Science.gov

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. 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.

  8. 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.

  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

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. 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.

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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

    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.

  5. 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.

  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. 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.

  10. 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.

  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. 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.

  16. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  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)

    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.

  13. 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.

  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. 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.

  18. 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.

  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. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  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. 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.

  16. 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.

  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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  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; 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  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. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  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.

  11. Multimission nuclear electric propulsion system for outer planet exploration missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mondt, J. F.

    1981-01-01

    The conceptual design configuration of a nuclear electric propulsion system (NEP) with a multimission capability for both earth orbital and electric propulsion missions is discussed. Two basic types of space reactor power system concepts are analyzed emphasizing conduction coupled and radiation coupled systems, and a radiation coupled thermoelectric panel concept is schematically represented and described in detail. A nuclear-powered 100-kWe surveillance spacecraft concept is presented and the developmental phases are given including cost estimates. In addition, a system is described that seems to have the capability to perform all the outer planet missions.

  12. Nuclear electric propulsion mission engineering study. Volume 1: Executive summary

    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. 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. The NEP stage design provides both inherent reliability and high payload mass capability. The NEP stage and payload integration was found to be compatible with the space shuttle.

  13. EPOP - Toward the realization of an Electric Propulsion Orbital Platform

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1992-01-01

    This paper describes the results of a 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. It is anticipated that the first flight, EPO-1, will take place on the Shuttle-deployed Wake Shield Facility in 1996, and will be designed around a modified version of a commercial 1.8 kW hydrazine arcjet system, to be operated on gaseous hydrogen propellant. Specific subsystems are described, including the arcjet system, the propellant and power systems, and the diagnostics systems. Also, system engineering and integration issues are discussed.

  14. NASA In-Space Propulsion Technologies and Their Infusion Potential

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David J.; Pencil,Eric J.; Peterson, Todd; Vento, Daniel; Munk, Michelle M.; Glaab, Louis J.; Dankanich, John W.

    2012-01-01

    The In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) program has been developing in-space propulsion technologies that will enable or enhance NASA robotic science missions. The ISPT program is currently developing technology in four areas that include Propulsion System Technologies (Electric and Chemical), Entry Vehicle Technologies (Aerocapture and Earth entry vehicles), Spacecraft Bus and Sample Return Propulsion Technologies (components and ascent vehicles), and Systems/Mission Analysis. Three technologies are ready for flight infusion: 1) the high-temperature Advanced Material Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine providing higher performance; 2) NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system, a 0.6-7 kW throttle-able gridded ion system; and 3) Aerocapture technology development with investments in a family of thermal protection system (TPS) materials and structures; guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) models of blunt-body rigid aeroshells; and aerothermal effect models. Two component technologies that will be ready for flight infusion in the near future will be Advanced Xenon Flow Control System, and ultra-lightweight propellant tank technologies. Future focuses for ISPT are sample return missions and other spacecraft bus technologies like: 1) Mars Ascent Vehicles (MAV); 2) multi-mission technologies for Earth Entry Vehicles (MMEEV) for sample return missions; and 3) electric propulsion for sample return and low cost missions. These technologies are more vehicle-focused, and present a different set of technology infusion challenges. While the Systems/Mission Analysis area is focused on developing tools and assessing the application of propulsion technologies to a wide variety of mission concepts. These in-space propulsion technologies are applicable, and potentially enabling for future NASA Discovery, New Frontiers, and sample return missions currently under consideration, as well as having broad applicability to potential Flagship missions. This paper

  15. Establishing a center for advanced space propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garrison, George W.

    1990-01-01

    The goals and the concept of NASA-sponsored Centers for the Commercial Development of Space (CCDSs) are presented. The Center for Advanced Space Propulsion (CASP), its research projects, and the prognosis for their success are discussed. The establishment of CCDSs is recognized as an experiment to bring together university and industry researchers to maintain and improve the internationally competitive position of the United States in space. Increasing private investment in space-related technology and developing new commercial products are the basic requirements for success. CASP is the only CCDS that focuses on propulsion technology, which is critical to ensuring continued U.S. leadership in space. CASP is expected to become a recognized center for propulsion research and commercialization within the next five years.

  16. Manufacture of ionizers intended for electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hivert, A.; Labbe, J.

    1978-01-01

    An electric propulsion system which relies on the formation of cesium ions in contact with a porous wall made of a metal with a high work function when the wall is heated to 1500 K was described. The manufacture of porous walls on the mountings was considered. Erosion of the electrodes by slow ions was examined, and the life times of the ionizers was estimated by means of experimental studies. The purpose of the electric propulsion system was to bring about minor corrections in the orbits of geostationary satellites; the main advantage of this system was that it weighs less than currently used hydrazine systems.

  17. Solar Electric Propulsion Module Concept for the BIFROST Architecture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rohrschneider, R. R.; Olds, J. R.; Sakai, T.; Steffes, S.; Grillmayer, G.

    2002-01-01

    Humanity has dreamed of expanding their realm to include space, and other planetary bodies and to use space to improve our own planet. Space solar power is one methods of improving our own planet through the use of space. However, before this becomes practical the cost of access to space must be reduced drastically. Bifrost is one of many concepts designed to reduce the cost of access to space, and hence enable projects such as space solar power. The overall architecture consists of a magnetic-levitation launch track with one end elevated to approximately 20 kilometers. Logistics modules with attached propulsion modules and aerodynamic fairings are accelerated down the track at speeds varying according to the desired orbit. The propulsion module attached to each logistics module must then provide the velocity to achieve the desired final orbit. Bifrost is set up to launch a common hybrid logistics module size with a number of different propulsion modules suited for different in space applications. This paper concentrates on the low thrust propulsion module. After release from the magnetic-levitation track the propulsion module must be capable of circularizing the hybrid logistics module in geosynchronous orbit from geostationary transfer orbit.The initial transfer orbit would cause the spacecraft to re-enter on a subsequent periapsis pass if no velocity addition was provided by the propulsion module. This places a minimum thrust, and reliability constraint on the propulsion module. Volume constraints are imposed by the launch tube diameter and aerodynamic fairings on the vehicle. A solar electric propulsion system was chosen to provide thrust since the time of flight was not constrained, and the high specific impulse would allow a large payload to reach geosynchronous orbit. Several concepts exist for solar electric propulsion systems including the traditional rigid solar wings, thin film solar arrays, solar concentrators using lenses, and solar concentrators using

  18. Propellantless Propulsion Technologies for In-Space Transportation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Cook, Stephen (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    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. Rendezvous and return missions will require similar investments in in-space propulsion systems. New opportunities to explore beyond the outer planets and to the stars will require unparalleled technology advancement and innovation. The Advanced Space Transportation Program (ASTP) is investing in technologies to achieve a factor of 10 reduction in the cost of Earth orbital transportation and a factor of 2 or 3 reduction in propulsion system mass and travel time for planetary missions within the next 15 years. Since more than 70% of projected launches over the next 10 years will require propulsion systems capable of attaining destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit, investment in in-space technologies will benefit a large percentage of future missions. 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. An overview of the state-of-the-art in propellantless propulsion technologies such as solar and plasma sails, electrodynamic and momentum transfer tethers, and aeroassist and aerocapture will be described. Results of recent earth-based technology demonstrations and space tests will also be discussed.

  19. Application of the Physics of Wave-Particle Interactions in the Auroral Upward Current Region for Use in the VASIMR° Deep Space Electric Propulsion System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bering, E. A.; Olsen, C.; Longmier, B.; Ballenger, M.; Giambusso, M.; Carter, M.; Cassady, L.; Chang Diaz, F.; Glover, T.; McCaskill, G.; Squire, J.

    2011-12-01

    This paper will describe the laboratory application of the lessons learned from the study of wave particle interactions in the auroral upward current region to the industrial development problem of electric spacecraft propulsion. The VAriable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR°) has been developed by using the results of space plasma experiments in laboratory plasma studies that will ultimately enable further space exploration. VASIMR° is a high power electric spacecraft propulsion system, capable of Isp/thrust modulation at constant power. The VASIMR° uses a helicon discharge to generate plasma. The plasma is leaked though a strong magnetic mirror to the second stage. In this stage, this plasma is energized by an RF booster stage that uses left hand polarized slow mode waves launched from the high field side of the ion cyclotron resonance. In the experiments reported in this paper, the booster uses 0.5-0.7 MHz waves with up to 170 kW of power. The single pass ion cyclotron heating (ICH) produced a substantial increase in ion velocity. Pitch angle distribution studies showed that this increase took place in the resonance region where the ion cyclotron frequency was roughly equal to the frequency on the injected rf waves. Downstream of the resonance region the perpendicular velocity boost should be converted to axial flow velocity through the conservation of the first adiabatic invariant as the magnetic field decreases in the exhaust region of the VASIMR°. Results from high power Helicon only and Helicon with ICH experiments are presented from the VX-200 using argon propellant. A two-axis translation stage has been used to survey the spatial structure of plasma parameters, momentum flux and magnetic perturbations in the VX-200 exhaust plume. These recent measurements were made within a new 150 cubic meter cryo-pumped vacuum chamber and are presented in the context of plasma detachment. For the first time, the thruster efficiency and thrust of a high

  20. In-Space Chemical Propulsion System Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Byers, David C.; Woodcock, Gordon; Benfield, Michael P. J.

    2004-01-01

    Multiple, new technologies for chemical systems are becoming available and include high temperature rockets, very light propellant tanks and structures, new bipropellant and monopropellant options, lower mass propellant control components, and zero boil off subsystems. Such technologies offer promise of increasing the performance of in-space chemical propulsion for energetic space missions. A mass model for pressure-fed, Earth and space-storable, advanced chemical propulsion systems (ACPS) was developed in support of the NASA MSFC In-Space Propulsion Program. Data from flight systems and studies defined baseline system architectures and subsystems and analyses were formulated for parametric scaling relationships for all ACPS subsystem. The paper will first provide summary descriptions of the approaches used for the systems and the subsystems and then present selected analyses to illustrate use of the model for missions with characteristics of current interest.

  1. In-Space Chemical Propulsion System Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Byers, David C.; Woodcock, Gordon; Benfield, M. P. J.

    2004-01-01

    Multiple, new technologies for chemical systems are becoming available and include high temperature rockets, very light propellant tanks and structures, new bipropellant and monopropellant options, lower mass propellant control components, and zero boil off subsystems. Such technologies offer promise of increasing the performance of in-space chemical propulsion for energetic space missions. A mass model for pressure-fed, Earth and space-storable, advanced chemical propulsion systems (ACPS) was developed in support of the NASA MSFC In-Space Propulsion Program. Data from flight systems and studies defined baseline system architectures and subsystems and analyses were formulated for parametric scaling relationships for all ACPS subsystems. The paper will first provide summary descriptions of the approaches used for the systems and the subsystems and then present selected analyses to illustrate use of the model for missions with characteristics of current interest.

