to provide options for the many potential mission applications, taking into account work on electrostatic, electromagnetic, and electrothermal propulsion systems. The present paper is concerned with developments regarding the three classes of electric propulsion. Studies concerning electrostatic propulsion are concerned with ion propulsion for primary propulsion for planetary and earth-orbit transfer vehicles, stationkeeping for geosynchronous spacecraft, and ion thruster systems. In connection with investigations related to electromagnetic propulsion, attention is given to electromagnetic launchers, the Hall current thruster, and magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters. In a discussion of electrothermal developments, space station resistojets are considered along with high performance resistojets, arcjets, and a laser thruster.

  18. Electric propulsion for near-Earth space missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Terwilliger, C. H.; Smith, W. W.

    1980-01-01

    A set of missions was postulated that was considered to be representative of those likely to be desirable/feasible over the next three decades. The characteristics of these missions, and their payloads, that most impact the choice/design of the requisite propulsion system were determined. A system-level model of the near-Earth transportation process was constructed, which incorporated these mission/system characteristics, as well as the fundamental parameters describing the technology/performance of an ion bombardment based electric propulsion system. The model was used for sensitivity studies to determine the interactions between the technology descriptors and program costs, and to establish the most cost-effective directions for technology advancement. The most important factor was seen to be the costs associated with the duration of the mission, and this in turn makes the development of advanced electric propulsion systems having moderate to high efficiencies ( 50 percent) at intermediate ranges of specific impulse (approximately 1000 seconds) very desirable.

  19. Space transfer with ground-based laser/electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.; Stavnes, Mark; Oleson, Steve; Bozek, John

    1993-01-01

    A new method of providing power to space vehicles consists of using ground-based lasers to beam power to photovoltaic receivers in space. This can be used as a power source for electrically propelled orbital transfer vehicles.

  20. Space Propulsion Technology Program Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Escher, William J. D.

    1991-01-01

    The topics presented are covered in viewgraph form. Focused program elements are: (1) transportation systems, which include earth-to-orbit propulsion, commercial vehicle propulsion, auxiliary propulsion, advanced cryogenic engines, cryogenic fluid systems, nuclear thermal propulsion, and nuclear electric propulsion; (2) space platforms, which include spacecraft on-board propulsion, and station keeping propulsion; and (3) technology flight experiments, which include cryogenic orbital N2 experiment (CONE), SEPS flight experiment, and cryogenic orbital H2 experiment (COHE).

  1. Electric propulsion - Now

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerpheide, J. H.

    1974-01-01

    The state of the art of electric propulsion technology is discussed with a review of the many difficult engineering problems which must be resolved before the incorporation of electric propulsion in space missions. Interferences with the spacecraft and its scientific instrumentation, conducted and radiated electromagnetic interferences during the switching and processing of large electrical loads, and mercury and other eroded materials deposition on the spacecraft are indicated among the engineering and design challenges to be overcome and resolved.

  2. Radioisotope electric propulsion of sciencecraft to the outer solar system and near-interstellar space

    SciTech Connect

    Noble, R.J.

    1998-08-01

    Recent results are presented in the study of radioisotope electric propulsion as a near-term technology for sending small robotic sciencecraft to the outer Solar System and near-interstellar space. Radioisotope electric propulsion (REP) systems are low-thrust, ion propulsion units based on radioisotope electric generators and ion thrusters. Powerplant specific masses are expected to be in the range of 100 to 200 kg/kW of thrust power. Planetary rendezvous missions to Pluto, fast missions to the heliopause (100 AU) with the capability to decelerate an orbiter for an extended science program and prestellar missions to the first gravitational lens focus of the Sun (550 AU) are investigated.

  3. Solar Electric Propulsion System Integration Technology (SEPSIT). Volume 2: Encke rendezvous mission and space vehicle functional description

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gardner, J. A.

    1972-01-01

    A solar electric propulsion system integration technology study is discussed. Detailed analyses in support of the solar electric propulsion module were performed. The thrust subsystem functional description is presented. The space vehicle and the space mission to which the propulsion system is applied are analyzed.

  4. Design of Electrical Systems for Rocket Propulsion Test Facilities at the John C. Stennis Space Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hughes, Mark S.; Davis, Dawn M.; Bakker, Henry J.; Jensen, Scott L.

    2007-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the design of the electrical systems that are required for the testing of rockets at the Rocket Propulsion Facility at NASA Stennis Space Center (NASA SSC). NASA/SSC s Mission in Rocket Propulsion Testing Is to Acquire Test Performance Data for Verification, Validation and Qualification of Propulsion Systems Hardware. These must be accurate reliable comprehensive and timely. Data acquisition in a rocket propulsion test environment is challenging: severe temporal transient dynamic environments, large thermal gradients, vacuum to 15 ksi pressure regimes SSC has developed and employs DAS, control systems and control systems and robust instrumentation that effectively satisfies these challenges.

  5. Ion Propulsion Development Projects in US: Space Electric Rocket Test I to Deep Space 1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Rawlin, Vincent K.; Patterson, Michael J.

    2001-01-01

    The historical background and characteristics of the experimental flights of ion propulsion systems and the major ground-based technology demonstrations are reviewed. The results of the first successful ion engine flight in 1964, Space Electric Rocket Test (SERT) I, which demonstrated ion beam neutralization, are discussed along with the extended operation of SERT II starting in 1970. These results together with the technologies employed on the early cesium engine flights, the applications technology satellite series, and the ground-test demonstrations, have provided the evolutionary path for the development of xenon ion thruster component technologies, control systems, and power circuit implementations. In the 1997-1999 period, the communication satellite flights using ion engine systems and the Deep Space 1 flight confirmed that these auxiliary and primary propulsion systems have advanced to a high level of flight readiness.

  6. Laser space propulsion overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phipps, Claude; Luke, James; Helgeson, Wesley

    2007-05-01

    In this paper, we review the history of laser space propulsion from its earliest theoretical conceptions to modern practical applicatons. Applications begin with the "Lightcraft" flights of Myrabo and include practical thrusters for satellites now completing development as well as proposals for space debris removal and direct launch of payloads into orbit. We consider laser space propulsion in the most general sense, in which laser radiation is used to propel a vehicle in space. In this sense, the topic includes early proposals for pure photon propulsion, laser ablation propulsion, as well as propulsion using lasers to detonate a gas, expel a liquid, heat and expel a gas, or even to propagate power to a remote conventional electric thruster.

  7. Electric Propulsion Concepts Enabled by High Power Systems for Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilland, James; Fiehler, Douglas; Lyons, Valerie

    2005-01-01

    This paper describes the latest development in electric propulsion systems being planned for the new Space Exploration initiative. Missions to the Moon and Mars will require these new thrusters to deliver the large quantities of supplies that would be needed to support permanent bases on other worlds. The new thrusters are also being used for unmanned exploration missions that will go to the far reaches of the solar system. This paper is intended to give the reader some insight into several electric propulsion concepts their operating principles and capabilities, as well as an overview of some mission applications that would benefit from these propulsion systems, and their accompanying advanced power systems.

  8. Radioisotope electric propulsion of sciencecraft to the outer Solar System and near-interstellar space

    SciTech Connect

    Noble, R.J.

    1999-11-01

    Radioisotopes have been used successfully for more than 25 years to supply the heat for thermoelectric generators on various deep-space probes. Radioisotope electric propulsion (REP) systems have been proposed as low-thrust ion propulsion units based on radioisotope electric generators and ion thrusters. The perceived liability of radioisotope electric generators for ion propulsion is their high mass. Conventional radioisotope thermoelectric generators have a specific mass of about 200 kg/kW of electric power. Many development efforts have been undertaken with the aim of reducing the specific mass of radioisotope electric systems. Recent performance estimates suggest that specific masses of 50 kg/kW may be achievable with thermophotovoltaic and alkali metal thermal-to-electric conversion generators. Powerplants constructed from these near-term radioisotope electric generators and long-life ion thrusters will likely have specific masses in the range of 100 to 200 kg/kW of thrust power if development continues over the next decade. In earlier studies, it was concluded that flight times within the Solar System are indeed insensitive to reductions in the powerplant specific mass, and that a timely scientific program of robotic planetary rendezvous and near-interstellar space missions is enabled by primary electric propulsion once the powerplant specific mass is in the range of 100 to 200 kg/kW. Flight times can be substantially reduced by using hybrid propulsion schemes that combine chemical propulsion, gravity assist, and electric propulsion. Hybrid schemes are further explored in this article to illustrate how the performance of REP is enhanced for Pluto rendezvous, heliopause orbiter, and gravitational lens missions.

  9. Electric propulsion: Experimental research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ruyten, W. M.; Friedly, V. J.; Keefer, D.

    1992-01-01

    This paper describes experimental electric propulsion research which was carried out at the University of Tennessee Space Institute with support from the Center for Space Transportation and Applied Research. Specifically, a multiplexed laser induced fluorescence (LIF) technique for obtaining vector velocities, Doppler temperatures, and relative number densities in the exhaust plumes from electric propulsion devices is described, and results are presented that were obtained on a low power argon arcjet. Also, preliminary Langmuir probe measurements on an ion source are described, and an update on the vacuum facility is presented.

  10. Electric Propulsion: Experimental Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ruyten, W. M.; Friedly, V. J.; Keefer, D.

    1995-01-01

    This paper describes experimental electric propulsion research which was carried out at the University of Tennessee Space Institute with support from the Center for Space Transportation and Applied Research. Specifically, a multiplexed LIF technique for obtaining vector velocities, Doppler temperatures, and relative number densities in the exhaust plumes form electric propulsion devices is described, and results are presented that were obtained on a low power argon arcjet. Also, preliminary Langmuir probe measurements on an ion source are described, and an update on the vacuum facility is presented.

  11. Electric vehicle propulsion alternatives

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Secunde, R. R.; Schuh, R. M.; Beach, R. F.

    1983-01-01

    Propulsion technology development for electric vehicles is summarized. Analytical studies, technology evaluation, and the development of technology for motors, controllers, transmissions, and complete propulsion systems are included.

  12. Advanced Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1996-01-01

    system with a low initial development and infrastructure cost and a high operating cost. Note however that this has resulted in a 'Catch 22' standoff between the need for large initial investment that is amortized over many launches to reduce costs, and the limited number of launches possible at today's launch costs. Some examples of missions enabled (either in cost or capability) by advanced propulsion include long-life station-keeping or micro-spacecraft applications using electric propulsion or BMDO-derived micro-thrusters, low-cost orbit raising (LEO to GEO or Lunar orbit) using electric propulsion, robotic planetary missions using aerobraking or electric propulsion, piloted Mars missions using aerobraking and/or propellant production from Martian resources, very fast (100-day round-trip) piloted Mars missions using fission or fusion propulsion, and, finally, interstellar missions using fusion, antimatter, or beamed energy. The NASA Advanced Propulsion Technology program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is aimed at assessing the feasibility of a range of near-term to far term advanced propulsion technologies that have the potential to reduce costs and/or enable future space activities. The program includes cooperative modeling and research activities between JPL and various universities and industry; and directly supported independent research at universities and industry. The cooperative program consists of mission studies, research and development of ion engine technology using C60 (Buckminsterfullerene) propellant, and research and development of lithium-propellant Lorentz-force accelerator (LFA) engine technology. The university/industry-supported research includes modeling and proof-of-concept experiments in advanced, high-lsp, long-life electric propulsion, and in fusion propulsion.

  13. A study of the compatibility of science instruments with the solar electric propulsion space vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parker, R. H.; Ajello, J. M.; Bratenahl, A.; Clay, D. R.; Tsurutani, B.

    1973-01-01

    Electromagnetic interference and field-of-view constraints are identified as the areas of most concern to science on solar electric propulsion space vehicles. Several areas are indicated which more detailed data on the space vehicle environment are needed. In addition, possible means to attain or demonstrate science/space vehicle compatibility are recommended for further iteration between space vehicle design and science payload considerations. The space vehicle design developed by the solar electric propulsion system integration technology effort is used. Two payload sets for comet Encke missions (a slow flyby and a rendezvous), as well as several instruments which are not included in the two payload sets, are analyzed to determine requirements on the space vehicle imposed by the instruments in order to meet their objectives. Environmental requirements for the sets of instruments are developed and compared to both the SEPSIT design criteria and the environment as it is presently understood.

  14. Electric Propulsion Orbital Platform

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedly, V. J.; Ruyten, Wilhelmus M.; Litchford, R. J.; Garrison, G. W.

    1993-01-01

    This paper describes the Electric Propulsion Orbital Platform (EPOP), of which the primary objective is to provide an instrumented platform for testing electric propulsion devices in space. It is anticipated that the first flight, EPOP-1, will take place on the Shuttle-deployed Wake Shield Facility in 1996, and will be designed around a commercial 1.8 kW arcjet system which will be operated on gaseous hydrogen propellant. Specific subsystems are described, including the arcjet system, the propellant and power systems, and the diagnostics systems.

  15. Mechanisms of Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fisch, Nathaniel J.

    2004-11-01

    The technology of electric propulsion evolved to overcome the high propellant weight associated with propulsion by chemical means. As opposed to ejecting propellant at velocities of kilometers per second, exhaust velocities of plasma at tens of kilometers per second and more could be accomplished through electrical means. Although higher exhaust velocities require higher on-board power, the reduced propellant requirements facilitate a large variety of space transportation missions, such as orbit-raising, station-keeping, or other propulsion missions requiring the conservation of propellant mass such as interplanetary flight. To produce thrust by the application of electric forces, plasma can be accelerated directly, or ions can be accelerated and then neutralized to form flowing neutral plasma. The different mechanisms of acceleration are embodied in such thrust devices as ion thrusters, Hall thrusters, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, or arcjets. In each method of electric propulsion, different technological limitations arise from basic plasma properties. This talk reviews the basic acceleration mechanisms at play in contemporary means of electric propulsion within the broader context of accelerating plasma by any means.

  16. Reactors for nuclear electric propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Buden, D.; Angelo, J.A. Jr.

    1981-01-01

    Propulsion is the key to space exploitation and power is the key to propulsion. This paper examines the role of nuclear fission reactors as the primary power source for high specific impulse electric propulsion systems for space missions of the 1980s and 1990s. Particular mission applications include transfer to and a reusable orbital transfer vehicle from low-Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit, outer planet exploration and reconnaissance missions, and as a versatile space tug supporting lunar resource development. Nuclear electric propulsion is examined as an indispensable component in space activities of the next two decades.

  17. Electric Propulsion Applications and Impacts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Curran, Frank M.; Wickenheiser, Timothy J.

    1996-01-01

    Most space missions require on-board propulsion systems and these systems are often dominant spacecraft mass drivers. Presently, on-board systems account for more than half the injected mass for commercial communications systems and even greater mass fractions for ambitious planetary missions. Anticipated trends toward the use of both smaller spacecraft and launch vehicles will likely increase pressure on the performance of on-board propulsion systems. The acceptance of arcjet thrusters for operational use on commercial communications satellites ushered in a new era in on-board propulsion and exponential growth of electric propulsion across a broad spectrum of missions is anticipated. NASA recognizes the benefits of advanced propulsion and NASA's Office of Space Access and Technology supports an aggressive On-Board Propulsion program, including a strong electric propulsion element, to assure the availability of high performance propulsion systems to meet the goals of the ambitious missions envisioned in the next two decades. The program scope ranges from fundamental research for future generation systems through specific insertion efforts aimed at near term technology transfer. The On-Board propulsion program is committed to carrying technologies to levels required for customer acceptance and emphasizes direct interactions with the user community and the development of commercial sources. This paper provides a discussion of anticipated missions, propulsion functions, and electric propulsion impacts followed by an overview of the electric propulsion element of the NASA On-Board Propulsion program.

  18. Laser space propulsion overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phipps, Claude; Luke, James; Helgeson, Wesley

    2007-03-01

    In this paper, we review the history of laser space propulsion from its earliest theoretical conceptions to modern practical applicatons. Applications begin with the "Lightcraft" flights of Myrabo and include practical thrusters for satellites now completing development as well as proposals for space debris removal and direct launch of payloads into orbit. We consider laser space propulsion in the most general sense, in which laser radiation is used to propel a vehicle in space. In this sense, the topic includes early proposals for pure photon propulsion, laser ablation propulsion, as well as propulsion using lasers to detonate a gas, expel a liquid, heat and expel a gas, or even to propagate power to a remote conventional electric thruster. We also discuss the most recent advances in LSP. For the first time, it is possible to consider space propulsion engines which exhibit thrust of one to several newtons while simultaneously delivering 3,000 seconds, or greater, specific impulse. No other engine concept can do both in a compact format. These willl use onboard, rather than remote, lasers. We will review the concept of chemically augmented electric propulsion, which can provide overall thrust efficiency greater than unity while maintaining very low mass to power ratio, high mean time to failure and broad operating range. The main advantage of LSP is exhaust velocity which can be instantaneously varied from 2km/s to 30km/s, simply by varying laser pulsewidth and focal spot size on target. The laser element will probably be a diode-pumped, fiber master-oscillator-power-amplifier (MOPA) system. Liquid fuels are necessary for volumetric efficiency and reliable performance at the multi-kW optical power levels required for multi-N thrust.

  19. The NASA Electric Propulsion Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stone, James R.; Byers, David C.; King, David Q.

    1988-01-01

    The NASA OAST Propulsion, Power, and Energy Division supports an electric propulsion program aimed at providing benefits to a broad class of missions. Concepts which have the potential to enable or significantly benefit space exploration and exploitation are identified and advanced toward application in the near and far term. This paper summarizes recent program progress in mission/system analysis; in electrothermal, electrostatic, and electromagnetic propulsion technologies; and in propulsion/spacecraft integration.

  20. Space propulsion technology overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pelouch, J. J., Jr.

    1979-01-01

    Chemical and electric propulsion technologies for operations beyond the shuttle's orbit with focus on future mission needs and economic effectiveness is discussed. The adequacy of the existing propulsion state-of-the-art, barriers to its utilization, benefit of technology advances, and the prognosis for advancement are the themes of the discussion. Low-thrust propulsion for large space systems is cited as a new technology with particularly high benefit. It is concluded that the shuttle's presence for at least two decades is a legitimate basis for new propulsion technology, but that this technology must be predicted on an awareness of mission requirements, economic factors, influences of other technologies, and real constraints on its utilization.

  1. Space propulsion technology overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pelouch, J. J., Jr.

    1979-01-01

    This paper discusses Shuttle-era, chemical and electric propulsion technologies for operations beyond the Shuttle's orbit with focus on future mission needs and economic effectiveness. The adequacy of the existing propulsion state-of-the-art, barriers to its utilization, benefit of technology advances, and the prognosis for advancement are the themes of the discussion. Low-thrust propulsion for large space systems is cited as a new technology with particularly high benefit. It is concluded that the Shuttle's presence for at least two decades is a legitimate basis for new propulsion technology, but that this technology must be predicated on an awareness of mission requirements, economic factors, influences of other technologies, and real constraints on its utilization.

  2. Space propulsion technology and cryogenic fluid depot

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Diehl, Larry A.

    1988-01-01

    Information on space propulsion and technology and the cryogenic fluid depot is given in viewgraph form. Information is given on orbit transfer, electric propulsion, spacecraft propulsion, and program objectives.

  3. The NASA Electric Propulsion program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Byers, D. C.

    1984-01-01

    It is pointed out that the NASA Electric Propulsion program is aimed at providing technology for auxiliary and primary propulsion functions for earth-orbital and planetary space missions. Efforts in electrostatic propulsion include analyses of ion propulsion for Geosynchronous (GEO) and planetary spacecraft, continued preflight efforts associated with the Ion Auxiliary Propulsion System (IAPS), and research and technology for advanced and simplified ion thruster systems. In the area of electromagnetic propulsion, studies were conducted regarding the feasibility and impacts of the use of electromagnetic launchers. Research on magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters, electromagnetic launchers, and Hall current thrusters was also performed. Studies in the electrothermal sector included an evaluation of electric propulsion options for the Space Station, taking into account also resistojets, a pulsed electrothermal thruster, and arc jets.

  4. A Closed Brayton Power Conversion Unit Concept for Nuclear Electric Propulsion for Deep Space Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joyner, Claude Russell; Fowler, Bruce; Matthews, John

    2003-01-01

    In space, whether in a stable satellite orbit around a planetary body or traveling as a deep space exploration craft, power is just as important as the propulsion. The need for power is especially important for in-space vehicles that use Electric Propulsion. Using nuclear power with electric propulsion has the potential to provide increased payload fractions and reduced mission times to the outer planets. One of the critical engineering and design aspects of nuclear electric propulsion at required mission optimized power levels is the mechanism that is used to convert the thermal energy of the reactor to electrical power. The use of closed Brayton cycles has been studied over the past 30 or years and shown to be the optimum approach for power requirements that range from ten to hundreds of kilowatts of power. It also has been found to be scalable to higher power levels. The Closed Brayton Cycle (CBC) engine power conversion unit (PCU) is the most flexible for a wide range of power conversion needs and uses state-of-the-art, demonstrated engineering approaches. It also is in use with many commercial power plants today. The long life requirements and need for uninterrupted operation for nuclear electric propulsion demands high reliability from a CBC engine. A CBC engine design for use with a Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) system has been defined based on Pratt & Whitney's data from designing long-life turbo-machines such as the Space Shuttle turbopumps and military gas turbines and the use of proven integrated control/health management systems (EHMS). An integrated CBC and EHMS design that is focused on using low-risk and proven technologies will over come many of the life-related design issues. This paper will discuss the use of a CBC engine as the power conversion unit coupled to a gas-cooled nuclear reactor and the design trends relative to its use for powering electric thrusters in the 25 kWe to 100kWe power level.

  5. Center for Advanced Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1995-01-01

    The Center for Advanced Space Propulsion (CASP) is part of the University of Tennessee-Calspan Center for Aerospace Research (CAR). It was formed in 1985 to take advantage of the extensive research faculty and staff of the University of Tennessee and Calspan Corporation. It is also one of sixteen NASA sponsored Centers established to facilitate the Commercial Development of Space. Based on investigators' qualifications in propulsion system development, and matching industries' strong intent, the Center focused its efforts in the following technical areas: advanced chemical propulsion, electric propulsion, AI/Expert systems, fluids management in microgravity, and propulsion materials processing. This annual report focuses its discussion in these technical areas.