  2. Propulsion element requirements using electrical power system unscheduled power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimmermann, Frank; Hodge, Kathy

    1989-01-01

    The suitability of using the electrical energy from the Space Station's Electrical Power System (EPS) during the periods of peak solar insolation which is currently not specifically allocated (unscheduled power) to produce propulsion propellants, gaseous hydrogen, and oxygen by electrolyzing water is investigated. Reboost propellant requirements are emphasized, but the results are more generally relevant because the balance of recurring propellant requirements are an order of magnitude smaller and the nonrecurring requirements are not significant on an average basis.

  3. Drag Reduction Through Distributed Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoll, Alex M.; Bevirt, JoeBen; Moore, Mark D.; Fredericks, William J.; Borer, Nicholas K.

    2014-01-01

    One promising application of recent advances in electric aircraft propulsion technologies is a blown wing realized through the placement of a number of electric motors driving individual tractor propellers spaced along each wing. This configuration increases the maximum lift coefficient by providing substantially increased dynamic pressure across the wing at low speeds. This allows for a wing sized near the ideal area for maximum range at cruise conditions, imparting the cruise drag and ride quality benefits of this smaller wing size without decreasing takeoff and landing performance. A reference four-seat general aviation aircraft was chosen as an exemplary application case. Idealized momentum theory relations were derived to investigate tradeoffs in various design variables. Navier-Stokes aeropropulsive simulations were performed with various wing and propeller configurations at takeoff and landing conditions to provide insight into the effect of different wing and propeller designs on the realizable effective maximum lift coefficient. Similar analyses were performed at the cruise condition to ensure that drag targets are attainable. Results indicate that this configuration shows great promise to drastically improve the efficiency of small aircraft.

  4. An Overview of Electric Propulsion Activities at NASA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dunning, John W., Jr.; Hamley, John A.; Jankovsky, Robert S.; Oleson, Steven R.

    2004-01-01

    This paper provides an overview of NASA s activities in the area of electric propulsion with an emphasis on project directions, recent progress, and a view of future project directions. The goals of the electric propulsion programs are to develop key technologies to enable new and ambitious science missions and to transfer these technologies to industry. Activities include the development of gridded ion thruster technology, Hall thruster technology, pulsed plasma thruster technology, and very high power electric propulsion technology, as well as systems technology that supports practical implementation of these advanced concepts. The performance of clusters of ion and Hall thrusters is being revisited. Mission analyses, based on science requirements and preliminary mission specifications, guide the technology projects and introduce mission planners to new capabilities. Significant in-house activity, with strong industrial/academia participation via contracts and grants, is maintained to address these development efforts. NASA has initiated a program covering nuclear powered spacecraft that includes both reactor and radioisotope power sources. This has provided an impetus to investigate higher power and higher specific impulse thruster systems. NASA continues to work closely with both supplier and user communities to maximize the understanding and acceptance of new technology in a timely and cost-effective manner. NASA s electric propulsion efforts are closely coordinated with Department of Defense and other national programs to assure the most effective use of available resources. Several NASA Centers are actively involved in these electric propulsion activities, including, the Glenn Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center.

  5. Electric Propulsion for Low Earth Orbit Constellations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; Sankovic, John M.

    1998-01-01

    Hall effect electric propulsion was evaluated for orbit insertion, satellite repositioning, orbit maintenance and de-orbit applications for a sample low earth orbit satellite constellation. Since the low masses of these satellites enable multiple spacecraft per launch, the ability to add spacecraft to a given launch was used as a figure of merit. When compared to chemical propulsion, the Hall thruster system can add additional spacecraft per launch using planned payload power levels. One satellite can be added to the assumed four satellite baseline chemical launch without additional mission times. Two or three satellites may be added by providing part of the orbit insertion with the Hall system. In these cases orbit insertion times were found to be 35 and 62 days. Depending, on the electric propulsion scenario, the resulting launch vehicle savings is nearly two, three or four Delta 7920 launch vehicles out of the chemical baseline scenario's eight Delta 7920 launch vehicles.

  6. Multimegawatt electric propulsion for Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1991-01-01

    This paper summarizes an evaluation of multimegawatt (MMW) nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and solar electric propulsion (SEP) for a piloted Mars exploration scenario. The figures of merit used in this study were total initial mass in low earth orbit (IMLEO) and the trip time. The MMW NEP and SEP systems to an aerobraked chemical (O2/H2) propulsion system are compared. A good performance compromise between a low IMLEO and short trip time can be obtained using MMW NEP systems; they can be both lighter and faster than the baseline chemical system. However, a MMW SEP system does not appear capable of providing as short a trip time as MMW NEP, in part due to the higher specific mass and non-constant power output of a SEP system.

  7. Influence of Power System Technology on Electric Propulsion Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.

    1995-01-01

    Electric propulsion (EP) thruster technology, with efficient lightweight power systems can provide substantial reductions in propulsion system wet mass due to the high specific impulse (Isp) of the thrusters. Historically, the space power systems are too massive for many potential orbital missions. The objective of this paper is to show the impact of current power system technology on EP mission performance and determine what technology advancements are needed to make EP beneficial for earth orbital applications. The approach of the paper is to model the electric propulsion system and orbital mission using a partial parametric method. Various missions are analyzed from orbit maintenance to orbit transfer. Results portray the relationship between mission performance and power technology level. Conclusions show which mission applications currently have acceptable power technology, and which mission applications require power technology improvements.

  8. Space Experiments to Advance Beamed Energy Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johansen, Donald G.

    2010-05-01

    High power microwave sources are now available and usable, with modification, or beamed energy propulsion experiments in space. As output windows and vacuum seals are not needed space is a natural environment for high power vacuum tubes. Application to space therefore improves reliability and performance but complicates testing and qualification. Low power communications satellite devices (TWT, etc) have already been through the adapt-to-space design cycle and this history is a useful pathway for high power devices such as gyrotrons. In this paper, space experiments are described for low earth orbit (LEO) and lunar environment. These experiments are precursors to space application for beamed energy propulsion using high power microwaves. Power generation and storage using cryogenic systems are important elements of BEP systems and also have an important role as part of BEP experiments in the space environment.

  9. New propulsion components for electric vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Secunde, R. R.

    1982-01-01

    Improved component technology is described. This includes electronically commutated permanent magnet motors of both drum and disk configurations, an unconventional brush commutated motor, ac induction motors, various controllers, transmissions and complete systems. One or more of these approaches to electric vehicle propulsion may eventually displace presently used controllers and brush commutated dc motors.

  10. Solar-electric propulsion breadboard thrust subsystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Masek, T. D.

    1972-01-01

    A solar-electric propulsion breadboard thrust subsystem has been designed, built, and tested. A 1500-h test was performed to demonstrate the functional capabilities of the subsystem. Described are the subsystem functions and testing process. The results show that the ground work has been established for development of an engineering model of the thrust subsystem.

  11. New propulsion components for electric vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Secunde, R. R.

    1983-01-01

    Improved component technology is described. This includes electronically commutated permanent magnet motors of both drum and disk configurations, an unconventional brush commutated motor, ac induction motors, various controllers, transmissions and complete systems. One or more of these approaches to electric vehicle propulsion may eventually displace presently used controllers and brush commutated dc motors. Previously announced in STAR as N83-25982

  12. Direct drive options for electric propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hamley, John A.

    1995-01-01

    Power processing units (PPU's) in an electric propulsion system provide many challenging integration issues. The PPU must provide power to the electric thruster while maintaining compatibility with all of the spacecraft power and data systems. Inefficiencies in the power processor produce heat, which must be radiated to the environment in order to ensure reliable operation. Although PPU efficiencies are generally greater than 0.9, heat loads are often substantial. This heat must be rejected by thermal control systems which generally have specific masses of 15-30 kg/kW. PPU's also represent a large fraction of the electric propulsion system dry mass. Simplification or elimination of power processing in a propulsion system would reduce the electric propulsion system specific mass and improve the overall reliability and performance. A direct drive system would eliminate all or some of the power supplies required to operate a thruster by directly connecting the various thruster loads to the solar array. The development of concentrator solar arrays has enabled power bus voltages in excess of 300 V which is high enough for direct drive applications for Hall thrusters such as the Stationary Plasma Thruster (SPT). The option of solar array direct drive for SPT's is explored to provide a comparison between conventional and direct drive system mass.

  13. Advanced electrostatic ion thruster for space propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Masek, T. D.; Macpherson, D.; Gelon, W.; Kami, S.; Poeschel, R. L.; Ward, J. W.

    1978-01-01

    The suitability of the baseline 30 cm thruster for future space missions was examined. Preliminary design concepts for several advanced thrusters were developed to assess the potential practical difficulties of a new design. Useful methodologies were produced for assessing both planetary and earth orbit missions. Payload performance as a function of propulsion system technology level and cost sensitivity to propulsion system technology level are among the topics assessed. A 50 cm diameter thruster designed to operate with a beam voltage of about 2400 V is suggested to satisfy most of the requirements of future space missions.

  14. Combining Electric and Sail Propulsion for Interplanetary Sample Return

    SciTech Connect

    Noble, Robert

    2003-02-04

    Fast sample return from the outer Solar System would open an entirely new avenue for space science, but the vast distances make this a daunting task. The achievable transit velocity and the need for extra propellant on the return trip limit the feasibility of returning extraterrestrial samples to Earth. To keep the mission duration short enough to be of interest, sample return from objects farther out in the Solar System requires increasingly higher velocities. High specific impulse, electric propulsion reduces the propellant required for the outbound and return trips, but decelerating the spacecraft at the inner Solar System from high velocity still involves a long, inward spiral trajectory. The use of solar sails to rapidly decelerate incoming sample capsules and eliminate propellant is explored in this paper. The sail is essentially a ''solar parachute'' used for braking at the end of the interplanetary return flight, permitting a higher transit speed and truncating the deceleration spiral. In this application the sail is relatively small and manageable since only the sample capsule and its sail are decelerated. A comparison is made between using all-electric propulsion versus combining electric propulsive acceleration with sail deceleration for sample return from the distances of Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto. Solar-sail braking dramatically reduces the return flight time by one-third or more compared to using electric rocket deceleration. To elucidate the technology requirements, wide ranges for both the loaded sail density and electric propulsion specific mass are considered in this initial parametric study.

  15. Electromagnetic emission experiences using electric propulsion systems: A survey

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Zana, Lynnette M.; Knowles, Steven C.

    1987-01-01

    As electric propulsion systems become ready to integrate with spacecraft systems, the impact of propulsion system radiated emissions are of significant interest. Radiated emissions from electromagnetic, electrostatic, and electrothermal systems have been characterized and results synopsized from the literature describing 21 space flight programs. Electromagnetic radiated emission results from ground tests and flight experiences are presented with particular attention paid to the performance of spacecraft subsystems and payloads during thruster operations. The impacts to transmission of radio frequency signals through plasma plumes are also reviewed.

  16. Electromagnetic emission experiences using electric propulsion systems - A survey

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sovey, James S.; Zana, Lynnette M.; Knowles, Steven C.

    1987-01-01

    As electric propulsion systems become ready to integrate with spacecraft systems, the impact of propulsion system radiated emissions are of significant interest. Radiated emissions from electromagnetic, electrostatic, and electrothermal systems have been characterized and results synopsized from the literature describing 21 space flight programs. Electromagnetic radiated emission results from ground tests and flight experiences are presented with particular attention paid to the performance of spacecraft subsystems and payloads during thruster operations. The impacts to transmission of radio frequency signals through plasma plumes are also reviewed.

  17. Nuclear electric propulsion mission performance for fast piloted Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hack, K. J.; George, J. A.; Dudzinski, L. A.

    1991-01-01

    A mission study aimed at minimizing the time humans would spend in the space environment is presented. The use of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), when combined with a suitable mission profile, can reduce the trip time to durations competitive with other propulsion systems. Specifically, a split mission profile utilizing an earth crew capture vehicle accounts for a significant portion of the trip time reduction compared to previous studies. NEP is shown to be capable of performing fast piloted missions to Mars at low power levels using near-term technology and is considered to be a viable candidate for these missions.

  18. Progress report on nuclear propulsion for space exploration and science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bennett, Gary L.; Miller, Thomas J.

    1993-01-01

    NASA is continuing its work in cooperation with the Department of Energy (DOE) on nuclear propulsion - both nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP). The focus of the NTP studies remains on piloted and cargo missions to Mars (with precursor missions to the moon) although studies are under way to examine the potential uses of NTP for science missions. The focus of the NEP studies has shifted to space science missions with consideration of combining a science mission with an earlier demonstration of NEP using the SP-100 space nuclear reactor power system. Both NTP and NEP efforts are continuing in 1993 to provide a good foundation for science and exploration planners. Both NTP and NEP provide a very important transportation resource and in a number of cases enable missions that could not otherwise be accomplished.

  19. Fusion for Space Propulsion and Plasma Liner Driven MTF

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y.C. Francis; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    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 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 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 energy to heat a low atomic weight propellant cannot overcome the problem. 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. 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. There are similarities as well as differences at the system level between applying fusion to propulsion and to terrestrial electrical power generation. The differences potentially provide a wider window of opportunities for applying fusion to propulsion. For example, pulsed approaches to fusion may be attractive for the propulsion application. This is particularly so

  20. Nuclear electric propulsion development and qualification facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dutt, D. S.; Thomassen, K.; Sovey, J.; Fontana, Mario

    1991-01-01

    This paper summarizes the findings of a Tri-Agency panel consisting of members from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) that were charged with reviewing the status and availability of facilities to test components and subsystems for megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. The facilities required to support development of NEP are available in NASA centers, DOE laboratories, and industry. However, several key facilities require significant and near-term modification in order to perform the testing required to meet a 2014 launch date. For the higher powered Mars cargo and piloted missions, the priority established for facility preparation is: (1) a thruster developmental testing facility, (2) a thruster lifetime testing facility, (3) a dynamic energy conversion development and demonstration facility, and (4) an advanced reactor testing facility (if required to demonstrate an advanced multiwatt power system). Facilities to support development of the power conditioning and heat rejection subsystems are available in industry, federal laboratories, and universities. In addition to the development facilities, a new preflight qualifications and acceptance testing facility will be required to support the deployment of NEP systems for precursor, cargo, or piloted Mars missions. Because the deployment strategy for NEP involves early demonstration missions, the demonstration of the SP-100 power system is needed by the early 2000's.

  1. Nuclear electric propulsion development and qualification facilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutt, D. S.; Thomassen, K.; Sovey, J.; Fontana, Mario

    1991-11-01

    This paper summarizes the findings of a Tri-Agency panel consisting of members from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) that were charged with reviewing the status and availability of facilities to test components and subsystems for megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. The facilities required to support development of NEP are available in NASA centers, DOE laboratories, and industry. However, several key facilities require significant and near-term modification in order to perform the testing required to meet a 2014 launch date. For the higher powered Mars cargo and piloted missions, the priority established for facility preparation is: (1) a thruster developmental testing facility, (2) a thruster lifetime testing facility, (3) a dynamic energy conversion development and demonstration facility, and (4) an advanced reactor testing facility (if required to demonstrate an advanced multiwatt power system). Facilities to support development of the power conditioning and heat rejection subsystems are available in industry, federal laboratories, and universities. In addition to the development facilities, a new preflight qualifications and acceptance testing facility will be required to support the deployment of NEP systems for precursor, cargo, or piloted Mars missions. Because the deployment strategy for NEP involves early demonstration missions, the demonstration of the SP-100 power system is needed by the early 2000's.

  2. Nuclear electric propulsion development and qualification facilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutt, Dale; Thomassen, Keith; Sovey, Jim; Fontana, Mario

    1992-01-01

    This paper summarizes the findings of a Tri-Agency panel; consisting of members from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); charged with reviewing the status and availability of facilities to test components and subsystems for megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. The facilities required to support development of NEP are available in NASA centers, DOE laboratories, and industry. However, several key facilities require significant and near-term modification in order to perform the testing required to meet a 2014 launch date. For the higher powered Mars cargo and piloted missions, the priority established for facility preparation is: (1 thruster developmental testing facility, (2 thruster lifetime testing facility, (3 dynamic energy conversion development and demonstration facility, and (4 advanced reactor testing facility (if required to demonstrate an advanced multiwatt power system). Facilities to support development of the power conditioning and heat rejection subsystems are available in industry, federal laboratories, and universities. In addition to the development facilities, a new preflight qualification and acceptance testing facility will be required to support the deployment of NEP systems for precursor, cargo, or piloted Mars missions. Because the deployment strategy for NEP involves early demonstration missions, the demonstration of the SP-100 power system is needed by the early 2000s.

  3. MSFC's Advanced Space Propulsion Formulation Task

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huebner, Lawrence D.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Robinson, Joel W.; Taylor, Terry L.

    2012-01-01

    In NASA s Fiscal Year 2012, a small project was undertaken to provide additional substance, depth, and activity knowledge to the technology areas identified in the In-Space Propulsion Systems Roadmap, Technology Area 02 (TA-02), as created under the auspices of the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT). This roadmap was divided into four basic groups: (1) Chemical Propulsion, (2) Non-chemical Propulsion, (3) Advanced (TRL<3) Propulsion Technologies, and (4) Supporting Technologies. The first two were grouped according to the governing physics. The third group captured technologies and physic concepts that are at a lower TRL level. The fourth group identified pertinent technical areas that are strongly coupled with these related areas which could allow significant improvements in performance. There were a total of 45 technologies identified in TA-02, and 25 of these were studied in this formulation task. The goal of this task was to provide OCT with a knowledge-base for decisionmaking on advanced space propulsion technologies and not waste money by unintentionally repeating past projects or funding the technologies with minor impacts. This formulation task developed the next level of detail for technologies described and provides context to OCT where investments should be made. The presentation will begin with the list of technologies from TA-02, how they were prioritized for this study, and details on what additional data was captured for the technologies studied. Following this, some samples of the documentation will be provided, followed by plans on how the data will be made accessible.

  4. Recent Electric Propulsion Development Activities for NASA Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pencil, Eric J.

    2009-01-01

    (The primary source of electric propulsion development throughout NASA is managed by the In-Space Propulsion Technology Project at the NASA Glenn Research Center for the Science Mission Directorate. The objective of the Electric Propulsion project area is to develop near-term electric propulsion technology to enhance or enable science missions while minimizing risk and cost to the end user. Major hardware tasks include developing NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), developing a long-life High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HIVHAC), developing an advanced feed system, and developing cross-platform components. The objective of the NEXT task is to advance next generation ion propulsion technology readiness. The baseline NEXT system consists of a high-performance, 7-kW ion thruster; a high-efficiency, 7-kW power processor unit (PPU); a highly flexible advanced xenon propellant management system (PMS); a lightweight engine gimbal; and key elements of a digital control interface unit (DCIU) including software algorithms. This design approach was selected to provide future NASA science missions with the greatest value in mission performance benefit at a low total development cost. The objective of the HIVHAC task is to advance the Hall thruster technology readiness for science mission applications. The task seeks to increase specific impulse, throttle-ability and lifetime to make Hall propulsion systems applicable to deep space science missions. The primary application focus for the resulting Hall propulsion system would be cost-capped missions, such as competitively selected, Discovery-class missions. The objective of the advanced xenon feed system task is to demonstrate novel manufacturing techniques that will significantly reduce mass, volume, and footprint size of xenon feed systems over conventional feed systems. This task has focused on the development of a flow control module, which consists of a three-channel flow system based on a piezo-electrically actuated

  5. Concept designs for NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcguire, Melissa L.; Hack, Kurt J.; Manzella, David H.; Herman, Daniel A.

    2014-01-01

    Multiple Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission were developed to assess vehicle performance and estimated mission cost. Concepts ranged from a 10,000 kilogram spacecraft capable of delivering 4000 kilogram of payload to one of the Earth Moon Lagrange points in support of future human-crewed outposts to a 180 kilogram spacecraft capable of performing an asteroid rendezvous mission after launched to a geostationary transfer orbit as a secondary payload. Low-cost and maximum Delta-V capability variants of a spacecraft concept based on utilizing a secondary payload adapter as the primary bus structure were developed as were concepts designed to be co-manifested with another spacecraft on a single launch vehicle. Each of the Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Mission concepts developed included an estimated spacecraft cost. These data suggest estimated spacecraft costs of $200 million - $300 million if 30 kilowatt-class solar arrays and the corresponding electric propulsion system currently under development are used as the basis for sizing the mission concept regardless of launch vehicle costs. The most affordable mission concept developed based on subscale variants of the advanced solar arrays and electric propulsion technology currently under development by the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate has an estimated cost of $50M and could provide a Delta-V capability comparable to much larger spacecraft concepts.