  6. Evaluation of High-Performance Space Nuclear Electric Generators for Electric Propulsion Application

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon; Kross, Dennis A. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Electric propulsion applications are enhanced by high power-to-mass ratios for their electric power sources. At multi-megawatt levels, we can expect thrust production systems to be less than 5 kg/kWe. Application of nuclear electric propulsion to human Mars missions becomes an attractive alternative to nuclear thermal propulsion if the propulsion system is less than about 10 kg/kWe. Recent references have projected megawatt-plus nuclear electric sources at specific mass values from less than 1 kg/kWe to about 5 kg/kWe. Various assumptions are made regarding power generation cycle (turbogenerator; MHD (magnetohydrodynamics)) and reactor heat source design. The present paper compares heat source and power generation options on the basis of a parametric model that emphasizes heat transfer design and realizable hardware concept. Pressure drop (important!) is included in the power cycle analysis, and MHD and turbogenerator cycles are compared. Results indicate that power source specific mass less than 5 kg/kWe is attainable, even if peak temperatures achievable are limited to 1500 K. Projections of specific mass less than 1 kg/kWe are unrealistic, even at the highest peak temperatures considered.

  7. Evaluation of high-performance space nuclear electric generators for electric propulsion application

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodcock, Gordon

    2002-01-01

    Electric propulsion applications are enhanced by high power-to-mass ratios for their electric power sources. At multi-megawatt levels, we can expect thrust production systems to be less than 5 kg/kWe. Application of nuclear electric propulsion to human Mars missions becomes an attractive alternative to nuclear thermal propulsion if the propulsion system is less than about 10 kg/kWe. Recent references have projected megawatt-plus nuclear electric sources at specific mass values from less than 1 kg/kWe to about 5 kg/kWe. Various assumptions are made regarding power generation cycle (turbogenerator; MHD) and reactor heat source design. The present paper compares heat source and power generation options on the basis of a parametric model that emphasizes heat transfer design and realizable hardware concepts. Pressure drop (important!) is included in the power cycle analysis, and MHD and turbogenerator cycles arc compared. Results indicate that power source specific mass less than 5 kg/kWe is attainable, even if peak temperatures achievable are limited to 1500 K. Projections of specific mass less than 1 kg/kWe are unrealistic, even at the highest peak temperatures considered. .

  8. Advanced electric propulsion and space plasma contactor research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilbur, Paul J.

    1987-01-01

    A theory of the plasma contacting process is described and experimental results obtained using three different hollow cathode-based plasma contactors are presented. The existence of a sheath across which the bulk of the voltage drop associated with the contacting process occurs is demonstrated. Test results are shown to agree with a model of a spherical, space-charge-limited double sheath. The concept of ignited mode contactor operation is discussed, which is shown to enhance contactor efficiency when it is collecting electrons. An investigation of the potentials in the plasma plumes downstream of contactors operating at typical conditions is presented. Results of tests performed on hollow cathodes operating at high interelectrode pressures (up to about 1000 Torr) on ammonia are presented and criteria that are necessary to ensure that the cathode will operate properly in this regime are presented. These results suggest that high pressure hollow cathode operation is difficult to achieve and that special care must be taken to assure that the electron emission region remains diffuse and attached to the low work function insert. Experiments conducted to verify results obtained previously using a ring cusp ion source equipped with a moveable anode are described and test results are reported. A theoretical study of hollow cathode operation at high electron emission currents is presented. Preliminary experiments using the constrained sheath optics concept to achieve ion extraction under conditions of high beam current density, low net accelerating voltage and well columniated beamlet formation are discussed.

  9. Gas Foil Bearings for Space Propulsion Nuclear Electric Power Generation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howard, Samuel A.; DellaCorte, Christopher

    2006-01-01

    The choice of power conversion technology is critical in directing the design of a space vehicle for the future NASA mission to Mars. One candidate design consists of a foil bearing supported turbo alternator driven by a helium-xenon gas mixture heated by a nuclear reactor. The system is a closed-loop, meaning there is a constant volume of process fluid that is sealed from the environment. Therefore, foil bearings are proposed due to their ability to use the process gas as a lubricant. As such, the rotor dynamics of a foil bearing supported rotor is an important factor in the eventual design. The current work describes a rotor dynamic analysis to assess the viability of such a system. A brief technology background, assumptions, analyses, and conclusions are discussed in this report. The results indicate that a foil bearing supported turbo alternator is possible, although more work will be needed to gain knowledge about foil bearing behavior in helium-xenon gas.

  10. The NASA Electric Propulsion Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Callahan, Lisa Wood; Curran, Francis M.

    1996-01-01

    Nearly all space missions require on-board propulsion systems and these systems typically have a major impact on spacecraft mass and cost. Electric propulsion systems offer major performance advantages over conventional chemical systems for many mission functions and the NASA Office of Space Access and Technology (OSAT) supports an extensive effort to develop the technology for high-performance, on-board electric propulsion system options to enhance and enable near- and far-term US space missions. This program includes research and development efforts on electrothermal, electrostatic, and electromagnetic propulsion system technologies to cover a wide range of potential applications. To maximize expectations of technology transfer, the program emphasizes strong interaction with the user community through a variety of cooperative and contracted approaches. This paper provides an overview of the OSAT electric propulsion program with an emphasis on recent progress and future directions.

  11. The PEGASUS Drive: A nuclear electric propulsion system for the space exploration initiative

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coomes, Edmund P.; Dagle, Jeffery E.

    1991-01-01

    The advantages of using electric propulsion for propulsion are well-known in the aerospace community. The high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass make it a very attractive propulsion option for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), especially for the transport of cargo. One such propulsion system is the PEGASUS Drive (Coomes et al. 1987). In its original configuration, the PEGASUS Drive consisted of a 10-MWe power source coupled to a 6-MW magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster system. The PEGASUS Drive propelled a manned vechicle to Mars and back in 601 days. By removing the crew and their associated support systems from the space craft and by incorporating technology advances in reactor design and heat rejection systems, a second generation PEGASUS Drive can be developed with an alpha less than two. Utilizing this propulsion system, a 400-MT cargo vechicle, assembled and loaded in low Earth orbit (LEO), could deliver 262 MT of supplies and hardware to MARS 282 days after escaping Earth orbit. Upon arrival at Mars the transport vehicle would place its cargo in the desired parking orbit around Mars and then proceed to synchronous orbit above the desired landing sight. Using a laser transmitter, PEGASUS could provide 2-MW on the surface to operate automated systems deployed earlier and then provide surface power to support crew activities after their arrival. The additional supplies and hardware, coupled with the availability of megawatt levels of electric power on the Mars surface, would greatly enhance and even expand the mission options being considered under SEI.

  12. The PEGASUS Drive: A nuclear electric propulsion system for the space exploration initiative

    SciTech Connect

    Coomes, E.P.; Dagle, J.E. )

    1991-01-01

    The advantages of using electric propulsion for propulsion are well-known in the aerospace community. The high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass make it a very attractive propulsion option for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), especially for the transport of cargo. One such propulsion system is the PEGASUS Drive (Coomes {ital et} {ital al}. 1987). In its original configuration, the PEGASUS Drive consisted of a 10-MWe power source coupled to a 6-MW magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster system. The PEGASUS Drive propelled a manned vechicle to Mars and back in 601 days. By removing the crew and their associated support systems from the space craft and by incorporating technology advances in reactor design and heat rejection systems, a second generation PEGASUS Drive can be developed with an alpha less than two. Utilizing this propulsion system, a 400-MT cargo vechicle, assembled and loaded in low Earth orbit (LEO), could deliver 262 MT of supplies and hardware to MARS 282 days after escaping Earth orbit. Upon arrival at Mars the transport vehicle would place its cargo in the desired parking orbit around Mars and then proceed to synchronous orbit above the desired landing sight. Using a laser transmitter, PEGASUS could provide 2-MW on the surface to operate automated systems deployed earlier and then provide surface power to support crew activities after their arrival. The additional supplies and hardware, coupled with the availability of megawatt levels of electric power on the Mars surface, would greatly enhance and even expand the mission options being considered under SEI.

  13. The NASA Electric Propulsion Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Byers, David C.; Wasel, Robert A.

    1987-01-01

    The NASA OAST Propulsion, Power and Energy Division supports electric propulsion for a broad class of missions. Concepts with potential to significantly benefit or enable space exploration and exploitation are identified and advanced toward applications in the near to far term. Recent program progress in mission/system analyses and in electrothermal, ion, and electromagnetic technologies are summarized.

  14. Nuclear electric propulsion systems overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doherty, Michael P.

    1993-01-01

    The topics are presented in viewgraph form and include the following: nuclear propulsion background; schedule for the nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) project; NEP for the Space Exploration Initiative; NEP on-going systems tasks; 20KWe mission/system study; and agenda.

  15. The MPD arcjet thruster system for Electric Propulsion Experiment onboard Space Flyer Unit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toki, Kyoichiro; Shimizu, Yukio; Kuriki, Kyoichi; Suzuki, Hiroshi; Kunii, Yoshinori

    The Electric Propulsion Experiment (EPEX) will be tested in the Space Flyer Unit Mission One (SFU-1) as the first space-flown hydrazine MPD arcjet thruster system in the world. The development was continued after the breadboard model system endurance test in 1988 to start the engineering model fabrication/test. Presently the components of EPEX are scheduled to be integrated in a Payload Unit (PLU) box together with two other experiments in order to dedicate them to a system integration test following several environment tests.

  16. Center for Advanced Space Propulsion Second Annual Technical Symposium Proceedings

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    The proceedings for the Center for Advanced Space Propulsion Second Annual Technical Symposium are divided as follows: Chemical Propulsion, CFD; Space Propulsion; Electric Propulsion; Artificial Intelligence; Low-G Fluid Management; and Rocket Engine Materials.

  17. A Facility for Testing High-Power Electric Propulsion Systems in Space: A Design Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Petro, Andrew J.

    2005-01-01

    This paper will describe the results of the preliminary phase of a NASA design study for a facility to test high-power electric propulsion systems in space. The results of this design study are intended to provide a firm foundation for a subsequent detailed design and development activities leading to the deployment of a valuable space facility supporting the new vision of space exploration. The objectives for human and robotic exploration of space can be accomplished affordably, safely and effectively with high-power electric propulsion systems. But, as thruster power levels rise to the hundreds of kilowatts and up to megawatts, their testing will pose stringent and expensive demands on existing Earth-based vacuum facilities. These considerations and the access to near-Earth space provided by the International Space Station (ISS) have led to a renewed interest in space testing. The ISS could provide an excellent platform for a space-based test facility with the continuous vacuum conditions of the natural space environment and no chamber walls to modify the open boundary conditions of the propulsion system exhaust. The platform would be designed to accommodate the side-by-side testing of multiple types of electric thrusters currently under development and thus provide a strong basis for comparing their relative performance. The utility of testing on the station is further enhanced by the human presence, enabling close interaction with and modification of the test hardware in a true laboratory environment. These conditions facilitate rapid development and flight certification at potentially lower cost than with conventional Earth-bound facilities. As an added benefit, the propulsive effect of these tests could provide some drag compensation for the station, reducing the re-boost cost for the orbital facility. While it is expected that the ISS will not be capable of generating continuous levels of high power, the utilization of state-of-the-art energy storage media

  18. Nuclear propulsion for space exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Thomas J.; Bennett, Gary L.

    1992-01-01

    The results of some recent studies of the application of both nuclear electric and nuclear thermal propulsion systems in space exploration are presented. Issues that require further study and which have a significant effect on the propulsion system design and selection are identified. Attention is given to robotic missions, lunar piloted and cargo missions, and Mars missions.

  19. Fusion for Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y. C. Francis; Schafer, Charles (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    There is little doubt that humans will attempt to explore and develop the solar system in this century. A large amount of energy will be required for accomplishing this. The need for fusion propulsion is discussed. For a propulsion system, there are three important thermodynamical attributes: (1) The absolute amount of energy available, (2) the propellant exhaust velocity, and (3) the jet power per unit mass of the propulsion system (specific power). For human exploration and development of the solar system, propellant exhaust velocity in excess of 100 km/s and specific power in excess of 10 kW/kg are required. Chemical combustion can produce exhaust velocity up to about 5 km/s. Nuclear fission processes typically result in producing energy in the form of heat that needs to be manipulated at temperatures limited by materials to about 2,800 K. Using the energy to heat a hydrogen propellant increases the exhaust velocity by only a factor of about two. Alternatively the energy can be converted into electricity which is then used to accelerate particles to high exhaust velocity. The necessary power conversion and conditioning equipment, however, increases the mass of the propulsion system for the same jet power by more than two orders of magnitude over chemical system, thus greatly limits the thrust-to-weight ratio attainable. The principal advantage of the fission process is that its development is relatively mature and is available right now. If fusion can be developed, fusion appears to have the best of all worlds in terms of propulsion - it can provide the absolute amount, the propellant exhaust velocity, and the high specific jet power. An intermediate step towards pure fusion propulsion is a bimodal system in which a fission reactor is used to provide some of the energy to drive a fusion propulsion unit. The technical issues related to fusion for space propulsion are discussed. The technical priorities for developing and applying fusion for propulsion are

  20. The PEGASUS Drive: A nuclear electric propulsion system for the space exploration initiative

    SciTech Connect

    Coomes, E.P.; Dagle, J.E.

    1990-10-01

    The advantages of using electric propulsion for propulsion are well-known in the aerospace community. The high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass make it a very attractive propulsion option for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), especially for the transport of cargo. One such propulsion system is the PEGASUS Drive (Coomes et al. 1987). In its original configuration, the PEGASUS Drive consisted of a 10-MWe power source coupled to a 6-MW magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster system. The PEGASUS Drive propelled a manned vehicle to Mars and back in 601 days. By removing the crew and their associated support systems from the spacecraft and by incorporating technology advances in reactor design and heat rejection systems, a second generation PEGASUS Drive can be developed with an alpha less than two. Utilizing this propulsion system, a 400-MT cargo vehicle, assembled and loaded in low Earth orbit (LEO), could deliver 262 MT of supplies and hardware to Mars 282 days after escaping Earth orbit. Upon arrival at Mars the transport vehicle would place its cargo in the desired parking orbit around Mars and then proceed to synchronous orbit above the desired landing sight. Using a laser transmitter, PEGASUS would provide 2-MWe on the surface to operate automated systems deployed earlier and then provide surface power to support crew activities after their arrival. The additional supplies and hardware, coupled with the availability of megawatt levels of electric power on the Mars surface, would greatly enhance and even expand the mission options being considered under SEI. 9 refs., 1 fig., 1 tab.

  1. Lightweight Damage Tolerant Radiators for In-Space Nuclear Electric Power and Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Craven, Paul; SanSoucie, Michael P.; Tomboulian, Briana; Rogers, Jan; Hyers, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) is a promising option for high-speed in-space travel due to the high energy density of nuclear power sources and efficient electric thrusters. Advanced power conversion technologies for converting thermal energy from the reactor to electrical energy at high operating temperatures would benefit from lightweight, high temperature radiator materials. Radiator performance dictates power output for nuclear electric propulsion systems. Pitch-based carbon fiber materials have the potential to offer significant improvements in operating temperature and mass. An effort at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to show that woven high thermal conductivity carbon fiber mats can be used to replace standard metal and composite radiator fins to dissipate waste heat from NEP systems is ongoing. The goals of this effort are to demonstrate a proof of concept, to show that a significant improvement of specific power (power/mass) can be achieved, and to develop a thermal model with predictive capabilities. A description of this effort is presented.

  2. Solar Electric Propulsion Vehicle Demonstration to Support Future Space Exploration Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, Bryan K.; Nazario, Margaret L.; Cunningham, Cameron C.

    2012-01-01

    Human and robotic exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will require enabling capabilities that are efficient, affordable, and reliable. Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) is highly advantageous because of its favorable in-space mass transfer efficiency compared to traditional chemical propulsion systems. The NASA studies have demonstrated that this advantage becomes highly significant as missions progress beyond Earth orbit. Recent studies of human exploration missions and architectures evaluated the capabilities needed to perform a variety of human exploration missions including missions to Near Earth Objects (NEOs). The studies demonstrated that SEP stages have potential to be the most cost effective solution to perform beyond LEO transfers of high mass cargoes for human missions. Recognizing that these missions require power levels more than 10X greater than current electric propulsion systems, NASA embarked upon a progressive pathway to identify critical technologies needed and a plan for an incremental demonstration mission. The NASA studies identified a 30kW class demonstration mission that can serve as a meaningful demonstration of the technologies, operational challenges, and provide the appropriate scaling and modularity required. This paper describes the planning options for a representative demonstration 30kW class SEP mission.

  3. Electric propulsion for small satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keidar, Michael; Zhuang, Taisen; Shashurin, Alexey; Teel, George; Chiu, Dereck; Lukas, Joseph; Haque, Samudra; Brieda, Lubos

    2015-01-01

    Propulsion is required for satellite motion in outer space. The displacement of a satellite in space, orbit transfer and its attitude control are the task of space propulsion, which is carried out by rocket engines. Electric propulsion uses electric energy to energize or accelerate the propellant. The electric propulsion, which uses electrical energy to accelerate propellant in the form of plasma, is known as plasma propulsion. Plasma propulsion utilizes the electric energy to first, ionize the propellant and then, deliver energy to the resulting plasma leading to plasma acceleration. Many types of plasma thrusters have been developed over last 50 years. The variety of these devices can be divided into three main categories dependent on the mechanism of acceleration: (i) electrothermal, (ii) electrostatic and (iii) electromagnetic. Recent trends in space exploration associate with the paradigm shift towards small and efficient satellites, or micro- and nano-satellites. A particular example of microthruster considered in this paper is the micro-cathode arc thruster (µCAT). The µCAT is based on vacuum arc discharge. Thrust is produced when the arc discharge erodes some of the cathode at high velocity and is accelerated out the nozzle by a Lorentz force. The thrust amount is controlled by varying the frequency of pulses with demonstrated range to date of 1-50 Hz producing thrust ranging from 1 µN to 0.05 mN.

  4. Electric Propulsion Electronics Activities in Europe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gollor, Matthias; Weinberg, Simon; Galantini, Paolo; Boss, Michael; Bourguignon, Eric; de la Cruz, Frederico

    2008-09-01

    For European space missions the importance of electric propulsion is growing strongly. The initial drivers of this development were programs of the European Space Agency and projects of the European national space agencies. In addition, electric propulsion is getting more and more acceptance from European commercial satellite manufacturers. European space industry, represented by individual companies, has developed specific and broad-use solutions for the electronics dedicated to powering and controlling electric propulsion systems.

  5. The NASA Electric Propulsion Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Curran, Francis M.; Brophy, John R.; Bennett, Gary L.

    1993-01-01

    NASA has defined and undertaken an evolutionary technology program for high performance electric propulsion systems, which could greatly affect the logistics weight requirements for such large space structures as Space Station Freedom. Attention is presently given to the development status of hydrazine and high power arcjets, resistojets, the characterization of rocket flows and plumes, electrostatic and electromagnetic propulsion systems, and development programs aimed at the determination of opportune technology-insertion activities.

  6. Micro electric propulsion feasibility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aston, Graeme; Aston, Martha

    1992-01-01

    Miniature, 50 kg class, strategic satellites intended for extended deployment in space require an on-board propulsion capability to perform needed attitude control adjustments and drag compensation maneuvers. Even on such very small spacecraft, these orbit maintenance functions can be significant and result in a substantial propellant mass requirement. Development of advanced propulsion technology could reduce this propellant mass significantly, and thereby maximize the payload capability of these spacecraft. In addition, spacecraft maneuverability could be enhanced and/or multi-year mission lifetimes realized. These benefits cut spacecraft replacement costs, and reduce services needed to maintain the launch vehicles. For SDIO brilliant pebble spacecraft, a miniaturized hydrazine propulsion system provides both boost and divert thrust control. This type of propulsion system is highly integrated and is capable of delivering large thrust levels for short time periods. However, orbit maintenance functions such as drag make-up require only very small velocity corrections. Using the boost and/or divert thrusters for these small corrections exposes this highly integrated propulsion system to continuous on/off cycling and thereby increases the risk of system failure. Furthermore, since drag compensation velocity corrections would be orders of magnitude less than these thrusters were designed to deliver, their effective specific impulse would be expected to be lower when operated at very short pulse lengths. The net result of these effects would be a significant depletion of the on-board hydrazine propellant supply throughout the mission, and a reduced propulsion system reliability, both of which would degrade the interceptors usefulness. In addition to SDIO brilliant pebble spacecraft, comparably small spacecraft can be anticipated for other future strategic defense applications such as surveillance and communication. For such spacecraft, high capability and reliability

  7. Electric propulsion options for 10 kW class earth space missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, M. J.; Curran, Francis M.

    1989-01-01

    Five and 10 kW ion and arcjet propulsion system options for a near-term space demonstration experiment have been evaluated. Analyses were conducted to determine first-order propulsion system performance and system component mass estimates. Overall mission performance of the electric propulsion systems was quantified in terms of the maximum thrusting time, total impulse, and velocity increment capability available when integrated onto a generic spacecraft under fixed mission model assumptions. Maximum available thrusting times for the ion-propelled spacecraft options, launched on a DELTA II 6920 vehicle, range from approximately 8,600 hours for a 4-engine 10 kW system to more than 29,600 hours for a single-engine 5 kW system. Maximum total impulse values and maximum delta-v's range from 1.2x10(7) to 2.1x10(7) N-s, and 3550 to 6200 m/s, respectively. Maximum available thrusting times for the arcjet propelled spacecraft launched on the DELTA II 6920 vehicle range from approximately 528 hours for the 6-engine 10 kW hydrazine system to 2328 hours for the single-engine 5 kW system. Maximum total impulse values and maximum delta-v's range from 2.2x10(6) to 3.6x10(6) N-s, and approximately 662 to 1072 m/s, respectively.

  8. Electric Propulsion Options for 10 kW Class Earth-Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patterson, M. J.; Curran, Francis M.

    1989-01-01

    Five and 10 kW ion and arcjet propulsion system options for a near-term space demonstration experiment were evaluated. Analyses were conducted to determine first-order propulsion system performance and system component mass estimates. Overall mission performance of the electric propulsion systems was quantified in terms of the maximum thrusting time, total impulse, and velocity increment capability available when integrated onto a generic spacecraft under fixed mission model assumptions. Maximum available thrusting times for the ion-propelled spacecraft options, launched on a DELTA 2 6920 vehicle, range from approximately 8,600 hours for a 4-engine 10 kW system to more than 29,600 hours for a single-engine 5 kW system. Maximum total impulse values and maximum delta-v's range from 1.2x10 (exp 7) to 2.1x10 (exp 7) N-s, and 3550 to 6200 m/s, respectively. Maximum available thrusting times for the arcjet propelled spacecraft launched on the DELTA 2 6920 vehicle range from approximately 528 hours for the 6-engine 10 kW hydrazine system to 2328 hours for the single-engine 5 kW system. Maximum total impulse values and maximum delta-v's range from 2.2x10 (exp 6) to 3.6x10 (exp 6) N-s, and approximately 662 to 1072 m/s, respectively.