  6. The MAUS nuclear space reactor with ion propulsion system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mainardi, Enrico

    2006-06-01

    MAUS (Moltiplicatore Avanzato Ultracompatto Spaziale) is a nuclear reactor concept design capable to ensure a reliable, long-lasting, low-mass, compact energy supply needed for advanced, future space missions. The exploration of the solar system and the space beyond requires the development of nuclear energy generators for supplying electricity to space-bases, spacecrafts, probes or satellites, as well as for propelling ships in long space missions. For propulsion, the MAUS nuclear reactor could be used to power electric ion drive engines. An ion engine is able to build up to very high velocities, far greater than chemical propulsion systems, but has high power and long service requirements. The MAUS concept is described, together with the ion propulsion engine and together with the reference thermoionic process used to convert the thermal power into electricity. The design work has been performed at the Nuclear Engineering and Energy Conversion Department of the University of Rome "La Sapienza" starting from 1992 on an issue submitted by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), in cooperation with the research laboratories of ENEA.

  7. Radio Frequency Plasma Applications for Space Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Baity, F.W., Jr.; Barber, G.C.; Carter, M.D.; Chang-Diaz, F.R.; Goulding, R.H.; Ilin, A.V.; Jaeger, E.F.; Sparks, D.O.; Squire, J.P.

    1999-09-13

    Recent developments in solid-state radio frequency (RF) power technologies allow for the practical consideration of RF heated plasmas for space propulsion. These technologies permit the use of any electrical power source, de-couple the power and propellant sources, and allow for the effcient use of both the propellant mass and power. Effcient use of the propellant is obtained by expelling the rocket exhaust at the highest possible velocity, which can be orders of magnitude higher than those achieved in chemical rockets. Handling the hot plasma exhaust requires the use of magnetic nozzles, and the basic physics of ion detachment from the magnetic eld is discussed. The plasma can be generated by RF using helicon waves to heat electrons. Further direct heating of the ions helps to reduce the line radiation losses, and the magnetic geometry is tailored to allow ion cyclotron resonance heating. RF eld and ion trajectory calculations are presented to give a reasonably self-consistent picture of the ion acceleration process.

  8. Combining Solar Electric Propulsion and Chemical Propulsion for Crewed Missions to Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Percy, Tom; McGuire, Melissa; Polsgrove, Tara

    2015-01-01

    This paper documents the results of an investigation of human Mars mission architectures that leverage near-term technology investments and infrastructures resulting from the planned Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM), including high-power Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) and a human presence in Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (LDRO). The architectures investigated use a combination of SEP and chemical propulsion elements. Through this combination of propulsion technologies, these architectures take advantage of the high efficiency SEP propulsion system to deliver cargo, while maintaining the faster trip times afforded by chemical propulsion for crew transport. Evolved configurations of the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV) are considered for cargo delivery. Sensitivities to SEP system design parameters, including power level and propellant quantity, are presented. For the crew delivery, liquid oxygen and methane stages were designed using engines common to future human Mars landers. Impacts of various Earth departure orbits, Mars loiter orbits, and Earth return strategies are presented. The use of the Space Launch System for delivery of the various architecture elements was also investigated and launch vehicle manifesting, launch scheduling and mission timelines are also discussed. The study results show that viable Mars architecture can be constructed using LDRO and SEP in order to take advantage of investments made in the ARRM mission.

  9. Evaluation of radioisotope electric propulsion for selected interplanetary science missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oh, David; Bonfiglio, Eugene; Cupples, Mike; Belcher, Jeremy; Witzberger, Kevin; Fiehler, Douglas; Robinson Artis, Gwen

    2005-01-01

    This study assessed the benefits and applicability of REP to missions relevant to the In-Space Propulsion Program (ISPP) using first and second generation RPS with specific powers of 4 We/kg and 8 We/kg, respectively. Three missions representing small body targets, medium outer planet class, and main belt asteroids and comets were evaluated. Those missions were a Trojan Asteroid Orbiter, Comet Surface Sample Return (CSSR), and Jupiter Polar Orbiter with Probes (JPOP). For each mission, REP cost and performance was compared with solar electric propulsion system (SEPS) and SOA chemical propulsion system (SCPS) cost and performance. The outcome of the analysis would be a determinant for potential inclusion in the ISPP investment portfolio.

  10. Nuclear Electric Propulsion for the Exploration of the Outer Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noca, M.; Polk, J. E.; Lenard, R.

    2001-01-01

    New power and propulsion technology efforts such as the DS-1 ion propulsion system demonstration and renewed interest in space nuclear power sources call for a reassessment of the mission benefits of Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). In this study, a large emphasis has been placed in defining the NEP vehicle configuration and corresponding subsystem elements in order to produce an estimate of the vehicle's payload delivery capability which is as credible as possible. Both a 100 kWe and a 1 MWe system are defined. Various Outer Planet missions are evaluated using NEP, such as a Pluto Orbiter, a Europa Lander and Sample Return, attain/Saturn Sample Return and a Neptune Orbiter. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  11. Heatpipe space power and propulsion systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Poston, David I.; Ranken, William A.

    1996-03-01

    Safe, reliable, low-mass space power and propulsion systems could have numerous civilian and military applications. This paper discusses two fission-powered concepts: the Heatpipe Power System (HPS), which provides power only; and the Heatpipe Bimodal System (HBS), which provides both power and thermal propulsion. Both concepts have 10 important features. First, only existing technology and recently tested fuel forms are used. Second, fuel can be removed whenever desired, which greatly facilitates system fabrication and handling. Third, full electrically heated system testing of all modes is possible, with minimal operations required to replace the heaters with fuel and to ready the system for launch. Fourth, the systems are passively subcritical during launch accidents. Fifth, a modular approach is used, and most technical issues can be resolved with inexpensive module tests. Sixth, bonds between dissimilar metals are minimized. Seventh, there are no single-point failures during power mode operation. Eighth, the fuel burnup rate is quite low to help ensure ≳10-yr system life. Ninth, there are no pumped coolant loops, and the systems can be shut down and restarted without coolant freeze/thaw concerns. Finally, full ground nuclear test is not needed, and development costs will be low. One design for a low-power HPS uses SNAP-10A-style thermoelectric power converters to produce 5 kWe at a system mass of ˜500 kg. The unicouple thermoelectric converters have a hot-shoe temperature of 1275 K and reject waste heat at 775 K. This type of thermoelectric converter has been used extensively by the space program and has demonstrated an operational lifetime of decades. A core with a larger number of smaller modules (same overall size) can be used to provide up to 500 kWt to a power conversion subsystem, and a slightly larger core using a higher heatpipe to fuel ratio can provide ≳1 MWt. The baseline HBS produces ≳50 N of thrust at a specific impulse ≳750 s, can

  12. Thermionic reactor electric propulsion system requirements.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mondt, J. F.; Sawyer, C. D.; Schaupp, R. W.

    1972-01-01

    Results of mission analysis, system analysis and mission engineering studies to find a single nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) system which would be applicable for a broad range of unmanned outer planet missions. The NEP system studied uses an in-core nuclear thermionic reactor as the electric power source and mercury bombardment ion engines for propulsion. Many requirements, which are imposed on the NEP system by the mission, were determined from the studies in the process of trying to find a single NEP system for many missions. It is concluded that a single thermionic reactor NEP system could be useful for a broad range of unmanned outer planet missions. The thermionic reactor NEP system should have a power level in the range from 70 to 120 kWe, a system specific weight of approximately 30 kg/kWe, and a full power output capability of 20,000 hr.

  13. Solar Electric Propulsion for Future NASA Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.; Oleson, Steven R.; Mercer, Carolyn R.

    2015-01-01

    Use of high-power solar arrays, at power levels ranging from approximately 500 KW to several megawatts, has been proposed for a solar-electric propulsion (SEP) demonstration mission, using a photovoltaic array to provide energy to a high-power xenon-fueled engine. One of the proposed applications of the high-power SEP technology is a mission to rendezvous with an asteroid and move it into lunar orbit for human exploration, the Asteroid Retrieval mission. The Solar Electric Propulsion project is dedicated to developing critical technologies to enable trips to further away destinations such as Mars or asteroids. NASA needs to reduce the cost of these ambitious exploration missions. High power and high efficiency SEP systems will require much less propellant to meet those requirements.

  14. Superconducting technology for electric propulsion. Master's thesis

    SciTech Connect

    Keamy, E.F.

    1988-06-01

    This thesis analyzes the superconducting technology for a shipboard electric propulsion system. Superconductor operational operational limits, and magnet-design requirements were established. The magnetic-field requirements for a large-scale superconducting propulsion plant were analyzed from experimental information on copper and aluminum-stabilized NbTi superconductors. Experimental results were followed with a feasibility study in the conversion of a DD963 Spruance Class Destroyer from mechanical to superconducting electric drive. The results of the conversion are an increase in survivability, speed, usable deck area (4,954 ftS, maintainability, propeller efficiency and endurance range (+71%) along with a decrease in displacement (-2.83%) and self-radiated noise without compromising existing mission capabilities. The estimated cost of the conversion is $118.8 million dollars.

  15. Space station onboard propulsion system: Technology study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcallister, J. G.; Rudland, R. S.; Redd, L. R.; Beekman, D. H.; Cuffin, S. M.; Beer, C. M.; Mccarthy, K. K.

    1987-01-01

    The objective was to prepare for the design of the space station propulsion system. Propulsion system concepts were defined and schematics were developed for the most viable concepts. A dual model bipropellant system was found to deliver the largest amount of payload. However, when resupply is considered, an electrolysis system with 10 percent accumulators requires less resupply propellant, though it is penalized by the amount of time required to fill the accumulators and the power requirements for the electrolyzer. A computer simulation was prepared, which was originally intended to simulate the water electrolysis propulsion system but which was expanded to model other types of systems such as cold gas, monopropellant and bipropellant storable systems.

  16. Space Propulsion Synergy Group ETO technology assessments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bray, James

    The Space Propulsion Synergy Group (SPSG), which was chartered to support long-range strategic planning, has, using a broad industry/government team, evaluated and achieved consensus on the vehicles, propulsion systems, and propulsion technologies that have the best long-term potential for achieving desired system attributes. The breakthrough that enabled broad consensus was developing criteria that are measurable a priori. The SPSG invented a dual prioritization approach that balances long-term strategic thrusts with current programmatic constraints. This enables individual program managers to make decisions based on both individual project needs and long-term strategic needs. Results indicate that an SSTO using an integrated modular engine has the best long-term potential for a 20 Klb class vehicle, and that health monitoring and control technologies are among the highest dual priority liquid rocket technologies.

  17. Ion Engine and Tank 6 at Electric Propulsion Lab

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1964-01-01

    Ion engine and Tank 6 at the Electric Propulsion Laboratory - EPL. This facility is located at the Lewis Research Center, now the John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The Ion engine is the power system that carried Deep Space 1 on its innerplanetary mission in the late 1990s, but the idea was decades old by that time and much research had already been conducted at Lewis.

  18. Power Processing for a Conceptual Project Prometheus Electric Propulsion System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scina, Joseph E., Jr.; Aulisio, Michael; Gerber, Scott S.; Hewitt, Frank; Miller, Leonard; Elbuluk, Malik; Pinero, Luis R. (Technical Monitor)

    2005-01-01

    NASA has proposed a bold mission to orbit and explore the moons of Jupiter. This mission, known as the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO), would significantly increase NASA s capability to explore deep space by making use of high power electric propulsion. One electric propulsion option under study for JIMO is an ion propulsion system. An early version of an ion propulsion system was successfully used on NASA's Deep Space 1 mission. One concept for an ion thruster system capable of meeting the current JIMO mission requirement would have individual thrusters that are 16 to 25 kW each and require voltages as high as 8.0 kV. The purpose of this work is to develop power processing schemes for delivering the high voltage power to the spacecraft ion thrusters based upon a three-phase AC distribution system. In addition, a proposed DC-DC converter topology is presented for an ion thruster ancillary supply based upon a DC distribution system. All specifications discussed in this paper are for design convenience and are speculative in nature.

  19. Electric propulsion: Synergy of orbit transfer and maintenance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zafran, S.

    1982-01-01

    Electric propulsion systems for transferring large payload masses to geosynchronous Earth orbits and providing accurate on-orbit stationkeeping are evaluated. Orbit boosting, inclination change, attitude control, stationkeeping, relocation, disposal, and power sharing on orbits using electric propulsion are compared with the use of chemical propulsion.

  20. Electric propulsion works in Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakamura, Yoshihiro; Kuriki, Kyoichi

    The R & D works on MPD thruster system and ion engine system in Japan are reviewed. A 1 kW class MPD thruster system, for which the flight test will be made onboard a small space platform in early 1990's, has experienced preliminary endurance tests of 1 million shots twice. From these tests, thermal control system, automated operation system and electrode mass loss assessment were established. A 20 mN class xenon ion engine system was determined to be developed and be tested onboard the ETS-VI to be launched by a H-II rocket in 1992. 500 hour operation tests of the thruster were conducted and showed the reduction of erosion rates of accelerator grid, etc. whose surfaces were coated with low sputter materials. A system interface tests were also made to see the compatibilities between subsystems. Performance improvement studies of xenon ion thruster and its test facility are going on.

  1. Space Shuttle Propulsion System Reliability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welzyn, Ken; VanHooser, Katherine; Moore, Dennis; Wood, David

    2011-01-01

    This session includes the following sessions: (1) External Tank (ET) System Reliability and Lessons, (2) Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), Reliability Validated by a Million Seconds of Testing, (3) Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM) Reliability via Process Control, and (4) Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) Reliability via Acceptance and Testing.

  2. Plasma Propulsion Research at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sheehy, Jeffrey A.

    2004-01-01

    The Propulsion Research Center at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is pursuing a range of research efforts aimed at identifying and developing new technologies for primary spacecraft propulsion. Efficient high-power electric propulsion (Ep) thrusters are a particular area of emphasis; these would enable the relatively rapid transit of large payloads about the solar system for unmanned or manned science and exploration. Such a mission would make heavy demands on the propulsion system, which may be required to run reliably for several years at a specific impulse approaching 10,OOO s with an efficiency of turning electrical power into jet power of at least 70%. The transit time to a destination scales approximately inversely with the cube root of the specific power, which is the ratio of jet power to power-plant mass. Consequently, reducing a trip time by half requires roughly an eight-fold increase in specific power. Given a renewed NASA commitment to space nuclear power, developing efficient EP thrusters with high jet power (> 100 kW) would seem to provide the most direct means of significantly increasing the specific power and hence reducing trip times. In particular, electromagnetic devices, with their high inherent thrust densities, should be better suited to high power applications than thrusters which depend exclusively on electrostatic forces for propellant acceleration.

  3. Performance Criteria of Nuclear Space Propulsion Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shepherd, L. R.

    Future exploration of the solar system on a major scale will require propulsion systems capable of performance far greater than is achievable with the present generation of rocket engines using chemical propellants. Viable missions going deeper into interstellar space will be even more demanding. Propulsion systems based on nuclear energy sources, fission or (eventually) fusion offer the best prospect for meeting the requirements. The most obvious gain coming from the application of nuclear reactions is the possibility, at least in principle, of obtaining specific impulses a thousandfold greater than can be achieved in chemically energised rockets. However, practical considerations preclude the possibility of exploiting the full potential of nuclear energy sources in any engines conceivable in terms of presently known technology. Achievable propulsive power is a particularly limiting factor, since this determines the acceleration that may be obtained. Conventional chemical rocket engines have specific propulsive powers (power per unit engine mass) in the order of gigawatts per tonne. One cannot envisage the possibility of approaching such a level of performance by orders of magnitude in presently conceivable nuclear propulsive systems. The time taken, under power, to reach a given terminal velocity is proportional to the square of the engine's exhaust velocity and the inverse of its specific power. An assessment of various nuclear propulsion concepts suggests that, even with the most optimistic assumptions, it could take many hundreds of years to attain the velocities necessary to reach the nearest stars. Exploration within a range of the order of a thousand AU, however, would appear to offer viable prospects, even with the low levels of specific power of presently conceivable nuclear engines.

  4. Characterization of advanced electric propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ray, P. K.

    1982-01-01

    Characteristics of several advanced electric propulsion systems are evaluated and compared. The propulsion systems studied are mass driver, rail gun, MPD thruster, hydrogen free radical thruster and mercury electron bombardment ion engine. These are characterized by specific impulse, overall efficiency, input power, average thrust, power to average thrust ratio and average thrust to dry weight ratio. Several important physical characteristics such as dry system mass, accelerator length, bore size and current pulse requirement are also evaluated in appropriate cases. Only the ion engine can operate at a specific impulse beyond 2000 sec. Rail gun, MPD thruster and free radical thruster are currently characterized by low efficiencies. Mass drivers have the best performance characteristics in terms of overall efficiency, power to average thrust ratio and average thrust to dry weight ratio. But, they can only operate at low specific impulses due to large power requirements and are extremely long due to limitations of driving current. Mercury ion engines have the next best performance characteristics while operating at higher specific impulses. It is concluded that, overall, ion engines have somewhat better characteristics as compared to the other electric propulsion systems.

  5. Pulsed Electric Propulsion Thrust Stand Calibration Method

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wong, Andrea R.; Polzin, Kurt A.; Pearson, J. Boise

    2011-01-01

    The evaluation of the performance of any propulsion device requires the accurate measurement of thrust. While chemical rocket thrust is typically measured using a load cell, the low thrust levels associated with electric propulsion (EP) systems necessitate the use of much more sensitive measurement techniques. The design and development of electric propulsion thrust stands that employ a conventional hanging pendulum arm connected to a balance mechanism consisting of a secondary arm and variable linkage have been reported in recent publications by Polzin et al. These works focused on performing steady-state thrust measurements and employed a static analysis of the thrust stand response. In the present work, we present a calibration method and data that will permit pulsed thrust measurements using the Variable Amplitude Hanging Pendulum with Extended Range (VAHPER) thrust stand. Pulsed thrust measurements are challenging in general because the pulsed thrust (impulse bit) occurs over a short timescale (typically 1 micros to 1 millisecond) and cannot be resolved directly. Consequently, the imparted impulse bit must be inferred through observation of the change in thrust stand motion effected by the pulse. Pulsed thrust measurements have typically only consisted of single-shot operation. In the present work, we discuss repetition-rate pulsed thruster operation and describe a method to perform these measurements. The thrust stand response can be modeled as a spring-mass-damper system with a repetitive delta forcing function to represent the impulsive action of the thruster.

  6. Development priorities for in-space propulsion technologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-02-01

    During the summer of 2010, NASA's Office of Chief Technologist assembled 15 civil service teams to support the creation of a NASA integrated technology roadmap. The Aero-Space Technology Area Roadmap is an integrated set of technology area roadmaps recommending the overall technology investment strategy and prioritization for NASA's technology programs. The integrated set of roadmaps will provide technology paths needed to meet NASA's strategic goals. The roadmaps have been reviewed by senior NASA management and the National Research Council. With the exception of electric propulsion systems used for commercial communications satellite station-keeping and a handful of deep space science missions, almost all of the rocket engines in use today are chemical rockets; that is, they obtain the energy needed to generate thrust by combining reactive chemicals to create a hot gas that is expanded to produce thrust. A significant limitation of chemical propulsion is that it has a relatively low specific impulse. Numerous concepts for advanced propulsion technologies with significantly higher values of specific impulse have been developed over the past 50 years. Advanced in-space propulsion technologies will enable much more effective exploration of our solar system, near and far, and will permit mission designers to plan missions to "fly anytime, anywhere, and complete a host of science objectives at the destinations" with greater reliability and safety. With a wide range of possible missions and candidate propulsion technologies with very diverse characteristics, the question of which technologies are 'best' for future missions is a difficult one. A portfolio of technologies to allow optimum propulsion solutions for a diverse set of missions and destinations are described in the roadmap and herein.

  7. Electric propulsion for geostationary orbit insertion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; Curran, Francis M.; Myers, Roger M.

    1995-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion (SEP) technology is already being used for geostationary satellite stationkeeping to increase payload mass. By using this same technology to perform part of the orbit transfer additional increases in payload mass can be achieved. Advanced chemical and N2H4 arcjet systems are used to increase the payload mass by performing stationkeeping and part of the orbit transfer. Four mission options are analyzed which show the impact of either sharing the orbit transfer between chemical and SEP systems or having either complete the transfer alone. Results show that for an Atlas 2AS payload increases in net mass (geostationary satellite mass less wet propulsion system mass) of up to 100 kg can be achieved using advanced chemical for the transfer and advanced N2H4 arcjets for stationkeeping. An additional 100 kg can be added using advanced N2H4 arcjets for part of a 40 day orbit transfer.

  8. Electric propulsion device for high power applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roy, Subrata (Inventor)

    2009-01-01

    An electric propulsion device is disclosed having an anode and a cathode. The propulsion device includes a discharge annulus having the anode adjacent an end region thereof. At least one inlet aperture is adjacent the anode, the aperture(s) having propellant gas flow therethrough into the discharge annulus. The propellant gas has an ionization potential. Opposed, dielectric walls define the annulus, with at least one of the opposed dielectric walls having pores therein, the pores having cooling gas flow therethrough into the discharge annulus and substantially adjacent the opposed dielectric wall(s). The cooling gas has an ionization potential higher than the ionization energy of the propellant gas. The cooling gas is adapted to substantially prevent at least one of secondary electron emission and sputtering of the dielectric walls.

  9. Evolutionary use of nuclear electric propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Hack, K.J.; George, J.A.; Riehl, J.P.; Gilland, J.H.