  9. Test facilities for high power electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Vetrone, Robert H.; Grisnik, Stanley P.; Myers, Roger M.; Parkes, James E.

    1991-01-01

    Electric propulsion has applications for orbit raising, maneuvering of large space systems, and interplanetary missions. These missions involve propulsion power levels from tenths to tens of megawatts, depending upon the application. General facility requirements for testing high power electric propulsion at the component and thrust systems level are defined. The characteristics and pumping capabilities of many large vacuum chambers in the United States are reviewed and compared with the requirements for high power electric propulsion testing.

  10. Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)

    NASA Video Gallery

    Future Human Exploration requires high power solar electric propulsion vehicles to move cargo and humans beyond Low Earth Orbit, which requires large light weight arrays, high power processing, and...

  11. Advanced Space Fission Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Borowski, Stanley K.

    2010-01-01

    Fission has been considered for in-space propulsion since the 1940s. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) systems underwent extensive development from 1955-1973, completing 20 full power ground tests and achieving specific impulses nearly twice that of the best chemical propulsion systems. Space fission power systems (which may eventually enable Nuclear Electric Propulsion) have been flown in space by both the United States and the Former Soviet Union. Fission is the most developed and understood of the nuclear propulsion options (e.g. fission, fusion, antimatter, etc.), and fission has enjoyed tremendous terrestrial success for nearly 7 decades. Current space nuclear research and technology efforts are focused on devising and developing first generation systems that are safe, reliable and affordable. For propulsion, the focus is on nuclear thermal rockets that build on technologies and systems developed and tested under the Rover/NERVA and related programs from the Apollo era. NTP Affordability is achieved through use of previously developed fuels and materials, modern analytical techniques and test strategies, and development of a small engine for ground and flight technology demonstration. Initial NTP systems will be capable of achieving an Isp of 900 s at a relatively high thrust-to-weight ratio. The development and use of first generation space fission power and propulsion systems will provide new, game changing capabilities for NASA. In addition, development and use of these systems will provide the foundation for developing extremely advanced power and propulsion systems capable of routinely and affordably accessing any point in the solar system. The energy density of fissile fuel (8 x 10(exp 13) Joules/kg) is more than adequate for enabling extensive exploration and utilization of the solar system. For space fission propulsion systems, the key is converting the virtually unlimited energy of fission into thrust at the desired specific impulse and thrust

  12. Fusion for Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y. C. Francis; Schafer, Charles (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    There is little doubt that humans will attempt to explore and develop the solar system in this century. A large amount of energy will be required for accomplishing this. The need for fusion propulsion is discussed. For a propulsion system, there are three important thermodynamical attributes: (1) The absolute amount of energy available, (2) the propellant exhaust velocity, and (3) the jet power per unit mass of the propulsion system (specific power). For human exploration and development of the solar system, propellant exhaust velocity in excess of 100 km/s and specific power in excess of 10 kW/kg are required. Chemical combustion can produce exhaust velocity up to about 5 km/s. Nuclear fission processes typically result in producing energy in the form of heat that needs to be manipulated at temperatures limited by materials to about 2,800 K. Using the energy to heat a hydrogen propellant increases the exhaust velocity by only a factor of about two. Alternatively the energy can be converted into electricity which is then used to accelerate particles to high exhaust velocity. The necessary power conversion and conditioning equipment, however, increases the mass of the propulsion system for the same jet power by more than two orders of magnitude over chemical system, thus greatly limits the thrust-to-weight ratio attainable. The principal advantage of the fission process is that its development is relatively mature and is available right now. If fusion can be developed, fusion appears to have the best of all worlds in terms of propulsion - it can provide the absolute amount, the propellant exhaust velocity, and the high specific jet power. An intermediate step towards pure fusion propulsion is a bimodal system in which a fission reactor is used to provide some of the energy to drive a fusion propulsion unit. The technical issues related to fusion for space propulsion are discussed. The technical priorities for developing and applying fusion for propulsion are

  13. Space station propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norman, A. M.; Briley, G. L.; Evans, S. A.

    1987-01-01

    The objectives of this program are to provide a demonstration of hydrogen/oxygen propulsion technology readiness for the initial operational capability (IOC) space station application, specifically gaseous hydrogen/oxygen and warm hydrogen thruster concepts, and to establish a means for evolving from the IOC space station propulsion system (SSPS) to that required to support and interface with advanced station functions. These objectives were met by analytical studies and by furnishing a propulsion test bed to the Marshall Space Flight Center for testing.

  14. Mission applications of electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Atkins, K. L.

    1974-01-01

    This paper reviews the mission applications of electric propulsion. The energy requirements of candidate high-energy missions gaining in NASA priority are used to highlight the potential of electric propulsion. Mission-propulsion interfaces are examined to point out differences between chemical and electric applications. Brief comparisons between ballistic requirements and capabilities and those of electric propulsion show that electric propulsion is presently the most practical and perhaps the only technology which can accomplish missions with these energy requirements.

  15. Space Molten Salt Reactor Concept for Nuclear Electric Propulsion and Surface Power

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eades, M.; Flanders, J.; McMurray, N.; Denning, R.; Sun, X.; Windl, W.; Blue, T.

    Students at The Ohio State University working under the NASA Steckler Grant sought to investigate how molten salt reactors with fissile material dissolved in a liquid fuel medium can be applied to space applications. Molten salt reactors of this kind, built for non-space applications, have demonstrated high power densities, high temperature operation without pressurization, high fuel burn up and other characteristics that are ideal for space fission systems. However, little research has been published on the application of molten salt reactor technology to space fission systems. This paper presents a conceptual design of the Space Molten Salt Reactor (SMSR), which utilizes molten salt reactor technology for Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) and surface power at the 100 kWe to 15 MWe level. Central to the SMSR design is a liquid mixture of LiF, BeF2 and highly enriched U235F4 that acts as both fuel and core coolant. In brief, some of the positive characteristics of the SMSR are compact size, simplified core design, high fuel burn up percentages, proliferation resistant features, passive safety mechanisms, a considerable body of previous research, and the possibility for flexible mission architecture.

  16. A large high vacuum, high pumping speed space simulation chamber for electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grisnik, Stanley P.; Parkes, James E.

    1994-01-01

    Testing high power electric propulsion devices poses unique requirements on space simulation facilities. Very high pumping speeds are required to maintain high vacuum levels while handling large volumes of exhaust products. These pumping speeds are significantly higher than those available in most existing vacuum facilities. There is also a requirement for relatively large vacuum chamber dimensions to minimize facility wall/thruster plume interactions and to accommodate far field plume diagnostic measurements. A 4.57 m (15 ft) diameter by 19.2 m (63 ft) long vacuum chamber at NASA Lewis Research Center is described. The chamber utilizes oil diffusion pumps in combination with cryopanels to achieve high vacuum pumping speeds at high vacuum levels. The facility is computer controlled for all phases of operation from start-up, through testing, to shutdown. The computer control system increases the utilization of the facility and reduces the manpower requirements needed for facility operations.

  17. Electric propulsion cost estimation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palaszewski, B. A.

    1985-01-01

    A parametric cost model for mercury ion propulsion modules is presented. A detailed work breakdown structure is included. Cost estimating relationships were developed for the individual subsystems and the nonhardware items (systems engineering, software, etc.). Solar array and power processor unit (PPU) costs are the significant cost drivers. Simplification of both of these subsystems through applications of advanced technology (lightweight solar arrays and high-efficiency, self-radiating PPUs) can reduce costs. Comparison of the performance and cost of several chemical propulsion systems with the Hg ion module are also presented. For outer-planet missions, advanced solar electric propulsion (ASEP) trip times and O2/H2 propulsion trip times are comparable. A three-year trip time savings over the baselined NTO/MMH propulsion system is possible with ASEP.

  18. Radioisotope electric propulsion for robotic science missions to near-interstellar space

    SciTech Connect

    Noble, R.J.

    1994-10-01

    The use of radioisotope electric propulsion for sending small robotic probes on fast science missions several hundred astronomical units (AU) from the Sun is investigated. Such missions would address a large variety of solar, interstellar, galactic and cosmological science themes from unique vantage points at 100 to 600 AU, including parallax distance measurements for the entire Milky Way Galaxy, sampling of the interstellar medium and imaging of cosmological objects at the gravitational lens foci of the Sun ({ge} 550 AU). Radioisotope electric propulsion (REP) systems are low-thrust, ion propulsion units based on multi-hundred watt, radioisotope electric generators and ion thrusters. In a previous work, the flight times for rendezvous missions to the outer planets (< 30 AU) using REP were found to be less than fifteen years. However fast prestellar missions to several hundred AU are not possible unless the probe`s energy can be substantially increased in the inner Solar System so as to boost the final hyperbolic excess velocity. In this paper an economical hybrid propulsion scheme combining chemical propulsion and gravity assist in the inner Solar System and radioisotope electric propulsion in the outer Solar System is studied which enables fast prestellar missions. Total hyperbolic excess velocities of 15 AU/year and flight times to 550 AU of about 40 years are possible using REP technology that may be available in the next decade.

  19. Electric propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Finke, R. C.

    1980-01-01

    The advanced electric propulsion program is directed towards lowering the specific impulse and increasing the thrust per unit of ion thruster systems. In addition, electrothermal and electromagnetic propulsion technologies are being developed to attempt to fill the gap between the conventional ion thruster and chemical rocket systems. Most of these new concepts are exagenous and are represented by rail accelerators, ablative Teflon thrusters, MPD arcs, Free Radicals, etc. Endogenous systems such as metallic hydrogen offer great promise and are also being pursued.

  20. Mission roles for the Solar Electric Propulsion Stage (SEPS) with the space transportation system. Volume 1: Executive summary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hammock, D. M.

    1975-01-01

    A study was conducted to determine the characteristics of solar electric propulsion stage (SEPS) for the space transportation system. Emphasis is placed on the rationale leading to the concepts for the development and operations program which enhances the cost effectiveness of the SEPS operating with the space transportation system. The approach in describing design concepts and configurations is concerned with the decision controlling factors and selection criteria. The mission roles for the SEPS in accomplishing proposed space activities are defined.

  1. Development of the electrical power subsystem for the electric propulsion experiment onboard the Space Flyer Unit (SFU)

    SciTech Connect

    Kunii, Y.; Moriai, T.; Sasaki, H.; Okamura, T.; Harada, H.

    1987-05-01

    Bread Board Model of a few kW class electrical power subsystem is being developed for the Electric Propulsion Experiment (EPEX), which is a space experiment program for a quasi-steady MPD thruster system. EPEX is planned to be tested on a Japanese free flying platform, which is planned to be operational in the 1990s. A one-million-cycle endurance test was carried out from December 1985 to January 1986 with a 1-kW-class pulse forming network (PFN) using improved plastic film capacitors of reduced weight. The test was accomplished in a vacuum chamber with arc discharges. The BBM PFN was designed and manufactured with the results of the one-million-cycle endurance test, and a ten-million cycle endurance test is planned starting October 1987. 8 references.

  2. Geosynchronous earth orbit base propulsion - electric propulsion options

    SciTech Connect

    Palaszewski, B.

    1987-01-01

    Electric propulsion and chemical propulsion requirements for a geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) base were analyzed. The base is resupplied from the Space Station's low earth orbit. Orbit-transfer Delta-Vs, nodal-regression Delta-Vs and orbit-maintenance Delta-Vs were considered. For resupplying the base, a cryogenic oxygen/hydrogen (O2/H2) orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) is currently-baselined. Comparisons of several electric propulsion options with the O2/H2 OTV were conducted. Propulsion requirements for missions related to the GEO base were also analyzed. Payload data for the GEO missions were drawn from current mission data bases. Detailed electric propulsion module designs are presented. Mission analyses and propulsion analyses for the GEO-delivered payloads are included. 23 references.

  3. In-Space Propulsion for Science and Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop-Behel, Karen; Johnson, Les

    2004-01-01

    This paper presents viewgraphs on the development of In-Space Propulsion Technologies for Science and Exploration. The topics include: 1) In-Space Propulsion Technology Program Overview; 2) In-Space Propulsion Technology Project Status; 3) Solar Electric Propulsion; 4) Next Generation Electric Propulsion; 5) Aerocapture Technology Alternatives; 6) Aerocapture; 7) Advanced Thermal Protection Systems Developed and Being Tested; 8) Solar Sails; 9) Advanced Chemical Propulsion; 10) Momentum Exchange Tethers; and 11) Momentum-exchange/electrodynamic reboost (MXER) Tether Basic Operation.

  4. An overview of the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Space Test Program (NEPSTP) satellite

    SciTech Connect

    Voss, S.S.; Reynolds, E.L.

    1994-06-01

    Early in 1992 the idea of purchasing a Russian designed and fabricated space reactor power system and integrating it with a US designed satellite went from fiction to reality with the purchase of the first two Topaz II reactors by the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (now the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). The New Mexico Alliance was formed to establish a ground test facility in which to perform nonnuclear systems testing of the Topaz II, and to evaluate the Topaz 11 system for flight testing with respect to safety, performance, and operability. In conjunction, SDIO requested that the Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD propose a mission and design a satellite in which the Topaz II could be used as the power source. The outcome of these two activities was the design of the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Space Test Program (NEPSTP) satellite which combines a modified Russian Topaz II power system with a US designed satellite to achieve a specified mission. Due to funding reduction within the SDIO, the Topaz II flight program was postponed indefinitely at the end of Fiscal Year 1993. The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of the NEPSTP mission and the satellite design at the time the flight program ended.

  5. Mission roles for the solar electric propulsion stage with the space transportation system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1974-01-01

    A briefing outline is presented of the mission roles for the solar electric propulsion stage (SEPS). Topics outlined include operational considerations and mission characteristics, trade studies and technology assessments influencing SEPS configuration definition, program support requirements, and development and operations cost estimates.

  6. Flow Control of Liquid Metal Propellants for In-Space Electric Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bonds, Kevin W.; Polzin, Kurt A.

    2010-01-01

    Operation of Hall thrusters with bismuth propellant has been shown to be a promising path for development of high-power (140 kW per thruster), high performance (8000s I(sub sp at >70% efficiency) electric propulsion systems.

  7. Optimizing space-charge limits of electron emission into plasmas with application to in-space electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, David Peter

    The topic of this thesis is the improvement of space-charge limits for electron emission into a plasma, primarily as applied to in-space electric propulsion applications. The space-charge limit is the point at which the electrostatic forces in a beam of emitted charged particles becomes sufficient to slow down and reflect new particles as they are emitted. Any emitter operating above this limit will suffer severe efficiency losses, as an average of 50% or more of the beam is reflected back to the emitter. This limit is especially salient to small spacecraft electric propulsion and other applications where power spent on electron emission is at a premium, such that it is not acceptable to improve the space-charge limit by simply adding energy to the emitted beam. The primary motivation of this work is field effect electron emitters because they are capable of high-current, low-power emission, but the results are applicable to thermionic and other types of emitters as well. Several techniques were studied including variation of emitter size and spacing, the addition of defocus rings, and time and spatial modulation of the emitted beam. Separating large emitters into multiple small emitters provided the greatest improvement, and trade studies are given showing the balance between integration cost and emission power. Defocus rings were found to be capable of improving emission from small emitters by 40% even in their most simple form of a grounded ring. Modulation of the beam was less effective at improving the space-charge limit, with a modulated beam having at best the same time-average space-charge limit as an un-modulated beam. It was discovered, however, that beam modulation significantly increases the efficiency of emission when the emitter must operate at current levels higher than the space-charge limit. Finally, it was confirmed that these results are consistent both for emission across a vacuum gap to a conducting anode, and across a plasma sheath into a

  8. Space station propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briley, G. L.

    1986-01-01

    The progress on the Space Station Propulsion Technology Program is described. The objectives are to provide a demonstration of hydrogen/oxygen propulsion technology readiness for the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) space station application, specifically gaseous hydrogen/oxygen and warm hydrogen thruster concepts, and to establish a means for evolving from the IOC space station propulsion to that required to support and interface with advanced station functions. The evaluation of concepts was completed. The accumulator module of the test bed was completed and, with the microprocessor controller, delivered to NASA-MSFC. An oxygen/hydrogen thruster was modified for use with the test bed and successfully tested at mixture ratios from 4:1 to 8:1.

  9. High Power Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) for Cargo and Propellant Transfer Missions in Cislunar Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Falck, Robert D.; Borowski, Stanley K.

    2003-01-01

    The performance of Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) in transporting cargo and propellant from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to the first Earth-Moon Lagrange point (EML1) is examined. The baseline NEP vehicle utilizes a fission reactor system with Brayton power conversion for electric power generation to power multiple liquid hydrogen magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters. Vehicle characteristics and performance levels are based on technology availability in a fifteen to twenty year timeframe. Results of numerical trajectory analyses are also provided.

  10. Fusion for Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y. C. Francis; Schmidt, George R.; Santarius, John F.; Turchi, Peter J.; Siemon, Richard E.; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The need for fusion propulsion for interplanetary flights is discussed. For a propulsion system, there are three important system attributes: (1) The absolute amount of energy available, (2) the propellant exhaust velocity, and (3) the jet power per unit mass of the propulsion system (specific power). For efficient and affordable human exploration of the solar system, propellant exhaust velocity in excess of 100 km/s and specific power in excess of 10 kW/kg are required. Chemical combustion obviously cannot meet the requirement in propellant exhaust velocity. Nuclear fission processes typically result in producing energy in the form of heat that needs to be manipulated at temperatures limited by materials to about 2,800 K. Using the fission energy to heat a low atomic weight propellant produces propellant velocity of the order of 10 kinds. Alternatively the fission energy can be converted into electricity that is used to accelerate particles to high exhaust velocity. However, the necessary power conversion and conditioning equipment greatly increases the mass of the propulsion system. Fundamental considerations in waste heat rejection and power conditioning in a fission electric propulsion system place a limit on its jet specific power to the order of about 0.2 kW/kg. If fusion can be developed for propulsion, it appears to have the best of all worlds - it can provide the largest absolute amount of energy, the propellant exhaust velocity (> 100 km/s), and the high specific jet power (> 10 kW/kg). An intermediate step towards fusion propulsion might be a bimodal system in which a fission reactor is used to provide some of the energy to drive a fusion propulsion unit. There are similarities as well as differences between applying fusion to propulsion and to terrestrial electrical power generation. The similarities are the underlying plasma and fusion physics, the enabling component technologies, the computational and the diagnostics capabilities. These physics and

  11. Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    LaPointe, Michael

    2006-01-01

    The Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) technology area is tasked to develop near and mid-term SEP technology to improve or enable science mission capture while minimizing risk and cost to the end user. The solar electric propulsion investments are primarily driven by SMD cost-capped mission needs. The technology needs are determined partially through systems analysis tasks including the recent "Re-focus Studies" and "Standard Architecture Study." These systems analysis tasks transitioned the technology development to address the near term propulsion needs suitable for cost-capped open solicited missions such as Discovery and New Frontiers Class missions. Major SEP activities include NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), implementing a Standard Architecture for NSTAR and NEXT EP systems, and developing a long life High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC). Lower level investments include advanced feed system development and xenon recovery testing. Future plans include completion of ongoing ISP development activities and evaluating potential use of commercial electric propulsion systems for SMD applications. Examples of enhanced mission capability and technology readiness dates shall be discussed.

  12. Summary and recommendations on nuclear electric propulsion technology for the space exploration initiative

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doherty, Michael P.; Holcomb, Robert S.

    1993-01-01

    A project in Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) technology is being established to develop the NEP technologies needed for advanced propulsion systems. A paced approach has been suggested which calls for progressive development of NEP component and subsystem level technologies. This approach will lead to major facility testing to achieve TRL-5 for megawatt NEP for SEI mission applications. This approach is designed to validate NEP power and propulsion technologies from kilowatt class to megawatt class ratings. Such a paced approach would have the benefit of achieving the development, testing, and flight of NEP systems in an evolutionary manner. This approach may also have the additional benefit of synergistic application with SEI extraterrestrial surface nuclear power applications.

  13. Application of Solar-Electric Propulsion to Robotic Missions in Near-Earth Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon R.; Dankanich, John

    2007-01-01

    Interest in applications of solar electric propulsion (SEP) is increasing. Application of SEP technology is favored when: (1) the mission is compatible with low-thrust propulsion, (2) the mission needs high total delta V such that chemical propulsion is disadvantaged; and (3) performance enhancement is needed. If all such opportunities for future missions are considered, many uses of SEP are likely. Representative missions are surveyed and several SEP applications selected for analysis, including orbit raising, lunar science and robotic exploration, and planetary science. These missions span SEP power range from 10 kWe to about 100 kWe. A SEP design compatible with small inexpensive launch vehicles, and capable of lunar science missions, is presented. Modes of use and benefits are described, and potential SEP evolution is discussed.

  14. Application of Solar-Electric Propulsion to Robotic and Human Missions in Near-Earth Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon R.; Dankanich, John

    2006-01-01

    Interest in applications of solar electric propulsion (SEP) is increasing. Application of SEP technology is favored when: (1) the mission is compatible with low-thrust propulsion, (2) the mission needs high total delta V such that chemical propulsion is disadvantaged; and (3) performance enhancement is needed. If all such opportunities for future missions are considered, many uses of SEP are likely. Representative missions are surveyed and several SEP applications selected for analysis, including orbit raising, lunar science, lunar exploration, lunar exploitation, planetary science, and planetary exploration. These missions span SEP power range from 10s of kWe to several MWe. Modes of use and benefits are described, and potential SEP evolution is discussed.

  15. Application of Solar-Electric Propulsion to Robotic and Human Missions in Near-Earth Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon R.; Dankanich, John

    2011-01-01

    Interest in applications of solar electric propulsion (SEP) is increasing. Application of SEP technology is favored when: (1) the mission is compatible with low-thrust propulsion, (2) the mission needs high total delta V such that chemical propulsion is disadvantaged; and (3) performance enhancement is needed. If all such opportunities for future missions are considered, many uses of SEP are likely. Representative missions are surveyed and several SEP applications selected for analysis, including orbit raising, lunar science, lunar exploration, lunar exploitation, planetary science, and planetary exploration. These missions span SEP power range from 10s of kWe to several MWe. Modes of use and benefits are described, and potential SEP evolution is discussed.