    1990-01-01

    Evolving new propulsion technologies through a rational and conscious effort to minimize development costs and program risks while maximizing the performance benefits is intuitively practical. A phased approach to the evolution of nuclear electric propulsion from use on planetary probes, to lunar cargo vehicles, and finally to manned Mars missions with a concomitant growth in technology is considered. Technology levels and system component makeup are discussed for nuclear power systems and both ion and magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters. Mission scenarios are described, which include analysis of a probe to Pluto, a lunar cargo mission, Martian split, all-up, and quick-trip mission options. Evolutionary progression of the use of NEP in such missions is discussed. 26 refs.

  10. ac propulsion system for an electric vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geppert, S.

    1980-01-01

    It is pointed out that dc drives will be the logical choice for current production electric vehicles (EV). However, by the mid-80's, there is a good chance that the price and reliability of suitable high-power semiconductors will allow for a competitive ac system. The driving force behind the ac approach is the induction motor, which has specific advantages relative to a dc shunt or series traction motor. These advantages would be an important factor in the case of a vehicle for which low maintenance characteristics are of primary importance. A description of an EV ac propulsion system is provided, taking into account the logic controller, the inverter, the motor, and a two-speed transmission-differential-axle assembly. The main barrier to the employment of the considered propulsion system in EV is not any technical problem, but inverter transistor cost.

  11. Evolutionary use of nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hack, K. J.; George, J. A.; Riehl, J. P.; Gilland, J. H.

    1990-01-01

    Evolving new propulsion technologies through a rational and conscious effort to minimize development costs and program risks while maximizing the performance benefits is intuitively practical. A phased approach to the evolution of nuclear electric propulsion from use on planetary probes, to lunar cargo vehicles, and finally to manned Mars missions with a concomitant growth in technology is considered. Technology levels and system component makeup are discussed for nuclear power systems and both ion and magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters. Mission scenarios are described, which include analysis of a probe to Pluto, a lunar cargo mission, Martian split, all-up, and quick-trip mission options. Evolutionary progression of the use of NEP in such missions is discussed.

  12. The State of Space Propulsion Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sackheim, R. L.; Cole, J. W.; Litchford, R. J.

    2006-01-01

    The current state of space propulsion research is assessed from both a historical perspective, spanning the decades since Apollo, and a forward-looking perspective, as defined by the enabling technologies required for a meaningful and sustainable human and robotic exploration program over the forthcoming decades. Previous research and technology investment approaches are examined and a course of action suggested for obtaining a more balanced portfolio of basic and applied research. The central recommendation is the establishment of a robust national Space Propulsion Research Initiative that would run parallel with systems development and include basic research activities. The basic framework and technical approach for this proposed initiative are defined and a potential implementation approach is recommended.

  13. Conceptual designs for antiproton space propulsion systems

    SciTech Connect

    Cassenti, B.N.

    1989-01-01

    Five conceptual designs for antimatter space propulsion systems were compared in terms of their performance characteristics. The systems examined included solid-core liquid-propellant rockets; magnetically confined gaseous-core rockets using liquid or solid propellants; plasma-core rockets; pion rockets, which are driven directly by the mass annihilation products; and ram-augmented rockets, in which antiproton annihilation is used to heat hydrogen collected in interstellar space. It was found that, in general, as the specific impulse of the propulsion system increases, the thrust decreases. The comparison between designs showed that only fusion rockets have the capability to compete in performance with mass annihilation rockets. For very-high-speed interstellar missions, pion rockets, which can have a specific impulse of 20 million sec (although with a thrust-to-engine mass ratios of only 0.01 G) will offer best performance. 36 refs.

  14. Electromagnetic railgun launchers: space-propulsion applications

    SciTech Connect

    Hawke, R.S.; Brooks, A.L.; Fowler, C.M.; Peterson, D.R.

    1981-01-01

    Considerable progress in understanding railgun operation, requirements, and limitations has been made. It appears that railguns may have potential application to space propulsion and direct launch. This paper discusses the state of the art and expected capability of railgun systems. It includes the requirements and an example design of an earth-based system capable of launching projectiles through the atmosphere at velocities greater than 8 km/s. The critical issues and problem areas that require investigation are described.

  15. Multi-mission nuclear electric propulsion stage design.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prickett, W. Z.; Stearns, J. W.

    1973-01-01

    Results of a mission engineering analysis of nuclear-thermionic electric propulsion spacecraft for unmanned interplanetary and geocentric missions. Critical technologies assessed are associated with the development of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), and the impact of its availability on future space programs. Specific areas of investigation include outer planet and comet rendezvous mission analysis, NEP stage design for geocentric and interplanetary missions, and technology requirements for NEP stage development. A multimission NEP stage can be developed to perform both multiple geocentric and interplanetary missions for a 1983 launch. Identified pacing NEP technology requirements are the development of 20,000 full power hour ion thrustors and thermionic reactor and the development of related power conditioning. The resulting NEP stage design provides both inherent reliability and high payload mass capability.

  16. Designing the Space Shuttle Propulsion System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Owen, James; Moore, Dennis; Wood, David; VanHooser, Kathrine; Wlzyn, Ken

    2011-01-01

    The major elements of the Space Shuttle Main Propulsion System include two reusable solid rocket motors integrated into recoverable solid rocket boosters, an expendable external fuel and oxidizer tank, and three reusable Space Shuttle Main Engines. Both the solid rocket motors and space shuttle main engines ignite prior to liftoff, with the solid rocket boosters separating about two minutes into flight. The external tank separates after main engine shutdown and is safely expended in the ocean. The SSME's, integrated into the Space Shuttle Orbiter aft structure, are reused after post landing inspections. Both the solid rocket motors and the space shuttle main engine throttle during early ascent flight to limit aerodynamic loads on the structure. The configuration is called a stage and a half as all the propulsion elements are active during the boost phase, and the SSME's continue operation to achieve orbital velocity approximately eight and a half minutes after liftoff. Design and performance challenges were numerous, beginning with development work in the 1970 s. The solid rocket motors were large, and this technology had never been used for human space flight. The SSME s were both reusable and very high performance staged combustion cycle engines, also unique to the Space Shuttle. The multi body side mount configuration was unique and posed numerous integration and interface challenges across the elements. Operation of the system was complex and time consuming. This paper discusses a number of the system level technical challenges including development and operations.

  17. Space Propulsion Synergy Group ETO technology assessments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bray, James

    There exists within the aerospace community a widely recognized need to improve future space launch systems. While these needs have been expressed by many national committees, potential solutions have not achieved consensus nor have they endured. Facing the challenge to remain competitive with limited national resources, the U.S. must improve its strategic planning efforts. A nationally accepted strategic plan for space would enable a focused research & development program. The Space Propulsion Synergy Group (SPSG), chartered to support long range strategic planning, has achieved several breakthroughs. First, using a broad industry/government team, the SPSG evaluated and achieved consensus on the vehicles, propulsion systems, and propulsion technologies that have the best long term potential for achieving desired system attributes. The breakthrough that enabled broad consensus was developing criteria that are measurable a-priori. Second, realizing that systems having the best long term payoffs can loose support when constraints are tight, the SPSG invented a dual prioritization approach that balances long term strategic thrusts with current programmatic constraints. This breakthrough enables individual program managers to make decisions based on both individual project needs and long term strategic needs. Results indicate that a SSTO using an integrated modular engine has the best long term potential for a 20 Klb class vehicle and that health monitoring and control technologies rank among the highest dual priority liquid rocket technologies.

  18. Products from NASA's In-Space Propulsion Program Applicable to Low-Cost Planetary Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David; Pencil, Eric J.; Glabb, Louis J.; Falck, Robert D.; Dankanich, John

    2013-01-01

    NASAs In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) program has been developing technologies for lowering the cost of planetary science missions. The technology areas include electric propulsion technologies, spacecraft bus technologies, entry vehicle technologies, and design tools for systems analysis and mission trajectories. The electric propulsion technologies include critical components of both gridded and non-gridded ion propulsion systems. The spacecraft bus technologies under development include an ultra-lightweight tank (ULTT) and advanced xenon feed system (AXFS). The entry vehicle technologies include the development of a multi-mission entry vehicle, mission design tools and aerocapture. The design tools under development include system analysis tools and mission trajectory design tools.

  19. High Power Electric Propulsion System for NEP: Propulsion and Trajectory Options

    SciTech Connect

    Koppel, Christophe R.; Duchemin, Olivier; Valentian, Dominique

    2006-01-20

    impulse shall be optimized w.r.t. the mission. The trajectories taken into account in the paper are constrained by the allowable duration of the travel and the launcher size. The multi-arcs trajectories to Mars (using an optimized combination of chemical and Electric propulsion) are presented in detail. The compatibility with NEP systems that implies orbiting a sizeable nuclear reactor and a power generation system capable of converting thermal into electric power, with minimum mass and volumes fitting in with Ariane 5 or the Space Shuttle bay, is assessed.

  20. Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Joins Propulsion Park Display

    NASA Video Gallery

    A crane lifts a space shuttle solid rocket booster into its final position in the “propulsion park” outside Building 4205, the Propulsion Research & Development Laboratory at the Marshall Cente...

  1. Geocentric solar electric propulsion vehicle design.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harney, E. D.; Lapins, U. E.; Molitor, J. H.

    1972-01-01

    Mission applications have been studied that use solar electric propulsion (SEP) to inject payloads into geocentric orbits. Two specific applications feasible with current technology are described that approximate practical bounds for the next decade. In the lower extreme, SEP is used on a Thor-Delta launched satellite to maximize the weight injected into synchronous orbits. In the other extreme, SEP is used in a reusable interorbital tug together with an all-chemical shuttle/tug transportation system. Different trajectory profiles are required to most efficiently accomplish the overall mission objectives in the two cases.

  2. IEC Thrusters for Space Probe Applications and Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miley, George H.; Momota, Hiromu; Wu, Linchun; Reilly, Michael P.; Teofilo, Vince L.; Burton, Rodney; Dell, Richard; Dell, Dick; Hargus, William A.

    2009-03-01

    Earlier conceptual design studies (Bussard, 1990; Miley et al., 1998; Burton et al., 2003) have described Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion propulsion to provide a high-power density fusion propulsion system capable of aggressive deep space missions. However, this requires large multi-GW thrusters and a long term development program. As a first step towards this goal, a progression of near-term IEC thrusters, stating with a 1-10 kWe electrically-driven IEC jet thruster for satellites are considered here. The initial electrically-powered unit uses a novel multi-jet plasma thruster based on spherical IEC technology with electrical input power from a solar panel. In this spherical configuration, Xe ions are generated and accelerated towards the center of double concentric spherical grids. An electrostatic potential well structure is created in the central region, providing ion trapping. Several enlarged grid opening extract intense quasi-neutral plasma jets. A variable specific impulse in the range of 1000-4000 seconds is achieved by adjusting the grid potential. This design provides high maneuverability for satellite and small space probe operations. The multiple jets, combined with gimbaled auxiliary equipment, provide precision changes in thrust direction. The IEC electrical efficiency can match or exceed efficiencies of conventional Hall Current Thrusters (HCTs) while offering advantages such as reduced grid erosion (long life time), reduced propellant leakage losses (reduced fuel storage), and a very high power-to-weight ratio. The unit is ideally suited for probing missions. The primary propulsive jet enables delicate maneuvering close to an object. Then simply opening a second jet offset 180 degrees from the propulsion one provides a "plasma analytic probe" for interrogation of the object.