  16. Nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keaton, Paul W.; Tubb, David J.

    1986-01-01

    The feasibility is investigated of using nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) for slow freighter ships traveling from a 500 km low Earth orbit (LEO) to the Moon's orbit about the Earth, and on to Mars. NEP is also shown to be feasible for transporting people to Mars on long conjunction-class missions lasting about nine months one way, and on short sprint missions lasting four months one way. Generally, it was not attempted to optimize ion exhaust velocities, but rather suitable parameters to demonstrate NEP feasibility were chosen. Various combinations of missions are compared with chemical and nuclear thermal propulsion (NTR) systems. Typically, NEP and NTR can accomplish the same lifting task with similar mass in LEO. When compared to chemical propulsion, NEP was found to accomplish the same missions with 40% less mass in LEO. These findings are sufficiently encouraging as to merit further studies with optimum systems.

  17. Nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keaton, Paul W.; Tubb, David J.

    1986-05-01

    The feasibility is investigated of using nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) for slow freighter ships traveling from a 500 km low Earth orbit (LEO) to the Moon's orbit about the Earth, and on to Mars. NEP is also shown to be feasible for transporting people to Mars on long conjunction-class missions lasting about nine months one way, and on short sprint missions lasting four months one way. Generally, it was not attempted to optimize ion exhaust velocities, but rather suitable parameters to demonstrate NEP feasibility were chosen. Various combinations of missions are compared with chemical and nuclear thermal propulsion (NTR) systems. Typically, NEP and NTR can accomplish the same lifting task with similar mass in LEO. When compared to chemical propulsion, NEP was found to accomplish the same missions with 40% less mass in LEO. These findings are sufficiently encouraging as to merit further studies with optimum systems.

  18. Nuclear space propulsion critical technologies

    SciTech Connect

    Clark, J.S.; Borowski, S.K.; Doherty, M.P. )

    1993-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has actively pursued technology development for nuclear rocket propulsion systems for possible use on lunar outpost missions, for exploration missions to Mars, and for outer planet and other solar system exploration missions. A number of these technologies have been broadly identified by the ANS National Critical Technologies Panel, as well as the Department of Commerce as [open quotes]Critical Technologies.[close quotes] A Nuclear Propulsion Office was established at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, to lead nuclear propulsion development for NASA and to establish appropriate interagency working relationships with the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories for nuclear technology development and with the Department of Defense (DoD). The NASA intercenter and interagency teams and NASA contractors have initiated conceptual design activities and other trade studies that provide the focus for appropriate critical technology development for both nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. Critical technology issues have been identified and are discussed in this paper. For NTP systems, the heat generated in the nuclear reactor is used to simply heat a propellant such as hydrogen, and then the high-temperature propellant expands through a nozzle to produce thrust. Specific impulse for NTP systems should be on the order of 900 to 950 s-approximately double the best chemical propulsion systems.

  19. Electric propulsion for communications satellites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Free, B. A.; Guman, W. J.; Herron, B. G.; Zafran, S.

    1978-01-01

    Electric propulsion systems derive their low overall mass, relative to chemical propulsion systems, from an optimized mix of independently controlled power and mass flow rate. A significant reduction in mass can be secured by substituting electric propulsion for conventional hydrazine systems for all the major propulsion tasks of a communications satellite. Additional advantages for all electric propulsion maneuvers are precision location and higher pointing accuracy. Three auxiliary electric propulsion systems are now available for application on communications satellites: the electrically augmented hydrazine system, the Teflon pulsed plasma system, and the mercury ion thruster system. Primary electric propulsion will be available in the mid to late 1980s as a spin-off of NASA's program of interplanetary exploration.

  20. Electric propulsion system technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, John R.; Garner, Charles E.; Goodfellow, Keith D.

    1991-01-01

    model enables one to calculate the flow direction and local density of the charge exchange plasma, and indicates the degree to which this plasma can flow upstream of the thruster exhaust plane. A continuing effort to investigate the most desirable throttling technique for noble gas ion thrusters concentrated this year on experimentally determining the fixed flow rate throttling range of a 30-cm dia. thruster with a two-grid accelerator system. These experiments demonstrated a throttling capability which covers a 2.8 to 1 variation in input power. This throttling range is 55 percent greater than expected, and is due to better accelerator system performance at low net-to-total voltage ratios than indicated in the literature. To facilitate the development of large, higher power ion thrusters several brief studies were performed. These include the development of a technique which simulates ion thruster operation without beam extraction, the development of an optical technique to measure ion thruster grid distortion due to thermal expansion, tests of a capacitance measurement technique to quantify the accelerator system grid separation, and the development of a segmented thruster geometry which enables near term development of ion thrusters at power levels greater than 100 kW. Finally, a paper detailing the benefits of electric propulsion for the Space Exploration Initiative was written.

  1. The Electric Propulsion Interactions Code (EPIC): A Member of the NASA Space Environment and Effects Program (SEE) Toolset

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mikellides, Ioannis G.; Mandell, Myron J.; Kuharski, Robert A.; Davis, D. A.; Gardner, Barbara M.; Minor, Jody

    2003-01-01

    Science Applications International Corporation is currently developing the Electric Propulsion Interactions Code, EPIC, as part of a project sponsored by the Space Environments and Effects Program at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Now in its second year of development, EPIC is an interactive computer toolset that allows the construction of a 3-D spacecraft model, and the assessment of a variety of interactions between its subsystems and the plume from an electric thruster. This paper reports on the progress of EPZC including the recently added ability to exchange results the NASA Charging Analyzer Program, Nascap-2k. The capability greatly enhances EPIC's range of applicability. Expansion of the toolset's various physics models proceeds in parallel with the overall development of the software. Also presented are recent upgrades of the elastic scattering algorithm in the electric propulsion Plume Tool. These upgrades are motivated by the need to assess the effects of elastically scattered ions on the SIC for ion beam energies that exceed loo0 eV. Such energy levels are expected in future high-power (>10 kW) ion propulsion systems empowered by nuclear sources.

  2. In-space nuclear propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bruno, C.; Dujarric, C.

    2013-02-01

    The past and the recent status of nuclear propulsion (NP) for application to space mission is presented. The case for using NP in manned space missions is made based on fundamental physics and on the necessity to ensure safe radiation doses to future astronauts. In fact, the presence of solar and galactic-cosmic radiation poses substantial risks to crews traveling for months in a row to destinations such as asteroids and Mars. Since passive or active shields would be massive to protect against the more energetic part of the radiation energy spectrum, the only alternative is to reduce dose by traveling faster. Hence the importance of propulsion systems with much higher specific impulse than that of current chemical systems, and thus the use of nuclear propulsion. Nuclear-thermal and nuclear-electric propulsions are then discussed in view of their potential application to missions now in the preliminary planning stage by space agencies and industries and being considered by the ISECG international panel. In this context, recent ideas for future use of the ISS that may require NP are also presented.

  3. Nuclear safety considerations in the conceptual design of a fast reactor for space electric power and propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hsieh, T.-M.; Koenig, D. R.

    1977-01-01

    Some nuclear safety aspects of a 3.2 mWt heat pipe cooled fast reactor with out-of-core thermionic converters are discussed. Safety related characteristics of the design including a thin layer of B4C surrounding the core, the use of heat pipes and BeO reflector assembly, the elimination of fuel element bowing, etc., are highlighted. Potential supercriticality hazards and countermeasures are considered. Impacts of some safety guidelines of space transportation system are also briefly discussed, since the currently developing space shuttle would be used as the primary launch vehicle for the nuclear electric propulsion spacecraft.

  4. Space nuclear power system and the design of the nuclear electric propulsion OTV

    SciTech Connect

    Buden, D.; Garrison, P.W.

    1984-01-01

    Payload increases of three to five times that of the Shuttle/Centaur can be achieved using nuclear electric propulsion. Various nuclear power plant options being pursued by the SP-100 Program are described. These concepts can grow from 100 kW/sub e/ to 1MW/sub e/ output. Spacecraft design aspects are addressed, including thermal interactions, plume interactions, and radiation fluences. A baseline configuration is described accounting for these issues. Safety aspects of starting the OTV transfer from an altitude of 300 km indicate no significant additional risk to the biosphere.

  5. Space nuclear power system and the design of the nuclear electric propulsion OTV

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Buden, D.; Garrison, P. W.

    1984-01-01

    Payload increases of three to five times that of the Shuttle/Centaur can be achieved using nuclear electric propulsion. Various nuclear power plant options being pursued by the SP-100 Program are described. These concepts can grow from 100 kWe to 1 MWe output. Spacecraft design aspects are addressed, including thermal interactions, plume interactions, and radiation fluences. A baseline configuration is described accounting for these issues. Safety aspects of starting the OTV transfer from an altitude of 300 km indicate no significant additional risk to the biosphere.

  6. Solar Electric Propulsion for Mars Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hack, Kurt J.

    1998-01-01

    Highly propellant-efficient electric propulsion is being combined with advanced solar power technology to provide a non-nuclear transportation option for the human exploration of Mars. By virtue of its high specific impulse, electric propulsion offers a greater change in spacecraft velocity for each pound of propellant than do conventional chemical rockets. As a result, a mission to Mars based on solar electric propulsion (SEP) would require fewer heavy-lift launches than a traditional all-chemical space propulsion scenario would. Performance, as measured by mass to orbit and trip time, would be comparable to the NASA design reference mission for human Mars exploration, which utilizes nuclear thermal propulsion; but it would avoid the issues surrounding the use of nuclear reactors in space.

  7. Plasmas for space propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahedo, Eduardo

    2011-12-01

    Plasma thrusters are challenging the monopoly of chemical thrusters in space propulsion. The specific energy that can be deposited into a plasma beam is orders of magnitude larger than the specific chemical energy of known fuels. Plasma thrusters constitute a vast family of devices ranging from already commercial thrusters to incipient laboratory prototypes. Figures of merit in plasma propulsion are discussed. Plasma processes and conditions differ widely from one thruster to another, with the pre-eminence of magnetized, weakly collisional plasmas. Energy is imparted to the plasma via either energetic electron injection, biased electrodes or electromagnetic irradiation. Plasma acceleration can be electrothermal, electrostatic or electromagnetic. Plasma-wall interaction affects energy deposition and erosion of thruster elements, and thus is central for thruster efficiency and lifetime. Magnetic confinement and magnetic nozzles are present in several devices. Oscillations and turbulent transport are intrinsic to the performances of some thrusters. Several thrusters are selected in order to discuss these relevant plasma phenomena.

  8. Space Power Architectures for NASA Missions: The Applicability and Benefits of Advanced Power and Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoffman, David J.

    2001-01-01

    The relative importance of electrical power systems as compared with other spacecraft bus systems is examined. The quantified benefits of advanced space power architectures for NASA Earth Science, Space Science, and Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) missions is then presented. Advanced space power technologies highlighted include high specific power solar arrays, regenerative fuel cells, Stirling radioisotope power sources, flywheel energy storage and attitude control, lithium ion polymer energy storage and advanced power management and distribution.

  9. NASA's In-Space Propulsion Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les

    2003-01-01

    In order to implement the ambitious science and exploration missions planned over the next several decades, improvements in in-space transportation and propulsion technologies must be achieved. For robotic exploration and science missions, increased efficiencies of future propulsion systems are critical to reduce overall life-cycle costs. Future missions will require 2 to 3 times more total change in velocity over their mission lives than the NASA Solar Electric Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) demonstration on the Deep Space 1 mission. New opportunities to explore beyond the outer planets and to the stars will require unparalleled technology advancement and innovation. NASA's In-Space Propulsion (ISP) Program is investing in technologies to meet these needs. The ISP technology portfolio includes many advanced propulsion systems. From the next generation ion propulsion system operating in the 5-10 kW range, to advanced cryogenic propulsion, substantial advances in spacecraft propulsion performance are anticipated. Some of the most promising technologies for achieving these goals use the environment of space itself for energy and propulsion and are generically called, propellantless because they do not require on-board fuel to achieve thrust. Propellantless propulsion technologies include scientific innovations such as solar and plasma sails, electrodynamic and momentum transfer tethers, and aeroassist and aerocapture. An overview of both propellantless and propellant-based advanced propulsion technologies, and NASA s plans for advancing them, will be provided.

  10. Pulsed plasmoid electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bourque, Robert F.; Parks, Paul B.; Tamano, Teruo

    1990-01-01

    A method of electric propulsion is explored where plasmoids such as spheromaks and field reversed configurations (FRC) are formed and then allowed to expand down a diverging conducting shell. The plasmoids contain a toroidal electric current that provides both heating and a confining magnetic field. They are free to translate because there are no externally supplied magnetic fields that would restrict motion. Image currents in the diverging conducting shell keep the plasmoids from contacting the wall. Because these currents translate relative to the wall, losses due to magnetic flux diffusion into the wall are minimized. During the expansion of the plasma in the diverging cone, both the inductive and thermal plasma energy are converted to directed kinetic energy producing thrust. Specific impulses can be in the 4000 to 20000 sec range with thrusts from 0.1 to 1000 Newtons, depending on available power.

  11. Plasma propulsion for space applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fruchtman, Amnon

    2000-04-01

    The various mechanisms for plasma acceleration employed in electric propulsion of space vehicles will be described. Special attention will be given to the Hall thruster. Electric propulsion utilizes electric and magnetic fields to accelerate a propellant to a much higher velocity than chemical propulsion does, and, as a result, the required propellant mass is reduced. Because of limitations on electric power density, electric thrusters will be low thrust engines compared with chemical rockets. The large jet velocity and small thrust of electric thrusters make them most suitable for space applications such as station keeping of GEO communication satellites, low orbit drag compensation, orbit raising and interplanetary missions. The acceleration in the thruster is either thermal, electrostatic or electromagnetic. The arcjet is an electrothermal device in which the propellant is heated by an electric arc and accelerated while passing through a supersonic nozzle to a relatively low velocity. In the Pulsed Plasma Thruster a solid propellant is accelerated by a magnetic field pressure in a way that is similar in principle to pulsed acceleration of plasmas in other, very different devices, such as the railgun or the plasma opening switch. Magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters also employ magnetic field pressure for the acceleration but with a reasonable efficiency at high power only. In an ion thruster ions are extracted from a plasma through a double grid structure. Ion thrusters provide a high jet velocity but the thrust density is low due to space-charge limitations. The Hall thruster, which in recent years has enjoyed impressive progress, employs a quasi-neutral plasma, and therefore is not subject to a space-charge limit on the current. An applied radial magnetic field impedes the mobility of the electrons so that the applied potential drops across a large region inside the plasma. Methods for separately controlling the profiles of the electric and the magnetic fields will

  12. Performance of Solar Electric Powered Deep Space Missions Using Hall Thruster Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Witzberger, Kevin E.; Manzella, David

    2006-01-01

    Power limited, low-thrust trajectories were assessed for missions to Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune utilizing a single Venus Gravity Assist (VGA) and a primary propulsion system based on either a 3-kW high voltage Hall thruster, of the type being developed by the NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, or an 8-kW variant of this thruster. These Hall thrusters operate with specific impulses below 3,000 seconds. A trade study was conducted to examine mission parameters that include: net delivered mass (NDM), beginning-of-life (BOL) solar array power, heliocentric transfer time, required launch vehicle, number of operating thrusters, and throttle profile. The top performing spacecraft configuration was defined to be the one that delivered the highest mass for a range of transfer times. In order to evaluate the potential future benefit of using next generation Hall thrusters as the primary propulsion system, comparisons were made with the advanced state-of-the-art (ASOA), 7-kW, 4,100 second NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) for the same mission scenarios. For the BOL array powers considered in this study (less than 30 kW), the results show that the performance of the Hall thrusters, relative to NEXT, is largely dependant on the performance capability of the launch vehicle, and that at least a 10 percent performance gain, equating to at least an additional 200 kg dry mass at each target planet, is achieved over the higher specific impulse NEXT when launched on an Atlas 551.

  13. Status of high power electric propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Byers, David C.; Stone, James R.

    1988-01-01

    The growing emphasis on very challenging missions and the anticipated availability of high power levels in space have led to renewed interest in high power electric propulsion. The status of high power electric propulsion technology and its applicability to various missions are reviewed. The major thruster and system technology issues are identified which must be addressed in a focussed program in order to assure technology readiness for these missions.

  14. Future of space propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Weiss, R.R.; Mackay, D.S. )

    1992-03-01

    A development status-and-prospects evaluation is presented for the range of spacecraft propulsion alternatives under consideration by the USAF's Phillips Laboratory, encompassing technologies broadly characterizable as 'conventional' (solid, storable liquid, cryogenic) and 'nonconventional'. Nonconventional spacecraft propulsion system types include arcjets, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, solar thermal propulsion, and nuclear propulsion. The prospects for high energy density materials' application to more coventional propulsion concepts are noted.

  15. In-Space Transportation Propulsion Architecture Assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon

    2000-01-01

    Almost all space propulsion development and application has been chemical. Aerobraking has been used at Venus and Mars, and for entry at Jupiter. One electric propulsion mission has been flown (DS-1) and electric propulsion is in general use by commercial communications satellites for stationkeeping. Gravity assist has been widely used for high-energy missions (Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, etc.). It has served as a substitute for high-energy propulsion but is limited in energy gain, and adds mission complexity as well as launch opportunity restrictions. It has very limited value for round trip missions such as humans to Mars and return. High-energy space propulsion has been researched for many years, and some major developments, such as nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), undertaken. With the exception of solar electric propulsion at a scale of a few kilowatts, high-energy space propulsion has never been used on a mission. Most mission studies have adopted TRL 6 technology because most have looked for a near-term start. The current activity is technology planning aimed at broadening the options available to mission planners. Many of the illustrations used in this report came from various NASA sources; their use is gratefully acknowledged.

  16. Optimization of Brayton Cycle Power Generation for In-Space Electric Propulsion Application

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon

    2003-01-01

    A Brayton cycle was analyzed and optimized over the power range 60 - 140 kWe, for application to electric propulsion systems. A gas-cooled reactor heat source with exit temperature 1150 K was assumed. Power generation system specific masses (alpha) from 36 kg/kWe at 60 kWe to 22 kg/kWe at 140 kWe were obtained. These masses do not include the thrust production system, which is predicted to add 6 to 8 kg/kWe. Cycle efficiencies varied from 32% at 60 kWe to 36% at 140 kWe. Cycle minimum temperature, cycle pressure ratio, and heat exchanger design parameters were varied for the optimization. Optimization parameters and methods are described.

  17. Space station propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, Robert E.; Morren, W. Earl; Sovey, James S.; Tacina, Robert R.

    1987-01-01

    Two propulsion systems have been selected for the space station: gaseous H/O rockets for high thrust applications and the multipropellant resistojets for low thrust needs. These two thruster systems integrate very well with the fluid systems on the space station, utilizing waste fluids as their source of propellant. The H/O rocket will be fueled by electrolyzed water and the resistojets will use waste gases collected from the environmental control system and the various laboratories. The results are presented of experimental efforts with H/O and resistojet thrusters to determine their performance and life capability, as well as results of studies to determine the availability of water and waste gases.

  18. In-Space Propulsion Technologies for Robotic Exploration of the Solar System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Meyer, Rae Ann; Frame, Kyle

    2006-01-01

    Supporting NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is developing the next generation of space propulsion technologies for robotic, deep-space exploration. Recent technological advancements and demonstrations of key, high-payoff propulsion technologies have been achieved and will be described. Technologies under development and test include aerocapture, solar electric propulsion, solar sail propulsion, and advanced chemical propulsion.

  19. Enabling Electric Propulsion for Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ginn, Starr Renee

    2015-01-01

    Team Seedling project AFRC and LaRC 31ft distributed electric propulsion wing on truck bed up 75 miles per hour for coefficient of lift validation. Convergent Aeronautic Solutions project, sub-project Convergent Electric Propulsion Technologies AFRC, LaRC and GRC, re-winging a 4 passenger Tecnam aircraft with a 31ft distributed electric propulsion wing. Advanced Air Transport Technologies (Fixed Wing), Hybrid Electric Research Theme, developing a series hybrid ironbird and flight sim to study integration and performance challenges in preparation for a 1-2 MW flight project.

  20. Enabling Electric Propulsion for Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ginn, Starr

    2014-01-01

    Description of current ARMD projects; Team Seedling project AFRC and LaRC 31ft distributed electric propulsion wing on truck bed up 75 miles per hour for coefficient of lift validation. Convergent Aeronautic Solutions project (new ARMD reorg), sub-project Convergent Electric Propulsion Technologies AFRC, LaRC and GRC, re-winging a 4 passenger Tecnam aircraft with a 31ft distributed electric propulsion wing. Advanced Air Transport Technologies (Fixed Wing), Hybrid Electric Research Theme, developing a series hybrid ironbird and flight sim to study integration and performance challenges in preparation for a 1-2 MW flight project.

  1. The Electric Propulsion Space Experiment (ESEX)-A demonstration of high power arcjets for orbit transfer applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bromaghim, D. R.; Salasovich, R. M.; Leduc, J. R.; Johnson, L. K.

    1998-01-01

    The Electric Propulsion Space Experiment (ESEX) is a high power (30 kW) ammonia arcjet space demonstration sponsored by the Propulsion Directorate of the Phillips Laboratory with TRW as the prime contractor. ESEX is one of nine experiments being launched in early 1998 on board the Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite (ARGOS). ESEX will demonstrate the feasibility of using a high power arcjet for orbit transfer. ESEX is instrumented with various sensors to address all of the expected interactions with ARGOS including electromagnetic interference, contamination, and radiated thermal loading. The performance of the arcjet will also be measured using ground tracking, an on-board GPS receiver, and on-board accelerometer. In addition to the performance and spacecraft interaction studies, ground-based spectroscopic and radiometric measurements will be performed to observe plume species as well as determine the effect of the arcjet firing on the space environment. ESEX is currently undergoing integrated testing with the spacecraft bus and the eight other experiments to verify the full operability of ARGOS while on-orbit. These tests include basic functionality of the system in addition to the normal suite of environmental tests including electromagnetic interference and compatibility, acoustic and pyroshock testing, and thermal vacuum tests.

  2. Solar Electric Propulsion Mission Architectures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kerslake, Thomas W.