  3. IEC Thrusters for Space Probe Applications and Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Miley, George H.; Momota, Hiromu; Wu Linchun; Reilly, Michael P.; Teofilo, Vince L.; Burton, Rodney; Dell, Richard; Dell, Dick; Hargus, William A.

    2009-03-16

    Earlier conceptual design studies (Bussard, 1990; Miley et al., 1998; Burton et al., 2003) have described Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion propulsion to provide a high-power density fusion propulsion system capable of aggressive deep space missions. However, this requires large multi-GW thrusters and a long term development program. As a first step towards this goal, a progression of near-term IEC thrusters, stating with a 1-10 kWe electrically-driven IEC jet thruster for satellites are considered here. The initial electrically-powered unit uses a novel multi-jet plasma thruster based on spherical IEC technology with electrical input power from a solar panel. In this spherical configuration, Xe ions are generated and accelerated towards the center of double concentric spherical grids. An electrostatic potential well structure is created in the central region, providing ion trapping. Several enlarged grid opening extract intense quasi-neutral plasma jets. A variable specific impulse in the range of 1000-4000 seconds is achieved by adjusting the grid potential. This design provides high maneuverability for satellite and small space probe operations. The multiple jets, combined with gimbaled auxiliary equipment, provide precision changes in thrust direction. The IEC electrical efficiency can match or exceed efficiencies of conventional Hall Current Thrusters (HCTs) while offering advantages such as reduced grid erosion (long life time), reduced propellant leakage losses (reduced fuel storage), and a very high power-to-weight ratio. The unit is ideally suited for probing missions. The primary propulsive jet enables delicate maneuvering close to an object. Then simply opening a second jet offset 180 degrees from the propulsion one provides a 'plasma analytic probe' for interrogation of the object.

  4. Interplanetary space transport using inertial fusion propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Orth, C.D.

    1998-04-20

    In this paper, we indicate how the great advantages that ICF offers for interplanetary propulsion can be accomplished with the VISTA spacecraft concept. The performance of VISTA is expected to surpass that from other realistic technologies for Mars missions if the energy gain achievable for ICF targets is above several hundred. Based on the good performance expected from the U. S. National Ignition Facility (NIF), the requirements for VISTA should be well within the realm of possibility if creative target concepts such as the fast ignitor can be developed. We also indicate that a 6000-ton VISTA can visit any planet in the solar system and return to Earth in about 7 years or less without any significant physiological hazards to astronauts. In concept, VISTA provides such short-duration missions, especially to Mars, that the hazards from cosmic radiation and zero gravity can be reduced to insignificant levels. VISTA therefore represents a significant step forward for space-propulsion concepts.

  5. Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor Space Propulsion System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheung, A.; Binderbauer, M.; Liu, F.; Qerushi, A.; Rostoker, N.; Wessel, F. J.

    2004-02-01

    The Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor Space Propulsion System, CBFR-SPS, is an aneutronic, magnetic-field-reversed configuration, fueled by an energetic-ion mixture of hydrogen and boron11 (H-B11). Particle confinement and transport in the CBFR-SPS are classical, hence the system is scaleable. Fusion products are helium ions, α-particles, expelled axially out of the system. α-particles flowing in one direction are decelerated and their energy recovered to ``power'' the system; particles expelled in the opposite direction provide thrust. Since the fusion products are charged particles, the system does not require the use of a massive-radiation shield. This paper describes a 100 MW CBFR-SPS design, including estimates for the propulsion-system parameters and masses. Specific emphasis is placed on the design of a closed-cycle, Brayton-heat engine, consisting of heat-exchangers, turbo-alternator, compressor, and finned radiators.

  6. NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Project Overview, Near-term Products and Mission Applicability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dankanich, John; Anderson, David J.

    2008-01-01

    The In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) Project, funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD), is continuing to invest in propulsion technologies that will enable or enhance NASA robotic science missions. This overview provides development status, near-term mission benefits, applicability, and availability of in-space propulsion technologies in the areas of aerocapture, electric propulsion, advanced chemical thrusters, and systems analysis tools. Aerocapture investments improved (1) guidance, navigation, and control models of blunt-body rigid aeroshells, 2) atmospheric models for Earth, Titan, Mars and Venus, and 3) models for aerothermal effects. Investments in electric propulsion technologies focused on completing NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system, a 0.6-7 kW throttle-able gridded ion system. The project is also concluding its High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC) mid-term product specifically designed for a low-cost electric propulsion option. The primary chemical propulsion investment is on the high-temperature Advanced Material Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine providing higher performance for lower cost. The project is also delivering products to assist technology infusion and quantify mission applicability and benefits through mission analysis and tools. In-space propulsion technologies are applicable, and potentially enabling for flagship destinations currently under evaluation, as well as having broad applicability to future Discovery and New Frontiers mission solicitations.

  7. The NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Project, Products, and Mission Applicability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David J.; Pencil, Eric; Liou, Larry; Dankanich, John; Munk, Michelle M.; Kremic, Tibor

    2009-01-01

    The In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) Project, funded by NASA s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), is continuing to invest in propulsion technologies that will enable or enhance NASA robotic science missions. This overview provides development status, near-term mission benefits, applicability, and availability of in-space propulsion technologies in the areas of aerocapture, electric propulsion, advanced chemical thrusters, and systems analysis tools. Aerocapture investments improved: guidance, navigation, and control models of blunt-body rigid aeroshells; atmospheric models for Earth, Titan, Mars, and Venus; and models for aerothermal effects. Investments in electric propulsion technologies focused on completing NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system, a 0.6 to 7 kW throttle-able gridded ion system. The project is also concluding its High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC) mid-term product specifically designed for a low-cost electric propulsion option. The primary chemical propulsion investment is on the high-temperature Advanced Material Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine providing higher performance for lower cost. The project is also delivering products to assist technology infusion and quantify mission applicability and benefits through mission analysis and tools. In-space propulsion technologies are applicable, and potentially enabling for flagship destinations currently under evaluation, as well as having broad applicability to future Discovery and New Frontiers mission solicitations.

  8. NASA's In Space Propulsion Technology Program Accomplishments and Lessons Learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les C.; Harris, David

    2008-01-01

    NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) Program was managed for 5 years at the NASA MSFC and significant strides were made in the advancement of key transportation technologies that will enable or enhance future robotic science and deep space exploration missions. At the program's inception, a set of technology investment priorities were established using an NASA-wide, mission-driven prioritization process and, for the most part, these priorities changed little - thus allowing a consistent framework in which to fund and manage technology development. Technologies in the portfolio included aerocapture, advanced chemical propulsion, solar electric propulsion, solar sail propulsion, electrodynamic and momentum transfer tethers, and various very advanced propulsion technologies with significantly lower technology readiness. The program invested 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. By developing the capability to support mid-term robotic mission needs, the program was to lay the technological foundation for travel to nearby interstellar space. The ambitious goals of the program at its inception included supporting the development of technologies that could support all of NASA's missions, both human and robotic. As time went on and budgets were never as high as planned, the scope of the program was reduced almost every year, forcing the elimination of not only the broader goals of the initial program, but also of

  9. NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program: Overview and Status

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Alexander, Leslie; Baggett, Randy; Bonometti, Joe; Herrmann, Melody; James, Bonnie; Montgomery, Sandy

    2004-01-01

    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 onboard 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.

  10. Interplanetary Electric Propulsion Uranus Mission Trades Supporting the Decadal Survey

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dankanich, John W.; McAdams, James

    2011-01-01

    The Decadal Survey Committee was tasked to develop a comprehensive science and mission strategy for planetary science that updates and extends the National Academies Space Studies Board s current solar system exploration decadal survey. A Uranus orbiter mission has been evaluated as a part of this 2013-2022 Planetary Science Decadal Survey. A comprehensive Uranus orbiter mission design was completed, including a broad search of interplanetary electric propulsion transfer options. The scope of interplanetary trades was limited to electric propulsion concepts, both solar and radioisotope powered. Solar electric propulsion offers significant payloads to Uranus. Inserted mass into the initial science orbit due is highly sensitive to transfer time due to arrival velocities. The recommended baseline trajectory is a 13 year transfer with an Atlas 551, a 1+1 NEXT stage with 15 kW of power using an EEJU trajectory and a 1,000km EGA flyby altitude constraint. This baseline delivers over 2,000kg into the initial science orbit. Interplanetary trajectory trades and sensitivity analyses are presented herein.

  11. Gravity-assist engine for space propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergstrom, Arne

    2014-06-01

    As a possible alternative to rockets, the present article describes a new type of engine for space travel, based on the gravity-assist concept for space propulsion. The new engine is to a great extent inspired by the conversion of rotational angular momentum to orbital angular momentum occurring in tidal locking between astronomical bodies. It is also greatly influenced by Minovitch's gravity-assist concept, which has revolutionized modern space technology, and without which the deep-space probes to the outer planets and beyond would not have been possible. Two of the three gravitating bodies in Minovitch's concept are in the gravity-assist engine discussed in this article replaced by an extremely massive ‘springbell' (in principle a spinning dumbbell with a powerful spring) incorporated into the spacecraft itself, and creating a three-body interaction when orbiting around a gravitating body. This makes gravity-assist propulsion possible without having to find suitably aligned astronomical bodies. Detailed numerical simulations are presented, showing how an actual spacecraft can use a ca 10-m diameter springbell engine in order to leave the earth's gravitational field and enter an escape trajectory towards interplanetary destinations.

  12. Propulsion Progress for NASA's Space Launch System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    May, Todd A.; Lyles, Garry M.; Priskos, Alex S.; Kynard, Michael H.; Lavoie, Anthony R.