    2003-01-01

    This presentation reviews Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Mission Architectures with a slant towards power system technologies and challenges. The low-mass, high-performance attributes of SEP systems have attracted spacecraft designers and mission planners alike and have led to a myriad of proposed Earth orbiting and planetary exploration missions. These SEP missions are discussed from the earliest missions in the 1960's, to first demonstrate electric thrusters, to the multi-megawatt missions envisioned many decades hence. The technical challenges and benefits of applying high-voltage arrays, thin film and low-intensity, low-temperature (LILT) photovoltaics, gossamer structure solar arrays, thruster articulating systems and microsat systems to SEP spacecraft power system designs are addressed. The overarching conclusion from this review is that SEP systems enhance, and many times enable, a wide class of space missions.

  3. Space transportation propulsion USSR launcher technology, 1990

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    Space transportation propulsion U.S.S.R. launcher technology is discussed. The following subject areas are covered: Energia background (launch vehicle summary, Soviet launcher family) and Energia propulsion characteristics (booster propulsion, core propulsion, and growth capability).

  4. Application of Solar-Electric Propulsion to Robotic and Human Missions in Near-Earth Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon

    2006-01-01

    Solar-electric propulsion (SEP) is becoming of interest for application to a wide range of missions. The benefits of SEP are strongly influenced by system element performance, especially that for the power system. Solar array performance is increasing rapidly and promises to continue to do so for another 10 to 20 years (Fig. 1). At the same time, cost per watt is decreasing. Radiation hardness is increasing. New concepts for how to design a SEP are emerging. These improvements lead to changes in the best ways to apply SEP technology to missions, and broadening of the practical uses of SEP technology compared to competing technologies. This paper addresses the evolving characteristics of SEP technology from the point of view of mission design, and how mission profile characteristics can be designed to best take advantage of evolving SEP characteristics. Mission concepts include robotic lunar landers and orbiters; scientific planetary spacecraft; delivery of spacecraft to geosynchronous orbit from inclined and low-inclination launch orbits; and lunar cargo delivery from Earth orbit to lunar orbit. Expendable and re-usable SEP profiles are considered. Flight control considerations are abstracted from recent papers by the author to describe how these influence SEP design and operations.

  5. Space tug point design study. Volume 3: Design definition. Part 1: Propulsion and mechanical, avionics, thermal control and electrical power subsystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1973-01-01

    A study was conducted to determine the configuration and performance of a space tug. Details of the space tug systems are presented to include: (1) propulsion systems, (2) avionics, (3) thermal control, and (4) electric power subsystems. The data generated include engineering drawings, schematics, subsystem operation, and component description. Various options investigated and the rational for the point design selection are analyzed.

  6. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Test Facilities Subpanel

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, George C.; Warren, John W.; Martinell, John; Clark, John S.; Perkins, David

    1993-01-01

    On 20 Jul. 1989, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, President George Bush proclaimed his vision for manned space exploration. He stated, 'First for the coming decade, for the 1990's, Space Station Freedom, the next critical step in our space endeavors. And next, for the new century, back to the Moon. Back to the future. And this time, back to stay. And then, a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars.' On 2 Nov. 1989, the President approved a national space policy reaffirming the long range goal of the civil space program: to 'expand human presence and activity beyond Earth orbit into the solar system.' And on 11 May 1990, he specified the goal of landing Astronauts on Mars by 2019, the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the Moon. To safely and ever permanently venture beyond near Earth environment as charged by the President, mankind must bring to bear extensive new technologies. These include heavy lift launch capability from Earth to low-Earth orbit, automated space rendezvous and docking of large masses, zero gravity countermeasures, and closed loop life support systems. One technology enhancing, and perhaps enabling, the piloted Mars missions is nuclear propulsion, with great benefits over chemical propulsion. Asserting the potential benefits of nuclear propulsion, NASA has sponsored workshops in Nuclear Electric Propulsion and Nuclear Thermal Propulsion and has initiated a tri-agency planning process to ensure that appropriate resources are engaged to meet this exciting technical challenge. At the core of this planning process, NASA, DOE, and DOD established six Nuclear Propulsion Technical Panels in 1991 to provide groundwork for a possible tri-agency Nuclear Propulsion Program and to address the President's vision by advocating an aggressive program in nuclear propulsion. To this end the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Technology Panel has focused it energies; this final report

  7. TROPIX: A solar electric propulsion flight experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hickman, J. Mark; Hillard, G. Barry; Oleson, Steven R.

    1993-01-01

    The Transfer Orbit Plasma Interaction Experiment (TROPIX) is a proposed scientific experiment and flight demonstration of a solar electric propulsion vehicle. Its mission goals are to significantly increase our knowledge of Earth's magnetosphere and its associated plasma environment and to demonstrate an operational solar electric upper stage (SEUS) for small launch vehicles. The scientific investigations and flight demonstration technology experiments are uniquely interrelated because of the spacecraft's interaction with the surrounding environment. The data obtained will complement previous studies of the Earth's magnetosphere and space plasma environment by supplying the knowledge necessary to attain the strategic objectives of the NASA Office of Space Science. This first operational use of a primary ion propulsion vehicle, designed to withstand the harsh environments from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous Earth orbit, may lead to the development of a new class of electric propulsion upper stages or space-based transfer vehicles and may improve future spacecraft design and safety.

  8. Advanced space propulsion concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lapointe, Michael R.

    1993-01-01

    The NASA Lewis Research Center has been actively involved in the evaluation and development of advanced spacecraft propulsion. Recent program elements have included high energy density propellants, electrode less plasma thruster concepts, and low power laser propulsion technology. A robust advanced technology program is necessary to develop new, cost-effective methods of spacecraft propulsion, and to continue to push the boundaries of human knowledge and technology.

  9. Electric Propulsion Technologies for Project Prometheus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oleson, S.

    2004-11-01

    Last year NASA's Project Prometheus, the Nuclear Systems Program, began efforts to develop technologies for nuclear systems for space use. Key to these developments are electric propulsion technologies that have been shown to enable new nuclear powered missions. A discussion of these mission applications and their projected requirements are discussed. This mission set is focused on a 100 kWe nuclear electric powered flagship science mission.. The corresponding electric propulsion technologies of interest and under development are discussed. These technologies include high power / high Isp gridded ion and Hall thrusters, magnetoplasmadynamic, and other new concepts. Finally, base technology developments, such as long life components, electrodeless concepts, and alternate propellants are reviewed.

  10. MW-Class Electric Propulsion System Designs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    LaPointe, Michael R.; Oleson, Steven; Pencil, Eric; Mercer, Carolyn; Distefano, Salvador

    2011-01-01

    Electric propulsion systems are well developed and have been in commercial use for several years. Ion and Hall thrusters have propelled robotic spacecraft to encounters with asteroids, the Moon, and minor planetary bodies within the solar system, while higher power systems are being considered to support even more demanding future space science and exploration missions. Such missions may include orbit raising and station-keeping for large platforms, robotic and human missions to near earth asteroids, cargo transport for sustained lunar or Mars exploration, and at very high-power, fast piloted missions to Mars and the outer planets. The Advanced In-Space Propulsion Project, High Efficiency Space Power Systems Project, and High Power Electric Propulsion Demonstration Project were established within the NASA Exploration Technology Development and Demonstration Program to develop and advance the fundamental technologies required for these long-range, future exploration missions. Under the auspices of the High Efficiency Space Power Systems Project, and supported by the Advanced In-Space Propulsion and High Power Electric Propulsion Projects, the COMPASS design team at the NASA Glenn Research Center performed multiple parametric design analyses to determine solar and nuclear electric power technology requirements for representative 300-kW class and pulsed and steady-state MW-class electric propulsion systems. This paper describes the results of the MW-class electric power and propulsion design analysis. Starting with the representative MW-class vehicle configurations, and using design reference missions bounded by launch dates, several power system technology improvements were introduced into the parametric COMPASS simulations to determine the potential system level benefits such technologies might provide. Those technologies providing quantitative system level benefits were then assessed for technical feasibility, cost, and time to develop. Key assumptions and primary

  11. An analysis of space environment effects on performance and missions of a Solar Electric Propulsion Stage (SEPS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcglathery, D. M.

    1975-01-01

    The development of an analysis which addresses the problems of degrading space environmental effects on the performance and missions of a Solar Electric Propulsion Stage (SEPS) is reported. A detailed study concerning the degrading effects of the Van Allen Belt charged-particle radiation on specific spacecraft subsystems is included, along with some of the thermal problems caused by electromagnetic radiation from the sun. The analytical methods used require the integration of two distinct analyses. The first, is a low-thrust trajectory analysis which uses analytical approximations to optimum steering for orbit raising, including three-dimensional plane change cases. The second is the conversion of the Vette time-averaged differential energy spectra for protons and electrons into a 1-MeV electron equivalent environment as a function of spatial position and thickness of various shielding materials and solar-cell cover slides.

  12. Nuclear Propulsion in Space (1968)

    SciTech Connect

    2012-06-23

    Project NERVA was an acronym for Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application, a joint program of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and NASA managed by the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office (SNPO) at the Nuclear Rocket Development Station in Jackass Flats, Nevada U.S.A. Between 1959 and 1972, the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office oversaw 23 reactor tests, both the program and the office ended at the end of 1972.

  13. Nuclear Propulsion in Space (1968)

    ScienceCinema

    None

    2014-06-17

    Project NERVA was an acronym for Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application, a joint program of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and NASA managed by the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office (SNPO) at the Nuclear Rocket Development Station in Jackass Flats, Nevada U.S.A. Between 1959 and 1972, the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office oversaw 23 reactor tests, both the program and the office ended at the end of 1972.

  14. Workshop on Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, David; Marvin, Dean

    1993-01-01

    A summary of the discussion at the workshop on solar electric propulsion (SEP) is presented. The purpose of ELITE SEP flight experiment is to demonstrate operation of solar array powered electric thrusters for raising spacecraft from parking orbit to higher altitudes, leading to definition of an operational SEP orbit transfer vehicles (OTV) for Air Force missions. Many of the problems or potential problems that may be associated with SEP are not well understood nor clearly identified, and system level phenomena such as interaction of thruster plume with the solar arrays cannot be simulated in a ground test. Therefore, an end-to-end system flight test is required to demonstrate solar electric propulsion.

  15. Nuclear-electric propulsion - Manned Mars propulsion options

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palaszewski, Bryan; Brophy, John; King, David

    1989-01-01

    Nuclear-electric propulsion can significantly reduce the launch mass for manned Mars missions. By using high-specific-impulse (lsp) electric propulsion systems with advanced nuclear reactors, the total mass-to-orbit for a series of manned Mars flight is reduced. Propulsion technologies required for the manned Mars mission are described. Multi-megawatt Ion and Magneto-Plasma-Dynamic (MPD) propulsion thrusters, Power-Processing Units and nuclear power source are needed. Xenon (Xe)-Ion and MPD thruster performance are detailed. Mission analyses for several Mars mission options are addressed. Both MPD and Ion propulsion were investigated. A four-megawatt propulsion system power level was assumed. Mass comparisons for all-chemical oxygen/hydrogen propulsion missions and combined chemical and nuclear-electric propulsion Mars fleets are included. With fleets of small nuclear-electric vehicles, short trip times to Mars are also enabled.

  16. Radioisotope fueled pulsed power generation system for propulsion and electrical power for deep space missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howe, Troy

    Space exploration missions to the moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies have allowed for great scientific leaps to enhance our knowledge of the universe; yet the astronomical cost of these missions limits their utility to only a few select agencies. Reducing the cost of exploratory space travel will give rise to a new era of exploration, where private investors, universities, and world governments can send satellites to far off planets and gather important data. By using radioisotope power sources and thermal storage devices, a duty cycle can be introduced to extract large amounts of energy in short amounts of time, allowing for efficient space travel. The same device can also provide electrical power for subsystems such as communications, drills, lasers, or other components that can provide valuable scientific information. This project examines the use of multiple radioisotope sources combined with a thermal capacitor using Phase Change Materials (PCMs) which can collect energy over a period of time. The result of this design culminates in a variety of possible spacecraft with their own varying costs, transit times, and objectives. Among the most promising are missions to Mars which cost less than 17M, missions that can provide power to satellite constellations for decades, or missions that can deliver large, Opportunity-sized (185kg) payloads to mars for less than 53M. All made available to a much wider range of customer with commercially available satellite launches from earth. The true cost of such progress though lies in the sometimes substantial increase in transit times for these missions.

  17. Hybrid propulsion systems for space exploration missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Darooka, D. K.

    1991-01-01

    Combinations of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), and chemical propulsion are discussed. Technical details are given in viewgraph form. The characteristics of each configuration are discussed, particularly thrust characteristics.

  18. Thermionic reactor systems for electric propulsion.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mondt, J. F.

    1972-01-01

    This paper summarizes the preliminary design studies of unmanned electric propulsion spacecraft, with primary emphasis on the in-core thermionic reactor power subsystem. A 70-kWe power subsystem, with an external-fuel thermionic reactor, is shown integrated into a large L/D (about 20) electric propulsion spacecraft. The 70-kWe spacecraft is designed for launch to earth escape with a Titan-Centaur. Two 300-kWe reactor designs (external-fuel and flashlight designs from Atomic Energy Commission contracted studies) are integrated into 270-kWe electric propulsion spacecraft. The 270-kWe spacecraft are designed for launch to a 700-nmi earth orbit with a Titan III-C/7 booster. The 70-kWe thermionic reactor power subsystem is also conceptually shown as a space base power plant.

  19. A review of electric propulsion systems and mission applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vondra, R.; Nock, K.; Jones, R.

    1984-01-01

    The satisfaction of growing demands for access to space resources will require new developments related to advanced propulsion and power technologies. A key technology in this context is concerned with the utilization of electric propulsion. A brief review of the current state of development of electric propulsion systems on an international basis is provided, taking into account advances in the USSR, the U.S., Japan, West Germany, China and Brazil. The present investigation, however, is mainly concerned with the U.S. program. The three basic types of electric thrusters are considered along with the intrinsic differences between chemical and electric propulsion, the resistojet, the augmented hydrazine thruster, the arcjet, the ion auxiliary propulsion system flight test, the pulsed plasma thruster, magnetoplasmadynamic propulsion, a pulsed inductive thruster, and rail accelerators. Attention is also given to the applications of electric propulsion.

  20. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion for Advanced Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, M. G.; Borowski, S. K.; George, J. A.; Kim, T.; Emrich, W. J.; Hickman, R. R.; Broadway, J. W.; Gerrish, H. P.; Adams, R. B.

    2012-01-01

    The fundamental capability of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is game changing for space exploration. A first generation Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) based on NTP could provide high thrust at a specific impulse above 900 s, roughly double that of state of the art chemical engines. Characteristics of fission and NTP indicate that useful first generation systems will provide a foundation for future systems with extremely high performance. The role of the NCPS in the development of advanced nuclear propulsion systems could be analogous to the role of the DC-3 in the development of advanced aviation. Progress made under the NCPS project could help enable both advanced NTP and advanced Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP).

  1. Space transfer concepts and analysis for exploration missions. Implementation plan and element description document (draft final). Volume 5: Nuclear electric propulsion vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    The nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) concept design developed in support of the Space Transfer Concepts and Analysis for Exploration Missions (STCAEM) study is presented. The evolution of the NEP concept is described along with the requirements, guidelines, and assumptions for the design. Operating modes and options are defined and a systems description of the vehicle is presented. Artificial gravity configuration options and space and ground support systems are discussed. Finally, an implementation plan is presented which addresses technology needs, schedules, facilities and costs.

  2. Research Opportunities in Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rodgers, Stephen L.

    2007-01-01

    Rocket propulsion determines the primary characteristics of any space vehicle; how fast and far it can go, its lifetime, and its capabilities. It is the primary factor in safety and reliability and the biggest cost driver. The extremes of heat and pressure produced by propulsion systems push the limits of materials used for manufacturing. Space travel is very unforgiving with little room for errors, and so many things can go wrong with these very complex systems. So we have to plan for failure and that makes it costly. But what is more exciting than the roar of a rocket blasting into space? By its nature the propulsion world is conservative. The stakes are so high at every launch, in terms of payload value or in human life, that to introduce new components to a working, qualified system is extremely difficult and costly. Every launch counts and no risks are tolerated, which leads to the space world's version of Catch-22:"You can't fly till you flown." The last big 'game changer' in propulsion was the use of liquid hydrogen as a fuel. No new breakthrough, low cost access to space system will be developed without new efficient propulsion systems. Because there is no large commercial market driving investment in propulsion, what propulsion research is done is sponsored by government funding agencies. A further difficulty in propulsion technology development is that there are so few new systems flying. There is little opportunity to evolve propulsion technologies and to update existing systems with results coming out of research as there is in, for example, the auto industry. The biggest hurdle to space exploration is getting off the ground. The launch phase will consume most of the energy required for any foreseeable space exploration mission. The fundamental physical energy requirements of escaping earth's gravity make it difficult. It takes 60,000 kJ to put a kilogram into an escape orbit. The vast majority (-97%) of the energy produced by a launch vehicle is used

  3. Space and transatmospheric propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Merkle, Charles; Stangeland, Maynard L.; Brown, James R.; Mccarty, John P.; Povinelli, Louis A.; Northam, G. Burton; Zukoski, Edward E.

    1994-01-01

    This report focuses primarily on Japan's programs in liquid rocket propulsion and propulsion for spaceplane and related transatmospheric areas. It refers briefly to Japan's solid rocket programs and to new supersonic air-breathing propulsion efforts. The panel observed that the Japanese had a carefully thought-out plan, a broad-based program, and an ambitious but achievable schedule for propulsion activity. Japan's overall propulsion program is behind that of the United States at the time of this study, but the Japanese are gaining rapidly. The Japanese are at the forefront in such key areas as advanced materials, enjoying a high level of project continuity and funding. Japan's space program has been evolutionary in nature, while the U.S. program has emphasized revolutionary advances. Projects have typically been smaller in Japan than in the United States, focusing on incremental advances in technology, with an excellent record of applying proven technology to new projects. This evolutionary approach, coupled with an ability to take technology off the shelf from other countries, has resulted in relatively low development costs, rapid progress, and enhanced reliability. Clearly Japan is positioned to be a world leader in space and transatmospheric propulsion technology by the year 2000.

  4. Space station propulsion test bed

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briley, G. L.; Evans, S. A.

    1989-01-01

    A test bed was fabricated to demonstrate hydrogen/oxygen propulsion technology readiness for the intital operating configuration (IOC) space station application. The test bed propulsion module and computer control system were delivered in December 1985, but activation was delayed until mid-1986 while the propulsion system baseline for the station was reexamined. A new baseline was selected with hydrogen/oxygen thruster modules supplied with gas produced by electrolysis of waste water from the space shuttle and space station. As a result, an electrolysis module was designed, fabricated, and added to the test bed to provide an end-to-end simulation of the baseline system. Subsequent testing of the test bed propulsion and electrolysis modules provided an end-to-end demonstration of the complete space station propulsion system, including thruster hot firings using the oxygen and hydrogen generated from electrolysis of water. Complete autonomous control and operation of all test bed components by the microprocessor control system designed and delivered during the program was demonstrated. The technical readiness of the system is now firmly established.

  5. Innovative electric propulsion thruster modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1993-01-01

    The objective of this program is to model and evaluate advanced nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) system concepts as an aid to the performance of NEP mission benefits studies. The two primary goals are as follows: (1) provide scaling relationships for mass, power, and efficiency, as functions of Isp, propellant type, and other important quantities. The discussion is presented in vugraph form.

  6. Electric propulsion system technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, John R.; Garner, Charles E.; Goodfellow, Keith D.; Pivirotto, Thomas J.; Polk, James E.

    1992-01-01

    The work performed in fiscal year (FY) 1991 under the Propulsion Technology Program RTOP (Research and Technology Objectives and Plans) No. (55) 506-42-31 for Low-Thrust Primary and Auxiliary Propulsion technology development is described. The objectives of this work fall under two broad categories. The first of these deals with the development of ion engines for primary propulsion in support of solar system exploration. The second with the advancement of steady-state magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster technology at 100 kW to multimegawatt input power levels. The major technology issues for ion propulsion are demonstration of adequate engine life at the 5 to 10 kW power level and scaling ion engines to power levels of tens to hundreds of kilowatts. Tests of a new technique in which the decelerator grid of a three-grid ion accelerator system is biased negative of neutralizer common potential in order to collect facility induced charge-exchange ions are described. These tests indicate that this SAND (Screen, Accelerator, Negative Decelerator) configuration may enable long duration ion engine endurance tests to be performed at vacuum chamber pressures an order of magnitude higher than previously possible. The corresponding reduction in pumping speed requirements enables endurance tests of 10 kW class ion engines to be performed within the resources of existing technology programs. The results of a successful 5,000-hr endurance of a xenon hollow cathode operating at an emission current of 25 A are described, as well as the initial tests of hollow cathodes operating on a mixture of argon and 3 percent nitrogen. Work performed on the development of carbon/carbon grids, a multi-orifice hollow cathode, and discharge chamber erosion reduction through the addition of nitrogen are also described. Critical applied-field MPD thruster technical issues remain to be resolved, including demonstration of reliable steady-state operation at input powers of hundreds to thousands of

  7. Electric propulsion system technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brophy, John R.; Garner, Charles E.; Goodfellow, Keith D.; Pivirotto, Thomas J.; Polk, James E.

    1992-11-01

    The work performed in fiscal year (FY) 1991 under the Propulsion Technology Program RTOP (Research and Technology Objectives and Plans) No. (55) 506-42-31 for Low-Thrust Primary and Auxiliary Propulsion technology development is described. The objectives of this work fall under two broad categories. The first of these deals with the development of ion engines for primary propulsion in support of solar system exploration. The second with the advancement of steady-state magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster technology at 100 kW to multimegawatt input power levels. The major technology issues for ion propulsion are demonstration of adequate engine life at the 5 to 10 kW power level and scaling ion engines to power levels of tens to hundreds of kilowatts. Tests of a new technique in which the decelerator grid of a three-grid ion accelerator system is biased negative of neutralizer common potential in order to collect facility induced charge-exchange ions are described. These tests indicate that this SAND (Screen, Accelerator, Negative Decelerator) configuration may enable long duration ion engine endurance tests to be performed at vacuum chamber pressures an order of magnitude higher than previously possible. The corresponding reduction in pumping speed requirements enables endurance tests of 10 kW class ion engines to be performed within the resources of existing technology programs. The results of a successful 5,000-hr endurance of a xenon hollow cathode operating at an emission current of 25 A are described, as well as the initial tests of hollow cathodes operating on a mixture of argon and 3 percent nitrogen. Work performed on the development of carbon/carbon grids, a multi-orifice hollow cathode, and discharge chamber erosion reduction through the addition of nitrogen are also described. Critical applied-field MPD thruster technical issues remain to be resolved, including demonstration of reliable steady-state operation at input powers of hundreds to thousands of

  8. Electromagnetic interference assessment of an ion drive electric propulsion system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whittlesey, A. C.

    1981-01-01

    An electric propulsion thrust system has the capability of providing a high specific impulse for long duration scientific missions in space. The EMI from the elements of an ion engine was characterized. The compatibility of ion drive electric propulsion systems with typical interplanetary spacecraft engineering was predicted.

  9. Ion electric propulsion unit

    DOEpatents

    Light, Max E; Colestock, Patrick L

    2014-01-28

    An electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) thruster is disclosed having a plasma chamber which is electrically biased with a positive voltage. The chamber bias serves to efficiently accelerate and expel the positive ions from the chamber. Electrons follow the exiting ions, serving to provide an electrically neutral exhaust plume. In a further embodiment, a downstream shaping magnetic field serves to further accelerate and/or shape the exhaust plume.

  10. Space Station Freedom propulsion activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spera, David A. (Editor)

    1990-01-01

    The technical highlights and accomplishments made at NASA LeRC in the development of the Space Station Freedom (SSF) propulsion system are discussed. The objectives are as follows: develop and characterize resistojet-thruster components and assemblies; develop and characterize hydrogen-oxygen thruster components; and conduct system trade studies. The research projects primarily characterize propulsion performance and life. Other tests include environmental impacts, such as exhaust gas profiles and electromagnetic interference. The technical activities that are highlighted are being conducted at LeRC within the Aerospace Technology and Space Station Freedom directorates. These activities include the following: derivation of design analysis models; trade studies of design options; propulsion system impact studies; and component testing for characterization and design verification.

  11. Characterization of solar cells for space applications. Volume 11: Electrical characteristics of 2 ohm-cm, 228 micron wraparound solar cells as a function of intensity, temperature, and irradiation. [for solar electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anspaugh, B. E.; Beckert, D. M.; Downing, R. G.; Weiss, R. S.

    1980-01-01

    Parametric characterization data on Spectrolab 2 by 4 cm, 2 ohm/cm, 228 micron thick wraparound cell, a candidate for the Solar Electric Propulsion Mission, are presented. These data consist of the electrical characteristics of the solar cell under a wide range of temperature and illumination intensity combinations of the type encountered in space applications.

  12. Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Casani, E. Kane; Stocky, John F.

    1996-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's New Millennium Program (NMP) is a space flight technology demonstration program that will validate the technologies needed to carry out the Earth and space science missions NASA envisions for the 21(sup st) century. The program is employing an innovative decision-making process to select the specific technologies that will be flight validated. First, NMP has articulated NASA's vision of science exploration for the next century, then it has defined the capabilities needed to execute that vision, and finally it will select and demonstrate the revolutionary technologies that provide those capabilities, thus enabling the science vision.

  13. Solar-Powered Electric Propulsion Systems: Engineering and Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stearns, J. W.; Kerrisk, D. J.

    1966-01-01

    Lightweight, multikilowatt solar power arrays in conjunction with electric propulsion offer potential improvements to space exploration, extending the usefulness of existing launch vehicles to higher-energy missions. Characteristics of solar-powered electric propulsion missions are outlined, and preliminary performance estimates are shown. Spacecraft system engineering is discussed with respect to parametric trade-offs in power and propulsion system design. Relationships between mission performance and propulsion system performance are illustrated. The present state of the art of electric propulsion systems is reviewed and related to the mission requirements identified earlier. The propulsion system design and test requirements for a mission spacecraft are identified and discussed. Although only ion engine systems are currently available, certain plasma propulsion systems offer some advantages in over-all system design. These are identified, and goals are set for plasma-thrustor systems to make them competitive with ion-engine systems for mission applications.

  14. Propulsion Research at the Propulsion Research Center of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blevins, John; Rodgers, Stephen

    2003-01-01

    The Propulsion Research Center of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is engaged in research activities aimed at providing the bases for fundamental advancement of a range of space propulsion technologies. There are four broad research themes. Advanced chemical propulsion studies focus on the detailed chemistry and transport processes for high-pressure combustion, and on the understanding and control of combustion stability. New high-energy propellant research ranges from theoretical prediction of new propellant properties through experimental characterization propellant performance, material interactions, aging properties, and ignition behavior. Another research area involves advanced nuclear electric propulsion with new robust and lightweight materials and with designs for advanced fuels. Nuclear electric propulsion systems are characterized using simulated nuclear systems, where the non-nuclear power source has the form and power input of a nuclear reactor. This permits detailed testing of nuclear propulsion systems in a non-nuclear environment. In-space propulsion research is focused primarily on high power plasma thruster work. New methods for achieving higher thrust in these devices are being studied theoretically and experimentally. Solar thermal propulsion research is also underway for in-space applications. The fourth of these research areas is advanced energetics. Specific research here includes the containment of ion clouds for extended periods. This is aimed at proving the concept of antimatter trapping and storage for use ultimately in propulsion applications. Another activity in this involves research into lightweight magnetic technology for space propulsion applications.

  15. Space station propulsion requirements study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilkinson, C. L.; Brennan, S. M.

    1985-01-01

    Propulsion system requirements to support Low Earth Orbit (LEO) manned space station development and evolution over a wide range of potential capabilities and for a variety of STS servicing and space station operating strategies are described. The term space station and the overall space station configuration refers, for the purpose of this report, to a group of potential LEO spacecraft that support the overall space station mission. The group consisted of the central space station at 28.5 deg or 90 deg inclinations, unmanned free-flying spacecraft that are both tethered and untethered, a short-range servicing vehicle, and a longer range servicing vehicle capable of GEO payload transfer. The time phasing for preferred propulsion technology approaches is also investigated, as well as the high-leverage, state-of-the-art advancements needed, and the qualitative and quantitative benefits of these advancements on STS/space station operations. The time frame of propulsion technologies applicable to this study is the early 1990's to approximately the year 2000.

  16. Basic research for future electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jahn, R. G.

    1985-01-01

    It is pointed out that the evolution of electric propulsion over the past two and a half decades has been constrained by the interaction of three broad factors, including the physics and dynamics of the propellants, the dynamical and logistical requirements of the mission, and the technological realities of materials, power sources, and thermal management. A projection of the future of electric propulsion requires, therefore, a simultaneous reassessment of all three factors. Aspects of mission specification and power systems are discussed, and basic research needed for future electric propulsion applications is considered. Attention is given to electrostatic propulsion, electrothermal propulsion, electromagnetic propulsion, electrothermal/electromagnetic hybrids, novel concepts, and ancillary concerns.

  17. Scaling Laws of Lissajous Helicon Plasma Accelerator toward Electric Propulsion in Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funaki, Ikkou; Matsuoka, T.; Nakamura, T.; Yokoi, K.; Nishida, H.; Shamrai, K. P.; Tanikawa, T.; Hada, T.; Shinohara, S.

    2010-11-01

    Scaling law of Lissajous Helicon Plasma Accelerator(LHPA) is derived and tested via PIC simulations with code VORPAL. In the LHPA, rotating transverse electric field in external longitudinal uniform magnetic field drives azimuthal current via ExB drift then thrust is produced due to Lorentz force. An 1D analytical model is developed which includes field penetration and ExB current estimation based on trajectory analysis. Scaling law of thrust as a function of parameters of RF drive frequency, applied RF voltage, plasma density, size of the thruster will be shown.

  18. Spacecraft Impacts with Advanced Power and Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mason, Lee S.; Oleson, Steven R.

    2000-01-01

    A study was performed to assess the benefits of advanced power and electric propulsion systems for various space missions. Advanced power technologies that were considered included multiband gap and thin-film solar arrays, lithium batteries, and flywheels. Electric propulsion options included Hall effect thrusters and Ion thrusters. Several mission case studies were selected as representative of future applications for advanced power and propulsion systems. These included a low altitude Earth science satellite, a LEO communications constellation, a GEO military surveillance satellite, and a Mercury planetary mission. The study process entailed identification of overall mission performance using state-of-the-art power and propulsion technology, enhancements made possible with either power or electric propulsion advances individually, and the collective benefits realized when advanced power and electric propulsion are combined. Impacts to the overall spacecraft included increased payload, longer operational life, expanded operations and launch vehicle class step-downs.

  19. Characterization of advanced electric propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ray, P. K.

    1982-01-01

    Characteristic parameters of several advanced electric propulsion systems are evaluated and compared. The propulsion systems studied are mass driver, rail gun, argon MPD thruster, hydrogen free radical thruster and mercury electron bombardment ion engine. Overall, ion engines have somewhat better characteristics as compared to the other electric propulsion systems.

  20. Preliminary Hazards Assessments for Space Nuclear Electric Propulsion Systems Mechanisms to Quantitatively Ascertain and Address Launch and Operational Risks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenard, R.

    2002-01-01

    Architectures are analyzed based on several figures of merit, including mass transported to Mars and samples transported from Mars to Earth, potential to reduce Earth contamination, sites on MArs visited, trip time and potential cost trades.A technological variant of a commercial vehicle for near-Earth missions is used as the nuclear electric propulsion system baseline. Several types of Mars landing and ascent vehicles are proposed and assessed.Technology approaches are assessed and analyzed to compare risk to a conventionally fueled Mars Sample Return concept. Also compared are solar electric propelled missions to ascertain cost saving or advantages. Various mission departure dates will be proposed and analyzed.

  1. Nuclear Electric Propulsion mission operations.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prickett, W. Z.; Spera, R. J.

    1972-01-01

    Mission operations are presented for comet rendezvous and outer planet exploration missions conducted by unmanned Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) system employing in-core thermionic reactors for electric power generation. The selected reference mission are Comet Halley rendezvous and a Jupiter orbiter at 5.9 planet radii, the orbit of the moon Io. Mission operations and options are defined from spacecraft assembly through mission completion. Pre-launch operations and related GSE requirements are identified. Shuttle launch and subsequent injection to earth escape by the Centaur d-1T are discussed, as well as power plant startup and heliocentric mission phases.

  2. Electric Propulsion Platforms at DFRC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baraaclough, Jonathan

    2009-01-01

    NASA Dryden Flight Research Center is a world-class flight research facility located at Edwards AFB, CA. With access to a 44 sq. mile dry lakebed and 350 testable days per year, it is the ideal location for flight research. DFRC has been undertaking aircraft research for approximately six decades including the famous X-aircraft (X-1 through X-48) and many science and exploration platforms. As part of this impressive heritage, DFRC has garnered more hours of full-sized electric aircraft testing than any other facility in the US, and possibly the world. Throughout the 80 s and 90 s Dryden was the home of the Pathfinder, Pathfinder Plus, and Helios prototype solar-electric aircraft. As part of the ERAST program, these electric aircraft achieved a world record 97,000 feet altitude for propeller-driven aircraft. As a result of these programs, Dryden s staff has collected thousands of man-hours of electric aircraft research and testing. In order to better answer the needs of the US in providing aircraft technologies with lower fuel consumption, lower toxic emissions (NOx, CO, VOCs, etc.), lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and lower noise emissions, NASA has engaged in cross-discipline research under the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). As a part of this overall effort, Mark Moore of LaRC has initiated a cross-NASA-center electric propulsion working group (EPWG) to focus on electric propulsion technologies as applied to aircraft. Electric propulsion technologies are ideally suited to overcome all of the obstacles mentioned above, and are at a sufficiently advanced state of development component-wise to warrant serious R&D and testing (TRL 3+). The EPWG includes participation from NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Glenn Research Center (GRC), Ames Research Center (ARC), and Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC). Each of the center participants provides their own unique expertise to support the overall goal of advancing the state-of-the-art in aircraft

  3. High Power Electric Propulsion for Outer Planet Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donahue, Benjamin B.

    2003-01-01

    Focused technology trade studies for Nuclear Electric Propulsion vehicle concepts for outer planet missions are presented; representative mission, vehicle and technology characterizations illustrate samples of work done under the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center-Boeing-SAIC In-Space Technology Assessment (ISTA) contract. An objective of ISTA is to identify and present sound technical and programtic options for the formulation and implementation of advanced electric and chemical propulsion solar system exploration missions. Investigations to date include a variety of outer planet destinations, trip times, science payload allotments, orbital capture techniques, all conducted to illustrate how advanced technology would maximize mission benefits. Architecture wide optimizations that facilitate good propulsion technology investments for advanced electric and chemical propulsion systems were conducted, including those relevant to the nuclear system initiative. Representative analyses of vehicles utilizing fission reactors with advanced power generation, Conversion, processing and electric propulsion systems, which would enable scientifically rich robotic exploration missions, are presented.

  4. Space Shuttle Propulsion Safety Upgrades

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Humphries, William Randy, Jr.; McCool, Alex (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    This document is a viewgraph presentation which reviews the proposed upgrades to the Space Shuttle Propulsion system, to improve safety, and reduce significant hazards. The goals of the program are to reduce the risk of a catastrophe in ascent, to achieve significant reduction in orbital and entry systems, and to improve the crew cockpit situational awareness for managing the critical operational situations. The document reviews the upgrades to the propulsion system which are planned to improve the safety. These include modifications to the Advanced Thrust Vector Control, modifications to the Space Shuttle Main Engine Block III, improvement in the Advanced Health Management System, the use of Friction Stir welding on the external tank, which is expected to improve mechanical properties, and reduce defect rate, and the modification of the propellant grains geometry.

  5. Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Development for Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mercer, Carolyn R.; Kerslake, Thomas W.; Scheidegger, Robert J.; Woodworth, Andrew A.; Lauenstein, Jean-Marie

    2015-01-01

    NASA is developing technologies to prepare for human exploration missions to Mars. Solar electric propulsion (SEP) systems are expected to enable a new cost effective means to deliver cargo to the Mars surface. Nearer term missions to Mars moons or near-Earth asteroids can be used to both develop and demonstrate the needed technology for these future Mars missions while demonstrating new capabilities in their own right. This presentation discusses recent technology development accomplishments for high power, high voltage solar arrays and power management that enable a new class of SEP missions.

  6. Space Shuttle Propulsion Finishing Strong

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Owen, James W.; Singer, Jody

    2011-01-01

    Numerous lessons have been documented from the Space Shuttle Propulsion elements. Major events include loss of the SRB's on STS-4 and shutdown of an SSME during ascent on STS- 51F. On STS-112 only half the pyrotechnics fired to release the vehicle from the launch pad, a testament for redundancy. STS-91 exhibited freezing of a main combustion chamber pressure measurement and on STS-93 nozzle tube ruptures necessitated a low liquid level oxygen cut off of the main engines. A number of on pad aborts were experienced during the early program resulting in delays. And the two accidents, STS-51L and STS-107, had unique heritage in history from early Program decisions and vehicle configuration. Following STS-51L significant resources were invested in developing fundamental physical understanding of solid rocket motor environments and material system behavior. Human rating of solid rocket motors was truly achieved. And following STS-107, the risk of ascent debris was better characterized and controlled. Situational awareness during all mission phases improved, and the management team instituted effective risk assessment practices. These major events and lessons for the future are discussed. The last 22 flights of the Space Shuttle, following the Columbia accident, were characterized by remarkable improvement in safety and reliability. Numerous problems were solved in addition to reduction of the ascent debris hazard. The propulsion system elements evolved to high reliability and heavy lift capability. The Shuttle system, though not a operable as envisioned in the 1970's, successfully assembled the International Space Station (ISS) and provided significant logistics and down mass for ISS operations. By the end of the Program, the remarkable Space Shuttle Propulsion system achieved very high performance, was largely reusable, exhibited high reliability, and is a heavy lift earth to orbit propulsion system. The story of this amazing system is discussed in detail in the paper.

  7. Technology Area Roadmap for In Space Propulsion Technologies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Meyer, Mike; Coote, David; Goebel, Dan; Palaszewski, Bryan; White, Sonny

    2010-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the technology area (TA) roadmap to develop propulsion technologies that will be used to enable further exploration of the solar system, and beyond. It is hoped that development of the technologies within this TA will result in technical solutions that will improve thrust levels, specific impulse, power, specific mass, volume, system mass, system complexity, operational complexity, commonality with other spacecraft systems, manufacturability and durability. Some of the propulsion technologies that are reviewed include: chemical and non-chemical propulsion, and advanced propulsion (i.e., those with a Technology Readiness level of less than 3). Examples of these advanced technologies include: Beamed Energy, Electric Sail, Fusion, High Energy Density Materials, Antimatter, Advanced Fission and Breakthrough propulsion technologies. Timeframes for development of some of these propulsion technologies are reviewed, and top technical challenges are reviewed. This roadmap describes a portfolio of in-space propulsion technologies that can meet future space science and exploration needs.

  8. EPOP: The Electric Propulsion Orbital Platform

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedly, V. J.; Ruyten, W. M.

    1995-01-01

    This paper describes the results of a one-year feasibility study for an Electric Propulsion Orbital Platform (EPOP), whose primary objective is to provide an instrumented platform for testing electric propulsion devices in space. The first flight, EPOP-1, is planned aboard the Shuttle-deployed Wake Shield Facility in March 1995, and will be designed around a commercial 1.8 kW, 0.5 hydrazine arcjet system. Specific subsystems are described, namely the arcjet and the power conditioning unit, the propellant and power systems, and Wake Shield Facility. Also, system engineering and integration issues are discussed. In an accompanying paper, the diagnostics and data acquisition and control systems are described in more detail.

  9. In-Space Propulsion: Connectivity to In-Space Fabrication and Repair

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, L.; Harris, D.; Trausch, A.; Matloff, G. L.; Taylor, T.; Cutting, K.

    2005-01-01

    The connectivity between new in-space propulsion technologies and the ultimate development of an in-space fabrication and repair infrastructure are described in this Technical Memorandum. A number of advanced in-space propulsion technologies are being developed by NASA, many of which are directly relevant to the establishment of such an in-space infrastructure. These include aerocapture, advanced solar-electric propulsion, solar-thermal propulsion, advanced chemical propulsion, tethers, and solar photon sails. Other, further-term technologies have also been studied to assess their utility to the development of such an infrastructure.

  10. Space transfer concepts and analysis for exploration missions. Implementation plan and element description document (draft final). Volume 4: Solar electric propulsion vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    This document presents the solar electric propulsion (SEP) concept design developed as part of the Space Transfer Concepts and Analysis for Exploration Missions (STCAEM) study. The evolution of the SEP concept is described along with the requirements, guidelines and assumptions for the design. Operating modes and options are defined and a systems description of the vehicle is presented. Artificial gravity configuration options and space and ground support systems are discussed. Finally, an implementation plan is presented which addresses technology needs, schedules, facilities, and costs.

  11. Center for Advanced Space Propulsion (CASP)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    With a mission to initiate and conduct advanced propulsion research in partnership with industry, and a goal to strengthen U.S. national capability in propulsion technology, the Center for Advanced Space Propulsion (CASP) is the only NASA Center for Commercial Development of Space (CCDS) which focuses on propulsion and associated technologies. Meetings with industrial partners and NASA Headquarters personnel provided an assessment of the constraints placed on, and opportunities afforded commercialization projects. Proprietary information, data rights, and patent rights were some of the areas where well defined information is crucial to project success and follow-on efforts. There were five initial CASP projects. At the end of the first year there are six active, two of which are approaching the ground test phase in their development. Progress in the current six projects has met all milestones and is detailed. Working closely with the industrial counterparts it was found that the endeavors in expert systems development, computational fluid dynamics, fluid management in microgravity, and electric propulsion were well received. One project with the Saturn Corporation which dealt with expert systems application in the assembly process, was placed on hold pending further direction from Saturn. The Contamination Measurment and Analysis project was not implemented since CASP was unable to identify an industrial participant. Additional propulsion and related projects were investigated during the year. A subcontract was let to a small business, MicroCraft, Inc., to study rocket engine certification standards. The study produced valuable results; however, based on a number of factors it was decided not to pursue this project further.

  12. Multimegawatt electric propulsion system design considerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilland, J. H.; Myers, Roger M.; Patterson, Michael J.

    1991-01-01

    Piloted Mars Mission Requirements of relatively short trip times and low initial mass in Earth orbit as identified by the NASA Space Exploration Initiative, indicate the need for multimegawatt electric propulsion systems. The design considerations and results for two thruster types, the argon ion, and hydrogen magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, are addressed in terms of configuration, performance, and mass projections. Preliminary estimates of power management and distribution for these systems are given. Some assessment of these systems' performance in a reference Space Exploration Initiative piloted mission are discussed. Research and development requirements of these systems are also described.

  13. SEPS mission and system integration/interface requirements for the space transportation system. [Solar Electric Propulsion System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cork, M. J.; Barnett, P. M.; Shaffer, J., Jr.; Doran, B. J.

    1979-01-01

    Earth escape mission requirements on Solar Electric Propulsion System (SEPS), and the interface definition and planned integration between SEPS, user spacecraft, and other elements of the STS. Emphasis is placed on the Comet rendezvous mission, scheduled to be the first SEPS user. Interactive SEPS interface characteristics with spacecraft and mission, as well as the multiple organizations and inter-related development schedules required to integrate the SEPS with spacecraft and STS, require early attention to definition of interfaces in order to assure a successful path to the first SEPS launch in July 1985

  14. SEPS guidance and navigation autonomy selection via mission analysis. [Solar Electric Propulsion Stage for Space Transportation System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Causey, W.; Sohoni, V.; Shenfish, K. L.; Wallace, C. T.

    1975-01-01

    A systematic rationale for selecting a cost-effective guidance and navigation (G & N) autonomy level for the solar electric propulsion stage (SEPS) vehicle is developed. After a definition of autonomy levels, a mission analysis is performed for representative SEPS missions using realistic G & N sensor hardware. Cost data for fabricating, integrating and refurbishing onboard avionics hardware and the ground costs corresponding to each autonomy level are generated. Results are presented that indicate performance of various G & N sensor hardware sets and the dominating factors which influence G & N autonomy level selection.

  15. Nuclear electric propulsion: An integral part of NASA's nuclear propulsion project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stone, James R.

    1992-01-01

    NASA has initiated a technology program to establish the readiness of nuclear propulsion technology for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). This program was initiated with a very modest effort identified with nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP); however, nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) is also an integral part of this program and builds upon NASA's Base Research and Technology Program in power and electric propulsion as well as the SP-100 space nuclear power program. Although the Synthesis Group On America's SEI has identified NEP only as an option for cargo missions, recent studies conducted by NASA-Lewis show that NEP offers the potential for early manned Mars missions as well. Lower power NEP is also of current interest for outer planetary robotic missions. Current plans are reviewed for the overall nuclear propulsion project, with emphasis on NEP and those elements of NTP program which have synergism with NEP.

  16. NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, L.; Robinson, J.

    2004-11-01

    NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is investing in technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the robotic exploration of deep space. For robotic exploration and science missions, increased efficiencies of future propulsion systems are critical to reduce overall life-cycle costs and, in some cases, enable missions previously considered impossible. Continued reliance on conventional chemical propulsion alone will not enable the robust exploration of deep space - the maximum theoretical efficiencies have almost been reached and they are insufficient to meet needs for many ambitious science missions currently being considered. The In-Space Propulsion Technology Program's technology portfolio includes many advanced propulsion systems. From the next generation ion propulsion system operating in the 5 - 10 kW range, to advanced cryogenic propulsion, substantial advances in spacecraft propulsion performance are anticipated. Some of the most promising technologies for achieving these goals use the environment of space itself for energy and propulsion and are generically called, ``propellantless" because they do not require on-board fuel to achieve thrust. Propellantless propulsion technologies include scientific innovations such as solar sails, electrodynamic and momentum transfer tethers, aeroassist, and aerocapture. This paper will provide an overview of both propellantless and propellant-based advanced propulsion technologies, and NASA's plans for advancing them as part of the \\$60M per year In-Space Propulsion Technology Program. Solar sails and aerocapture are candidates for flight validation as early as 2008 in partnership with NASA's New Millennium Program.

  17. Space storable propulsion components development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hagler, R., Jr.

    1982-01-01

    The current development status of components to control the flow of propellants (liquid fluorine and hydrazine) in a demonstration space storable propulsion system is discussed. The criteria which determined the designs for the pressure regulator, explosive-actuated valves, propellant shutoff valve, latching solenoid-actuated valve and propellant filter are presented. The test philosophy that was followed during component development is outlined. The results from compatibility demonstrations for reusable connectors, flange seals, and CRES/Ti-6Al4V transition tubes and the evaluations of processes for welding (hand-held TIG, automated TIG, and EB), cleaning for fluorine service, and decontamination after fluorine exposure are described.

  18. NASA's progress in nuclear electric propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stone, James R.; Doherty, Michael P.; Peecook, Keith M.

    1993-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has established a requirement for Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) technology for robotic planetary science mission applications with potential future evolution to systems for piloted Mars vehicles. To advance the readiness of NEP for these challenging missions, a near-term flight demonstration on a meaningful robotic science mission is very desirable. The requirements for both near-term and outer planet science missions are briefly reviewed, and the near-term baseline system established under a recent study jointly conducted by the Lewis Research Center (LeRC) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is described. Technology issues are identified where work is needed to establish the technology for the baseline system, and technology opportunities which could provide improvement beyond baseline capabilities are discussed. Finally, the plan to develop this promising technology is presented and discussed.

  19. Nuclear electric propulsion stage requirements and description

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mondt, J. F.; Peelgren, M. L.; Nakashima, A. M.; Nsieh, T. M.; Phillips, W. M.; Kikin, G. M.

    1974-01-01

    The application of a nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) stage in the exploration of near-earth, cometary, and planetary space was discussed. The NEP stage is powered by a liquid-metal-cooled, fast spectrum thermionic reactor capable of providing 120 kWe for 20,000 hours. This power is used to drive a number of mercury ion bombardment thrusters with specific impulse in the range of 4000-5000 seconds. The NEP description, characteristics, and functional requirements are discussed. These requirements are based on a set of five coordinate missions, which are described in detail. These five missions are a representative part of a larger set of missions used as a basic for an advanced propulsion comparison study. Additionally, the NEP stage development plan and test program is outlined and a schedule presented.

  20. Space vehicle propulsion systems: Environmental space hazards

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Disimile, P. J.; Bahr, G. K.

    1990-01-01

    The hazards that exist in geolunar space which may degrade, disrupt, or terminate the performance of space-based LOX/LH2 rocket engines are evaluated. Accordingly, a summary of the open literature pertaining to the geolunar space hazards is provided. Approximately 350 citations and about 200 documents and abstracts were reviewed; the documents selected give current and quantitative detail. The methodology was to categorize the various space hazards in relation to their importance in specified regions of geolunar space. Additionally, the effect of the various space hazards in relation to spacecraft and their systems were investigated. It was found that further investigation of the literature would be required to assess the effects of these hazards on propulsion systems per se; in particular, possible degrading effects on exterior nozzle structure, directional gimbals, and internal combustion chamber integrity and geometry.

  1. Status of Propulsion Technology Development Under the NASA In-space Propulsion Technology Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David; Kamhawi, Hani; Patterson, Mike; Pencil, Eric; Pinero, Luis; Dankanich, John

    2014-01-01

    Since 2001, the In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) program has been developing and delivering in-space propulsion technologies for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). These in-space propulsion technologies are applicable, and potentially enabling for future NASA Discovery, New Frontiers, Flagship and sample return missions currently under consideration. The ISPT program is currently developing technology in three areas that include Propulsion System Technologies, Entry Vehicle Technologies, and Systems Mission Analysis. ISPT's propulsion technologies include: 1) the 0.6-7 kW NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) gridded ion propulsion system; 2) a 0.3-3.9kW Hall-effect electric propulsion (HEP) system for low cost and sample return missions; 3) the Xenon Flow Control Module (XFCM); 4) ultra-lightweight propellant tank technologies (ULTT); and 5) propulsion technologies for a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV). The HEP system is composed of the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAc) thruster, a power processing unit (PPU), and the XFCM. NEXT and the HiVHAc are throttle-able electric propulsion systems for planetary science missions. The XFCM and ULTT are two component technologies which being developed with nearer-term flight infusion in mind. Several of the ISPT technologies are related to sample return missions needs like: MAV propulsion and electric propulsion. And finally, one focus of the SystemsMission Analysis area is developing tools that aid the application or operation of these technologies on wide variety of mission concepts. This paper provides a brief overview of the ISPT program, describing the development status and technology infusion readiness.

  2. Status of Propulsion Technology Development Under the NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David; Kamhawi, Hani; Patterson, Mike; Pencil, Eric; Pinero, Luis; Falck, Robert; Dankanich, John

    2014-01-01

    Since 2001, the In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) program has been developing and delivering in-space propulsion technologies for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). These in-space propulsion technologies are applicable, and potentially enabling for future NASA Discovery, New Frontiers, Flagship and sample return missions currently under consideration. The ISPT program is currently developing technology in three areas that include Propulsion System Technologies, Entry Vehicle Technologies, and Systems/Mission Analysis. ISPT's propulsion technologies include: 1) the 0.6-7 kW NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) gridded ion propulsion system; 2) a 0.3-3.9kW Halleffect electric propulsion (HEP) system for low cost and sample return missions; 3) the Xenon Flow Control Module (XFCM); 4) ultra-lightweight propellant tank technologies (ULTT); and 5) propulsion technologies for a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV). The NEXT Long Duration Test (LDT) recently exceeded 50,000 hours of operation and 900 kg throughput, corresponding to 34.8 MN-s of total impulse delivered. The HEP system is composed of the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HIVHAC) thruster, a power processing unit (PPU), and the XFCM. NEXT and the HIVHAC are throttle-able electric propulsion systems for planetary science missions. The XFCM and ULTT are two component technologies which being developed with nearer-term flight infusion in mind. Several of the ISPT technologies are related to sample return missions needs: MAV propulsion and electric propulsion. And finally, one focus of the Systems/Mission Analysis area is developing tools that aid the application or operation of these technologies on wide variety of mission concepts. This paper provides a brief overview of the ISPT program, describing the development status and technology infusion readiness.

  3. Fusion power for space propulsion.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roth, R.; Rayle, W.; Reinmann, J.

    1972-01-01

    Principles of operation, interplanetary orbit-to-orbit mission capabilities, technical problems, and environmental safeguards are examined for thermonuclear fusion propulsion systems. Two systems examined include (1) a fusion-electric concept in which kinetic energy of charged particles from the plasma is converted into electric power (for accelerating the propellant in an electrostatic thrustor) by the van de Graaf generator principle and (2) the direct fusion rocket in which energetic plasma lost from the reactor has a suitable amount of added propellant to obtain the optimum exhaust velocity. The deuterium-tritium and the deuterium/helium-3 reactions are considered as suitable candidates, and attention is given to problems of cryogenic refrigeration systems, magnet shielding, and high-energy particle extraction and guidance.

  4. User interactive electric propulsion software design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aston, Martha B.; Aston, Graeme; Brophy, John R.

    1989-01-01

    As electric propulsion technology matures from laboratory development to flight application, mission planners and spacecraft designers are increasingly required to determine the benefits and integration issues of using this propulsion capability. A computer software tool for supporting these analyses is presented. This tool combines detailed analytical models describing electric propulsion engine performance and subsystem design, and a software structure that is highly user interactive and adaptable. The software design methodology used to develop this software tool is presented in this paper.

  5. Space Fission Propulsion System Development Status

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, M.; Van Dyke, M. K.; Godfroy, T. J.; Pedersen, K. W.; Martin, J. J.; Dickens, R.; Williams, E.; Harper, R.; Salvail, P.; Hrbud, I.

    2001-01-01

    The world's first man-made self-sustaining fission reaction was achieved in 1942. Since then fission has been used to propel submarines, generate tremendous amounts of electricity, produce medical isotopes, and provide numerous other benefits to society. Fission systems operate independently of solar proximity or orientation, and are thus well suited for deep space or planetary surface missions. In addition, the fuel for fission systems (enriched uranium) is virtually non-radioactive. The primary safety issue with fission systems is avoiding inadvertent system start. Addressing this issue through proper system design is straight-forward. Despite the relative simplicity and tremendous potential of space fission systems, the development and utilization of these systems has proven elusive. The first use of fission technology in space occurred 3 April 1965 with the US launch of the SNAP-10A reactor. There have been no additional US uses of space fission systems. While space fission systems were used extensively by the former Soviet Union, their application was limited to earth-orbital missions. Early space fission systems must be safely and affordably utilized if we are to reap the benefits of advanced space fission systems. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, working with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Sandia National Laboratories, and others, has conducted preliminary research related to a Safe Affordable Fission Engine (SAFE). An unfueled core has been fabricated by LANL, and resistance heaters used to verify predicted core thermal performance by closely mimicking heat from fission. The core is designed to use only established nuclear technology and be highly testable. In FY01 an energy conversion system and thruster will be coupled to the core, resulting in an 'end-to-end' nuclear electric propulsion demonstrator being tested using resistance heaters to closely mimic heat from fission. Results of the SAFE test program will be presented. The applicability

  6. The Ion Propulsion System for the Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, Daniel A.; Santiago, Walter; Kamhawi, Hani; Polk, James E.; Snyder, John Steven; Hofer, Richard R.; Parker, J. Morgan

    2015-01-01

    The Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission is a candidate Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission whose main objectives are to develop and demonstrate a high-power solar electric propulsion capability for the Agency and return an asteroidal mass for rendezvous and characterization in a companion human-crewed mission. The ion propulsion system must be capable of operating over an 8-year time period and processing up to 10,000 kg of xenon propellant. This high-power solar electric propulsion capability, or an extensible derivative of it, has been identified as a critical part of an affordable, beyond-low-Earth-orbit, manned-exploration architecture. Under the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate the critical electric propulsion and solar array technologies are being developed. The ion propulsion system being co-developed by the NASA Glenn Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle is based on the NASA-developed 12.5 kW Hall Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding (HERMeS0 thruster and power processing technologies. This paper presents the conceptual design for the ion propulsion system, the status of the NASA in-house thruster and power processing activity, and an update on flight hardware.

  7. Nuclear electric propulsion mission engineering study. Volume 2: Final report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1973-01-01

    Results of a mission engineering analysis of nuclear-thermionic electric propulsion spacecraft for unmanned interplanetary and geocentric missions are summarized. Critical technologies associated with the development of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) are assessed, along with the impact of its availability on future space programs. Outer planet and comet rendezvous mission analysis, NEP stage design for geocentric and interplanetary missions, NEP system development cost and unit costs, and technology requirements for NEP stage development are studied.

  8. Electric-bicycle propulsion power

    SciTech Connect

    Oman, H.; Morchin, W.C.; Jamerson, F.E.

    1995-12-31

    In a human-powered hybrid electric vehicle (HPHEV) the travel distance available from a single battery charge can be lengthened with power from another source, the cyclist`s leg muscles. In a battery-powered electric bicycle the propulsion power goes mostly into overcoming aerodynamic drag. For example, at 18 km per hour (11 miles per hour) this drag represents 200 watts at the tire-to-road interface for a typical cyclist`s shape and clothing. Today`s typical electrical bicycle is propelled by a high-speed dc motor which is powered from a lead-acid battery. The combined efficiency of the motor and its speed-reducing gears is 50 to 65 percent. In this paper we calculate available travel distances, as a function of speed, grade, and the battery energy-content as measured in watt-hours per kg. We show the effect of battery cost and charge/discharge cycle-life on travel cost in terms of cents per kilometer travelled. Designs used in today`s electric bicycles are illustrated.

  9. Green space propulsion: Opportunities and prospects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gohardani, Amir S.; Stanojev, Johann; Demairé, Alain; Anflo, Kjell; Persson, Mathias; Wingborg, Niklas; Nilsson, Christer

    2014-11-01

    Currently, toxic and carcinogenic hydrazine propellants are commonly used in spacecraft propulsion. These propellants impose distinctive environmental challenges and consequential hazardous conditions. With an increasing level of future space activities and applications, the significance of greener space propulsion becomes even more pronounced. In this article, a selected number of promising green space propellants are reviewed and investigated for various space missions. In-depth system studies in relation to the aforementioned propulsion architectures further unveil possible approaches for advanced green propulsion systems of the future.

  10. Nuclear electric propulsion for planetary science missions: NASA technology program planning

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doherty, Michael P.

    1993-01-01

    This paper presents the status of technology program planning to develop those Nuclear Electric Propulsion technologies needed to meet the advanced propulsion system requirements for planetary science missions in the next century. The technology program planning is based upon technologies with significant development heritage: ion electric propulsion and the SP-100 space nuclear power technologies. Detailed plans are presented for the required ion electric propulsion technology development and demonstration. Closer coordination between space nuclear power and space electric propulsion technology programs is a necessity as technology plans are being further refined in light of NEP concept definition and possible early NEP flight activities.

  11. The Electric Propulsion Interactions Code (EPIC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mikellides, I. G.; Mandell, M. J.; Kuharski, R. A.; Davis, V. A.; Gardner, B. M.; Minor, J.

    2004-01-01

    Science Applications International Corporation is currently developing the Electric Propulsion Interactions Code, EPIC, as part of a project sponsored by the Space Environments and Effects Program at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Now in its second year of development, EPIC is an interactive computer tool that allows the construction of a 3-D spacecraft model, and the assessment of a variety of interactions between its subsystems and the plume from an electric thruster. These interactions may include erosion of surfaces due to sputtering and re-deposition of sputtered materials, surface heating, torque on the spacecraft, and changes in surface properties due to erosion and deposition. This paper describes the overall capability of EPIC and provides an outline of the physics and algorithms that comprise many of its computational modules.

  12. PEGASUS: a multi-megawatt nuclear electric propulsion system

    SciTech Connect

    Coomes, E.P.; Cuta, J.M.; Webb, B.J.; King, D.Q.

    1985-06-01

    With the Space Transportation System (STS), the advent of space station Columbus and the development of expertise at working in space that this will entail, the gateway is open to the final frontier. The exploration of this frontier is possible with state-of-the-art hydrogen/oxygen propulsion but would be greatly enhanced by the higher specific impulse of electric propulsion. This paper presents a concept that uses a multi-megawatt nuclear power plant to drive an electric propulsion system. The concept has been named PEGASUS, PowEr GenerAting System for Use in Space, and is intended as a ''work horse'' for general space transportation needs, both long- and short-haul missions. The recent efforts of the SP-100 program indicate that a power system capable of producing upwards of 1 megawatt of electric power should be available in the next decade. Additionally, efforts in other areas indicate that a power system with a constant power capability an order of magnitude greater could be available near the turn of the century. With the advances expected in megawatt-class space power systems, the high specific impulse propulsion systems must be reconsidered as potential propulsion systems. The power system is capable of meeting both the propulsion system and spacecraft power requirements.

  13. Advanced technology for future space propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Diehl, Larry A.

    1989-01-01

    The NASA Project Pathfinder contains programs to provide technologies for future transfer vehicles including those powered by both advanced chemical and electric propulsion rockets. This paper discusses the Chemical Transfer Propulsion and Cargo Vehicle Propulsion elements of Pathfinder. The program requirements and goals for both elements are discussed, and technical activities which are planned or underway are summarized. Recent progress in programs which support or proceed the Pathfinder activities is detailed. In particular, the NASA Program for Advanced Orbital Transfer Vehicle Propulsion, which acted as the precursor for the Chemical Transfer Propulsion element of Pathfinder is summarized.

  14. High Energy Plasma Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, S. T.

    2000-01-01

    In order to meet NASA's challenge on advanced concept activity in the propulsion area, we initiated a new program entitled "High Energy Plasma Space Propulsion Studies" within the current cooperative agreement in 1998. The goals of this work are to gain further understanding of the engine of the AIMStar spacecraft, a concept which was developed at Penn State University, and to develop a prototype concept for the engine. The AIMStar engine concept was developed at Penn State University several years ago as a hybrid between antimatter and fusion technologies. Because of limited amounts of antimatter available, and concurrently the demonstrated ability for antiprotons to efficiently ignite nuclear fusion reactions, it was felt that this was a very good match. Investigations have been made concerning the performance of the reaction trap. This is a small Penning-like electromagnetic trap, which is used to simultaneously confine antiprotons and fusion fuels. Small DHe3 or DT droplets, containing a few percent molar of a fissile material, are injected into the trap, filled with antiprotons. We have found that it is important to separate the antiprotons into two adjacent wells, to inject he droplet between them and to simultaneously bring the antiprotons to the center of the trap, surrounding the droplet. Our previous concept had the droplet falling onto one cloud of antiprotons. This proved to be inefficient, as the droplet tended to evaporate away from the cloud as it interacted on its surface.

  15. Exploring the notion of space coupling propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Millis, Marc G.

    1990-01-01

    All existing methods of space propulsion are based on expelling a reaction mass (propellant) to induce motion. Alternatively, 'space coupling propulsion' refers to speculations about reacting with space-time itself to generate propulsive forces. Conceivably, the resulting increases in payload, range, and velocity would constitute a breakthrough in space propulsion. Such speculations are still considered science fiction for a number of reasons: (1) it appears to violate conservation of momentum; (2) no reactive media appear to exist in space; (3) no 'Grand Uniform Theories' exist to link gravity, an acceleration field, to other phenomena of nature such as electrodynamics. The rationale behind these objectives is the focus of interest. Various methods to either satisfy or explore these issues are presented along with secondary considerations. It is found that it may be useful to consider alternative conventions of science to further explore speculations of space coupling propulsion.

  16. Comparison of Solar Electric and Chemical Propulsion Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Freeh, Joshua E.; Burke, Laura M.; Sjauw, Waldy K.; McGuire, Melissa L.; Smith, Bryan K.

    2015-01-01

    Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) offers fuel efficiency and mission robustness for spacecraft. The combination of solar power and electric propulsion engines is currently used for missions ranging from geostationary stationkeeping to deep space science because of these benefits. Both solar power and electric propulsion technologies have progressed to the point where higher electric power systems can be considered, making substantial cargo missions and potentially human missions viable. This paper evaluates and compares representative lunar, Mars, and Sun-Earth Langrangian point missions using SEP and chemical propulsion subsystems. The potential benefits and limitations are discussed along with technology gaps that need to be resolved for such missions to become possible. The connection to NASA's human architecture and technology development efforts will be discussed.

  17. Nuclear Electric Propulsion Technology Panel findings and recommendations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doherty, Michael P.

    1992-01-01

    Summarized are the findings and recommendations of a triagency (NASA/DOE/DOD) panel on Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) Technology. NEP has been identified as a candidate nuclear propulsion technology for exploration of the Moon and Mars as part of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). The findings are stated in areas of system and subsystem considerations, technology readiness, and ground test facilities. Recommendations made by the panel are summarized concerning: (1) existing space nuclear power and propulsion programs, and (2) the proposed multiagency NEP technology development program.

  18. The Ion Propulsion System for the Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herman, Daniel A.; Santiago, Walter; Kamhawi, Hani; Polk, James E.; Snyder, John Steven; Hofer, Richard; Parker, J. Morgan

    2015-01-01

    The Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission is a candidate Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission whose main objectives are to develop and demonstrate a high-power solar electric propulsion capability for the Agency and return an asteroidal mass for rendezvous and characterization in a subsequent human-crewed mission. The ion propulsion subsystem must be capable of operating over an 8-year time period and processing up to 10,000 kg of xenon propellant. This high-power solar electric propulsion capability, or an extensible derivative of it, has been identified as an enabling element of an affordable beyond low-earth orbit human-crewed exploration architecture. Under the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate the critical electric propulsion and solar array technologies are being developed. The ion propulsion system for the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle is based on the NASA-developed 12.5 kW Hall Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding thruster and power processing technologies. This paper presents the conceptual design for the ion propulsion system, a status on the NASA in-house thruster and power processing is provided, and an update on acquisition for flight provided.

  19. Electric Propulsion Induced Secondary Mass Spectroscopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Amini, Rashied; Landis, Geoffrey

    2012-01-01

    A document highlights a means to complement remote spectroscopy while also providing in situ surface samples without a landed system. Historically, most compositional analysis of small body surfaces has been done remotely by analyzing reflection or nuclear spectra. However, neither provides direct measurement that can unambiguously constrain the global surface composition and most importantly, the nature of trace composition and second-phase impurities. Recently, missions such as Deep Space 1 and Dawn have utilized electric propulsion (EP) accelerated, high-energy collimated beam of Xe+ ions to propel deep space missions to their target bodies. The energies of the Xe+ are sufficient to cause sputtering interactions, which eject material from the top microns of a targeted surface. Using a mass spectrometer, the sputtered material can be determined. The sputtering properties of EP exhaust can be used to determine detailed surface composition of atmosphereless bodies by electric propulsion induced secondary mass spectroscopy (EPI-SMS). EPI-SMS operation has three high-level requirements: EP system, mass spectrometer, and altitude of about 10 km. Approximately 1 keV Xe+ has been studied and proven to generate high sputtering yields in metallic substrates. Using these yields, first-order calculations predict that EPI-SMS will yield high signal-to-noise at altitudes greater than 10 km with both electrostatic and Hall thrusters.

  20. Microwave electric propulsion for orbit transfer applications

    SciTech Connect

    Sercel, J.C.

    1985-01-01

    A Microwave Electric Propulsion (MEP) concept is developed for an unmanned Orbit Transfer Vehicle (OTV). The concept is based on the use of beamed microwave power and on an extrapolation of ion thruster technology. Beamed microwave power transmission is discussed in terms of its relationship to spacecraft propulsion. Characteristics of an MEP OTV are determined and performance is evaluated by comparison to a variety of alternative propulsion systems for the completion of a ten-year mission model.

  1. Overview of DOE space nuclear propulsion programs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Newhouse, Alan R.

    1993-01-01

    An overview of Department of Energy space nuclear propulsion programs is presented in outline and graphic form. DOE's role in the development and safety assurance of space nuclear propulsion is addressed. Testing issues and facilities are discussed along with development needs and recent research activities.

  2. Nuclear electric propulsion technologies - Overview of the NASA/DoE/DoD Nuclear Electric Propulsion Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnett, John W.

    1991-01-01

    Nuclear propulsion technology offers substantial benefits to the ambitious piloted and robotic solar system exploration missions of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). This paper summarizes a workshop jointly sponsored by NASA, DoE, and DoD to assess candidate nuclear electric propulsion technologies. Twenty-one power and propulsion concepts are reviewed. Nuclear power concepts include solid and gaseous fuel concepts, with static and dynamic power conversion. Propulsion concepts include steady state and pulsed electromagnetic engines, a pulsed electrothermal engine, and a steady state electrostatic engine. The technologies vary widely in maturity. The workshop review panels concluded that compelling benefits would accrue from the development of nuclear electric propulsion systems, and that a focused, well-funded program is required to prepare the technologies for SEI missions.

  3. Interplanetary spacecraft design using solar electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Duxbury, J. H.; Paul, G. M.

    1974-01-01

    Emphasis of the electric propulsion technology program is now on the application of solar electric propulsion to scientific missions. Candidate planetary, cometary, and geosynchronous missions are being studied. The object of this paper is to describe a basic spacecraft design proposed as the means to accomplish (1) a comet Encke slow flyby, (2) a comet Encke rendezvous, and (3) an out-of-the-ecliptic mission. The discussion includes design differences foreseen for the various missions and indicates those areas where spacecraft design commonality is possible. Particular emphasis is placed on a solar electric propulsion module design which permits an attractive degree of design inheritance from mission to mission.

  4. Electric propulsion research and technology in the United States

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hudson, W. R.; Vondra, R. J.; Cochran, T.; Pawlik, E.

    1982-01-01

    Near-, mid-, and long-term technology goals for space electric propulsion systems are reviewed. Technological readiness has been demonstrated for 8 cm, 5 mN, and 30 cm, 30 mN electrostatic thrusters, with major use seen for GEO communications satellites in the near-term, and space station orbit adjustments later. Ion thrusters and/or MPD thrusters are projected to become viable if a space nuclear reactor system is operational in the 1990s, allowing the transport of thousands of kilograms to the outer planets. Basic research is proceeding on the electrothermal propulsion concept to provide resistojet thrusters suitable for a space station by 1986, although the program is hindered by insufficient funding. A flight test for the ion auxiliary propulsion system is detailed, and test results of the solar electric rocket (SERT II) are reported. Particular note is made of the progress on the solar electric propulsion system for the Shuttle and the Nuclear electric propulsion system for thermal-to-electric conversion for mid-1990s applications.

  5. A comparison of chemical propulsion, nuclear thermal propulsion, and multimegawatt electric propulsion for Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.; Blandino, John J.; Leifer, Stephanie D.

    1991-01-01

    Various propulsion systems are considered for a split-mission piloted exploration of Mars in terms of reducing total initial mass in low earth orbit (IMLEO) as well as trip time. Aerobraked nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), multimegawatt (MMW) nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), and MMW solar electric propulsion (SEP) are discussed and compared to a baseline aerobraked chemical propulsion system. NTP offers low IMLEO, MMW NEP allows both low IMLEO and a short trip time, and both nuclear systems offer better mission characteristics than the chemical system. The MMW SEP is concluded to be less efficient in spite of a lower IMLEO because of the system's higher specific mass and nonconstant power production. It is recommended that MMW NEP and SEP systems be considered for application to Mars cargo missions. The NEP system is concluded to be the most effective propulsion configuration for piloted Mars missions and lunar base missions.

  6. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Test Facilities Subpanel. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Allen, G.C.; Warren, J.W.; Martinell, J.; Clark, J.S.; Perkins, D.

    1993-04-01

    On 20 Jul. 1989, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, President George Bush proclaimed his vision for manned space exploration. He stated, 'First for the coming decade, for the 1990's, Space Station Freedom, the next critical step in our space endeavors. And next, for the new century, back to the Moon. Back to the future. And this time, back to stay. And then, a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars.' On 2 Nov. 1989, the President approved a national space policy reaffirming the long range goal of the civil space program: to 'expand human presence and activity beyond Earth orbit into the solar system.' And on 11 May 1990, he specified the goal of landing Astronauts on Mars by 2019, the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the Moon. To safely and ever permanently venture beyond near Earth environment as charged by the President, mankind must bring to bear extensive new technologies. These include heavy lift launch capability from Earth to low-Earth orbit, automated space rendezvous and docking of large masses, zero gravity countermeasures, and closed loop life support systems. One technology enhancing, and perhaps enabling, the piloted Mars missions is nuclear propulsion, with great benefits over chemical propulsion. Asserting the potential benefits of nuclear propulsion, NASA has sponsored workshops in Nuclear Electric Propulsion and Nuclear Thermal Propulsion and has initiated a tri-agency planning process to ensure that appropriate resources are engaged to meet this exciting technical challenge. At the core of this planning process, NASA, DOE, and DOD established six Nuclear Propulsion Technical Panels in 1991 to provide groundwork for a possible tri-agency Nuclear Propulsion Program and to address the President's vision by advocating an aggressive program in nuclear propulsion. To this end the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Technology Panel has focused it energies.

  7. A comparison of propulsion systems for potential space mission applications

    SciTech Connect

    Harvego, E.A.; Sulmeisters, T.K.

    1987-01-01

    A derivative of the NERVA nuclear rocket engine was compared with a chemical propulsion system and a nuclear electric propulsion system to assess the relative capabilities of the different propulsion system options for three potential space missions. The missions considered were (1) orbital transfer from low earth orbit (LEO) to geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), (2) LEO to a lunar base, and (3) LEO to Mars. The results of this comparison indicate that the direct-thrust NERVA-derivative nuclear rocket engine has the best performance characteristics for the missions considered. The combined high thrust and high specific impulse achievable with a direct-thrust nuclear stage permits short operating times (transfer times) comparable to chemical propulsion systems, but with considerably less required propellant. While nuclear-electric propulsion systems are more fuel efficient than either direct-nuclear or chemical propulsion, they are not stand-alone systems, since their relatively low thrust levels require the use of high-thrust ferry or lander stages in high gravity applications such as surface-to-orbit propulsion. The extremely long transfer times and inefficient trajectories associated with electric propulsion systems were also found to be a significant drawback.

  8. Nuclear Propulsion for Space Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, M. G.; Bechtel, R. D.; Borowski, S. K.; George, J. A.; Kim, T.; Emrich, W. J.; Hickman, R. R.; Broadway, J. W.; Gerrish, H. P.; Adams, R. B.

    2013-01-01

    Basics of Nuclear Systems: Long history of use on Apollo and space science missions. 44 RTGs and hundreds of RHUs launched by U.S. during past 4 decades. Heat produced from natural alpha (a) particle decay of Plutonium (Pu-238). Used for both thermal management and electricity production. Used terrestrially for over 65 years. Fissioning 1 kg of uranium yields as much energy as burning 2,700,000 kg of coal. One US space reactor (SNAP-10A) flown (1965). Former U.S.S.R. flew 33 space reactors. Heat produced from neutron-induced splitting of a nucleus (e.g. U-235). At steady-state, 1 of the 2 to 3 neutrons released in the reaction causes a subsequent fission in a "chain reaction" process. Heat converted to electricity, or used directly to heat a propellant. Fission is highly versatile with many applications.

  9. Advanced propulsion concepts study: Comparative study of solar electric propulsion and laser electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Forward, R. L.

    1975-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion (SEP) and laser electric propulsion (LEP) was compared. The LEP system configuration consists of an 80 kW visible laser source on earth, transmitting via an 8 m diameter adaptively controlled phased array through the atmosphere to a 4 m diameter synchronous relay mirror that tracks the LEP spacecraft. The only significant change in the SEP spacecraft for an LEP mission is the replacement of the two 3.7 m by 33.5 m solar cell arrays with a single 8 m diameter laser photovoltaic array. The solar cell array weight is decreased from 320 kg to 120 kg for an increase in payload of 200 kg and a decrease in specific mass of the power system from 20.5 kg/kW to 7.8 kg/kW.

  10. Laser propulsion for space applications: Is it another myth or a real potential?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cook, Joung R.

    2007-05-01

    This paper discusses different principles of inducing propulsive power using lasers and examines the performance limits along with pros and cons with respect to different space propulsion applications: satellite launching, orbital transfer, space debris clearing, satellite propulsion, and space travels. It concludes that a use of electrical propulsion, in conjunction with laser power beaming, is the most feasible application with technological and economic advantages for commercial use within the next decades.

  11. Propulsion Wheel Motor for an Electric Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Figuered, Joshua M. (Inventor); Herrera, Eduardo (Inventor); Waligora, Thomas M. (Inventor); Bluethmann, William J. (Inventor); Farrell, Logan Christopher (Inventor); Lee, Chunhao J. (Inventor); Vitale, Robert L. (Inventor); Winn, Ross Briant (Inventor); Eggleston, IV, Raymond Edward (Inventor); Guo, Raymond (Inventor); Weber, Steven J. (Inventor); Junkin, Lucien Q. (Inventor); Rogers, James Jonathan (Inventor)

    2016-01-01

    A wheel assembly for an electric vehicle includes a wheel rim that is concentrically disposed about a central axis. A propulsion-braking module is disposed within an interior region of the wheel rim. The propulsion-braking module rotatably supports the wheel rim for rotation about the central axis. The propulsion-braking module includes a liquid cooled electric motor having a rotor rotatable about the central axis, and a stator disposed radially inside the rotor relative to the central axis. A motor-wheel interface hub is fixedly attached to the wheel rim, and is directly attached to the rotor for rotation with the rotor. The motor-wheel interface hub directly transmits torque from the electric motor to the wheel rim at a 1:1 ratio. The propulsion-braking module includes a drum brake system having an electric motor that rotates a cam device, which actuates the brake shoes.

  12. High-Power Solar Electric Propulsion for Future NASA Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Manzella, David; Hack, Kurt

    2014-01-01

    NASA has sought to utilize high-power solar electric propulsion as means of improving the affordability of in-space transportation for almost 50 years. Early efforts focused on 25 to 50 kilowatt systems that could be used with the Space Shuttle, while later efforts focused on systems nearly an order of magnitude higher power that could be used with heavy lift launch vehicles. These efforts never left the concept development phase in part because the technology required was not sufficiently mature. Since 2012 the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate has had a coordinated plan to mature the requisite solar array and electric propulsion technology needed to implement a 30 to 50 kilowatt solar electric propulsion technology demonstration mission. Multiple solar electric propulsion technology demonstration mission concepts have been developed based on these maturing technologies with recent efforts focusing on an Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission. If implemented, the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle will form the basis for a capability that can be cost-effectively evolved over time to provide solar electric propulsion transportation for a range of follow-on mission applications at power levels in excess of 100 kilowatts.

  13. Nuclear electric propulsion reactor control systems status

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferg, D. A.

    1973-01-01

    The thermionic reactor control system design studies conducted over the past several years for a nuclear electric propulsion system are described and summarized. The relevant reactor control system studies are discussed in qualitative terms, pointing out the significant advantages and disadvantages including the impact that the various control systems would have on the nuclear electric propulsion system design. A recommendation for the reference control system is made, and a program for future work leading to an engineering model is described.

  14. Airvolt Aircraft Electric Propulsion Test Stand

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Samuel, Aamod; Lin, Yohan

    2015-01-01

    Development of an electric propulsion test stand that collects high-fidelity data of motor, inverter, and battery system efficiencies; thermal dynamics; and acoustics independent of manufacturer reported values will improve understanding of electric propulsion systems to be used in future aircraft. A buildup approach to this development reveals new areas of research and best practices in testing, and attempts to establish a standard for testing these systems.

  15. Electric propulsion system for wheeled vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Ramos, J.A.

    1981-11-03

    An electric propulsion system for a wheeled vehicle has a generator and motor connected to a drive shaft and an electrical system for charging a battery during all conditions of power transfer from the wheels of the vehicle to the generator to minimize energy required for propulsion. A variable speed power coupling unit connecting the motor to the drive shaft has sprockets revolving about a belt connected sun sprocket with speed control effected by varying the rate of satellite sprocket rotation.

  16. Development costs for a nuclear electric propulsion stage.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mondt, J. F.; Prickett, W. Z.

    1973-01-01

    Development costs are presented for an unmanned nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) stage based upon a liquid metal cooled, in-core thermionic reactor. A total of 120 kWe are delivered to the thrust subsystem which employs mercury ion engines for electric propulsion. This study represents the most recent cost evaluation of the development of a reactor power system for a wide range of nuclear space power applications. These include geocentric, and outer planet and other deep space missions. The development program is described for the total NEP stage, based upon specific development programs for key NEP stage components and subsystems.

  17. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) tests

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, George C.

    1993-01-01

    Viewgraphs on the space nuclear thermal propulsion (SNTP) program are presented. The objective of the research is to develop advanced nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) technology based on the particle bed reactor concept. A strong philosophical commitment exists in the industry/national laboratory team to emphasize testing in development activities. Nuclear testing currently underway to support development of SNTP technology is addressed.

  18. SPE (tm) electrolyzers for space propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shane, E. M.

    1990-01-01

    Viewgraphs on SPE electrolyzers for space propulsion are presented. Topics covered include: SPE electrochemical cell reactions; SPE fuel cell/electrolyzer features; SPE cell life capability; SPE cell voltage stability; state-of-the-art SPE cell structure; electrolysis cell stack; electrolysis system; integrated propulsion test article-electrolyzer module components; and oxygen generator module.

  19. Space station propulsion-ECLSS interaction study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brennan, Scott M.

    1986-01-01

    The benefits of the utilization of effluents of the Space Station Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) system are examined. Various ECLSS-propulsion system interaction options are evaluated and compared on the basis of weight, volume, and power requirements. Annual propulsive impulse to maintain station altitude during a complete solar cycle of eleven years and the effect on station resupply are considered.

  20. Advanced Space Propulsion: A Research Perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Litchford, Ron; Cole, John; Rodgers, Steve; Sackheim, Bob

    2002-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation provides information on spacecraft propulsion research. The organizational and management principals needed for the research are stated. The presentation recommends a space propulsion research program. It also states some of the factors which drive research in the field, as well as the desired goals, objectives, and focus of the research.

  1. Roadmap for In-Space Propulsion Technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meyer, Michael; Johnson, Les; Palaszewski, Bryan; Coote, David; Goebel, Dan; White, Harold

    2012-01-01

    NASA has created a roadmap for the development of advanced in-space propulsion technologies for the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT). This roadmap was drafted by a team of subject matter experts from within the Agency and then independently evaluated, integrated and prioritized by a National Research Council (NRC) panel. The roadmap describes a portfolio of in-space propulsion technologies that could meet future space science and exploration needs, and shows their traceability to potential future missions. Mission applications range from small satellites and robotic deep space exploration to space stations and human missions to Mars. Development of technologies within the area of in-space propulsion will result in technical solutions with improvements in thrust, specific impulse (Isp), power, specific mass (or specific power), volume, system mass, system complexity, operational complexity, commonality with other spacecraft systems, manufacturability, durability, and of course, cost. These types of improvements will yield decreased transit times, increased payload mass, safer spacecraft, and decreased costs. In some instances, development of technologies within this area will result in mission-enabling breakthroughs that will revolutionize space exploration. There is no single propulsion technology that will benefit all missions or mission types. The requirements for in-space propulsion vary widely according to their intended application. This paper provides an updated summary of the In-Space Propulsion Systems technology area roadmap incorporating the recommendations of the NRC.

  2. System engineering of a nuclear electric propulsion testbed spacecraft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cameron, G. E.; Herbert, G. A.

    1993-06-01

    A mission concept aimed at evaluating performance of a Russian Space Nuclear Power System (SNPS) and electric thrusters to be consistent with U.S. safety standards is discussed. Solutions of unique nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) problems optimized for the Nuclear Electric Propulsion Test Program (NEPSTP) are considered. The problems include radiation, thermal management, safety, ground processing concerns of a nuclear payload, the launch of an NEP payload, orbital operations, electromagnetic compatibility, contamination, guidance and control, and a power system. Attention is also given to preliminary spacecraft and mission design developed taking into account all aforementioned problems.

  3. Legal Implications of Nuclear Propulsion for Space Objects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pop, V.

    2002-01-01

    This paper is intended to examine nuclear propulsion concepts such as "Project Orion", "Project Daedalus", NERVA, VASIMIR, from the legal point of view. The UN Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space apply to nuclear power sources in outer space devoted to the generation of electric power on board space objects for non-propulsive purposes, and do not regulate the use of nuclear energy as a means of propulsion. However, nuclear propulsion by means of detonating atomic bombs (ORION) is, in principle, banned under the 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water. The legality of use of nuclear propulsion will be analysed from different approaches - historical (i.e. the lawfulness of these projects at the time of their proposal, at the present time, and in the future - in the light of the mutability and evolution of international law), spatial (i.e. the legal regime governing peaceful nuclear explosions in different spatial zones - Earth atmosphere, Earth orbit, Solar System, and interstellar space), and technical (i.e, the legal regime applicable to different nuclear propulsion techniques, and to the various negative effects - e.g. damage to other space systems as an effect of the electromagnetic pulse, etc). The paper will analyse the positive law, and will also come with suggestions "de lege ferenda".

  4. Solar Powered Propulsion for Space. (Latest citations from the Aerospace Database)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    The bibliography contains citations concerning the design, development, and performance of solar propulsion systems. Solar electric propulsion and solar thermal propulsion are reviewed. Topics include solar power satellites, nuclear electric propulsion, solar-powered orbit transfer vehicles, and solar dynamic and bimodal power systems. References also discuss atmospheric pollution control, telephone services, space commercialization, interplanetary missions, and lunar and Mars exploration. (Contains 50-250 citations and includes a subject term index and title list.)

  5. Planetary mission applications for space storable propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chase, R. L.; Cork, M. J.; Young, D. L.

    1974-01-01

    This paper presents the results of a study to compare space-storable with earth-storable spacecraft propulsion systems, space-storable with solid kick stages, and several space-storable development options on the basis of benefits received for cost expenditures required. The results show that, for a launch vehicle with performance less than that of Shuttle/Centaur, space-storable spacecraft propulsion offers an incremental benefit/cost ratio between 1.0 and 5.5 when compared to earth-storable systems for three of the four missions considered. In the case of VOIR 83, positive benefits were apparent only for a specific launch vehicle-spacecraft propulsion combination. A space-storable propulsion system operating at thrust of 600 lbf, 355 units of specific impulse, and with blowdown pressurization, represents the best choice for the JO 81 mission on a Titan/Centaur if only spacecraft propulsion modifications are considered. For still higher performance, a new solid-propellant kick stage with space-storable spacecraft propulsion is preferred over a system which uses space-storable propellants for both the kick stage and the spacecraft system.

  6. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bleeker, Gary A.

    1993-01-01

    An overview of the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion program is presented in graphic form. A program organizational chart is presented that shows the government and industry participants. Enabling technologies and test facilities and approaches are also addressed.

  7. The Economics of Advanced In-Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bangalore, Manju; Dankanich, John

    2016-01-01

    The cost of access to space is the single biggest driver is commercial space sector. NASA continues to invest in both launch technology and in-space propulsion. Low-cost launch systems combined with advanced in-space propulsion offer the greatest potential market capture. Launch market capture is critical to national security and has a significant impact on domestic space sector revenue. NASA typically focuses on pushing the limits on performance. However, the commercial market is driven by maximum net revenue (profits). In order to maximum the infusion of NASA investments, the impact on net revenue must be known. As demonstrated by Boeing's dual launch, the Falcon 9 combined with all Electric Propulsion (EP) can dramatically shift the launch market from foreign to domestic providers.

  8. Primary propulsion/large space system interactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dergance, R. H.

    1980-01-01

    Three generic types of structural concepts and nonstructural surface densities were selected and combined to represent potential LSS applications. The design characteristics of various classes of large space systems that are impacted by primary propulsion thrust required to effect orbit transfer were identified. The effects of propulsion system thrust-to-mass ratio, thrust transients, and performance on the mass, area, and orbit transfer characteristics of large space systems were determined.

  9. Solar electric propulsion for Mars transport vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Hickman, J.M.; Curtis, H.B.; Alexander, S.W.; Gilland, J.H.; Hack, K.J.; Lawrence, C.; Swartz, C.K.

    1990-09-01

    Solar electric propulsion (SEP) is an alternative to chemical and nuclear powered propulsion systems for both piloted and unpiloted Mars transport vehicles. Photovoltaic solar cell and array technologies were evaluated as components of SEP power systems. Of the systems considered, the SEP power system composed of multijunction solar cells in an ENTECH domed fresnel concentrator array had the least array mass and area. Trip times to Mars optimized for minimum propellant mass were calculated. Additionally, a preliminary vehicle concept was designed.

  10. Solar electric propulsion for Mars transport vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hickman, J. M.; Curtis, H. B.; Alexander, S. W.; Gilland, J. H.; Hack, K. J.; Lawrence, C.; Swartz, C. K.

    1990-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion (SEP) is an alternative to chemical and nuclear powered propulsion systems for both piloted and unpiloted Mars transport vehicles. Photovoltaic solar cell and array technologies were evaluated as components of SEP power systems. Of the systems considered, the SEP power system composed of multijunction solar cells in an ENTECH domed fresnel concentrator array had the least array mass and area. Trip times to Mars optimized for minimum propellant mass were calculated. Additionally, a preliminary vehicle concept was designed.