    2012-01-01

    Leaders from NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) will participate in a panel discussing the progress made on the program's propulsion systems. The SLS will be the nation's next human-rated heavy-lift vehicle for new missions beyond Earth's orbit. With a first launch slated for 2017, the SLS Program is turning plans into progress, with the initial rocket being built in the U.S.A. today, engaging the aerospace workforce and infrastructure. Starting with an overview of the SLS mission and programmatic status, the discussion will then delve into progress on each of the primary SLS propulsion elements, including the boosters, core stage engines, upper stage engines, and stage hardware. Included will be a discussion of the 5-segment solid rocket motors (ATK), which are derived from Space Shuttle and Ares developments, as well as the RS-25 core stage engines from the Space Shuttle inventory and the J- 2X upper stage engine now in testing (Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne). The panel will respond to audience questions about this important national capability for human and scientific space exploration missions.

  13. Space Transportation Propulsion Technology Symposium. Volume 1: Executive summary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    The Space Transportation Propulsion Technology Symposium was held to provide a forum for communication within the propulsion within the propulsion technology developer and user communities. Emphasis was placed on propulsion requirements and initiatives to support current, next generation, and future space transportation systems, with the primary objectives of discerning whether proposed designs truly meet future transportation needs and identifying possible technology gaps, overlaps, and other programmatic deficiencies. Key space transportation propulsion issues were addressed through four panels with government, industry, and academia membership. The panels focused on systems engineering and integration; development, manufacturing and certification; operational efficiency; and program development and cultural issues.

  14. Space shuttle propulsion estimation development verification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rogers, Robert M.

    1989-01-01

    The application of extended Kalman filtering to estimating the Space Shuttle Propulsion performance, i.e., specific impulse, from flight data in a post-flight processing computer program is detailed. The flight data used include inertial platform acceleration, SRB head pressure, SSME chamber pressure and flow rates, and ground based radar tracking data. The key feature in this application is the model used for the SRB's, which is a nominal or reference quasi-static internal ballistics model normalized to the propellant burn depth. Dynamic states of mass overboard and propellant burn depth are included in the filter model to account for real-time deviations from the reference model used. Aerodynamic, plume, wind and main engine uncertainties are also included for an integrated system model. Assuming uncertainty within the propulsion system model and attempts to estimate its deviations represent a new application of parameter estimation for rocket powered vehicles. Illustrations from the results of applying this estimation approach to several missions show good quality propulsion estimates.

  15. Propulsion of space ships by nuclear explosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linhart, J. G.; Kravárik, J.

    2005-01-01

    Recent progress in the research on deuterium-tritium (D-T) inertially confined microexplosions encourages one to reconsider the nuclear propulsion of spaceships based on the concept originally proposed in the Orion project. We discuss first the acceleration of medium-sized spaceships by D-T explosions whose output is in the range of 0.1 10 t of TNT. The launching of such a ship into an Earth orbit or beyond by a large nuclear explosion in an underground cavity is sketched out in the second section of the paper, and finally we consider a hypothetical Mars mission based on these concepts. In the conclusion it is argued that propulsion based on the Orion concept only is not the best method for interplanetary travel owing to the very large number of nuclear explosion required. A combination of a super gun and subsequent rocket propulsion using advanced chemical fuels appears to be the best solution for space flights of the near future.

  16. SEPS comet rendezvous performance assessment. [Solar Electric Propulsion System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauer, C. G., Jr.

    1980-01-01

    This paper presents an assessment of delivered payload capability for a number of selected rendezvous missions to periodic comets with launch opportunities through the years 1986-1996. These missions are chosen using a selection criteria that considers both expected scientific interest and earth-based sighting considerations. Some 22 mission opportunities are found that satisfies the selection criteria. Spacecraft performance is presented for each mission opportunity based on use of a space shuttle, a twin stage inertial-upper-stage, and a conceptual solar-electric-propulsion-system with a nominal rendezvous 50 days before comet perihelion. Additional trajectory and propulsion enhancements are investigated for several comet rendezvous missions in order to improve spacecraft performance. An indirect transfer trajectory for an Encke mission is shown to offer substantial delivered payload. In addition the use of concentrator solar arrays is considered for several of the more interesting comet missions.

  17. Space vehicle propulsion systems - Environmental space hazards

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1990-01-01

    An evaluation of hazards which exist in geo-lunar space and have the potential to negatively affect a long-term mission-oriented spacecraft systems is presented based on published data. The hazards are categorized as pervasive (radiation), incident specific (meteoroids and thermal shock), and chemically corrosive (monatomic oxygen). It appears that the number one priority should be the development of new materials; and the secondary concern should be the development of fabrication techniques for the exterior hull, so that incident specific hazards can be minimized in an active fashion. The pervasive hazard can be dealt with by exploring on-board circuit technology with ancillary monitoring systems. Effects of thermal shock on the exterior nozzle, directional gimbals, and internal combustion chamber geometry seem to need more investigation.

  18. Large space systems auxiliary propulsion requirements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maloy, J. E.; Smith, W. W.

    1983-05-01

    To meet the needs of a variety of civilian and military missions objectives large space systems (LSS) will become a greater percentage of our orbiting hardware. These LSS's will be transported to low Earth orbit (LEO) by the space transportation system (STS Shuttle). Concurrently, for LSS missions to orbit higher than LEO, the predominant mission scenario is that the LSS will be deployed or assembled in LEO and then transferred to a higher orbit. In support of the LSS concepts, the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST) has sponsored studies to determine LSS mission propulsion requirements. Since the fall of 1979, the Boeing Aerospace Company, under contract to NASA and Lewis Research Center, has been studying the disturbance forces and torques that will be experienced by LSS, and they have identified some of the associated auxiliary propulsion systems (APS) requirements. This presentation provides an insight into the results of some of the APS studies, focusing primarily on the APS requirements of single Shuttle launchable LSS's.

  19. NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Program: Overview and Update

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Alexander, Leslie; Baggett, Randy M.; Bonometti, Joseph A.; Herrmann, Melody; James, Bonnie F.; Montgomery, Sandy E.

    2004-01-01

    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- to 10-kW range to aerocapture and solar sails, 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 onboard 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, as well as NASA's plans for advancing them as part of the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program.

  20. NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program: Overview and Update

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Alexander, Leslie; Baggett, Randy M.; Bonometti, Joseph A.; Herrmann, Melody; James, Bonnie F.; Montgomery, Sandy E.

    2004-01-01

    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- to 10-kW range to aerocapture and solar sails, substantial advances in spacecraft propulsion performance are anticipated. Some of the most promising technologies for achieving these goals ase the environment of space itself for energy and propulsion and are generically called 'propellantless' because they do not require onboard 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, as well as NASA s plans for advancing them as part of the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program.

  1. High Power, High Voltage Electric Power System for Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aintablian, Harry; Kirkham, Harold; Timmerman, Paul

    2006-01-01

    This paper provides an overview of the 30 KW, 600 V MRHE power subsystem. Descriptions of the power subsystem elements, the mode of power transfer, and power and mass estimates are presented. A direct-drive architecture for electric propulsion is considered which reduces mass and complexity. Solar arrays with concentrators are used for increased efficiency. Finally, the challenges due to the environment of a hypothetical lunar mission as well as due to the advanced technologies considered are outlined.

  2. Hybrid Propulsion Testing at Marshall Space Flight Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prince, Andrew S.; Cash, Stephon F. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Hybrid propulsion testing involving eleven and twenty-four inch motors performed at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) from the early 1990's to the present are discussed. Topics covered include: Solid Propulsion Investigation Program, Joint NASA Industry Research and Development (JIRAD) program, Large Subscale Solid Rocket Combustion Simulator (LSSRCS), Hybrid Propulsion Demonstration Program (HPDP), Hybrid Propulsion for Launch Vehicle Booster (HPTLV), Peroxide Hybrid Upper Stage (PHUS) and Solid Fuel Torch (SFT).

  3. A Future with Hybrid Electric Propulsion Systems: A NASA Perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DelRosario, Ruben

    2014-01-01

    The presentation highlights a NASA perspective on Hybrid Electric Propulsion Systems for aeronautical applications. Discussed are results from NASA Advance Concepts Study for Aircraft Entering service in 2030 and beyond and the potential use of hybrid electric propulsion systems as a potential solution to the requirements for energy efficiency and environmental compatibility. Current progress and notional potential NASA research plans are presented.

  4. Space transportation systems, launch systems, and propulsion for the Space Exploration Initiative: Results from Project Outreach

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garber, T.; Hiland, J.; Orletsky, D.; Augenstein, B.; Miller, M.

    1991-01-01

    A number of transportation and propulsion options for Mars exploration missions are analyzed. As part of Project Outreach, RAND received and evaluated 350 submissions in the launch vehicle, space transportation, and propulsion areas. After screening submissions, aggregating those that proposed identical or nearly identical concepts, and eliminating from further consideration those that violated known physical princples, we had reduced the total number of viable submissions to 213. In order to avoid comparing such disparate things as launch vehicles and electric propulsion systems, six broad technical areas were selected to categorize the submissions: space transportation systems; earth-to-orbit (ETO) launch systems; chemical propulsion; nuclear propulsion; low-thrust propulsion; and other. To provide an appropriate background for analyzing the submissions, an extensive survey was made of the various technologies relevant to the six broad areas listed above. We discuss these technologies with the intent of providing the reader with an indication of the current state of the art, as well as the advances that might be expected within the next 10 to 20 years.

  5. Orbital transfer of large space structures with nuclear electric rockets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Silva, T. H.; Byers, D. C.

    1980-01-01

    This paper discusses the potential application of electric propulsion for orbit transfer of a large spacecraft structure from low earth orbit to geosynchronous altitude in a deployed configuration. The electric power was provided by the spacecraft nuclear reactor space power system on a shared basis during transfer operations. Factors considered with respect to system effectiveness included nuclear power source sizing, electric propulsion thruster concept, spacecraft deployment constraints, and orbital operations and safety. It is shown that the favorable total impulse capability inherent in electric propulsion provides a potential economic advantage over chemical propulsion orbit transfer vehicles by reducing the number of Space Shuttle flights in ground-to-orbit transportation requirements.

  6. Study of advanced electric propulsion system concept using a flywheel for electric vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Younger, F. C.; Lackner, H.

    1979-01-01

    Advanced electric propulsion system concepts with flywheels for electric vehicles are evaluated and it is predicted that advanced systems can provide considerable performance improvement over existing electric propulsion systems with little or no cost penalty. Using components specifically designed for an integrated electric propulsion system avoids the compromises that frequently lead to a loss of efficiency and to inefficient utilization of space and weight. A propulsion system using a flywheel power energy storage device can provide excellent acceleration under adverse conditions of battery degradation due either to very low temperatures or high degrees of discharge. Both electrical and mechanical means of transfer of energy to and from the flywheel appear attractive; however, development work is required to establish the safe limits of speed and energy storage for advanced flywheel designs and to achieve the optimum efficiency of energy transfer. Brushless traction motor designs using either electronic commutation schemes or dc-to-ac inverters appear to provide a practical approach to a mass producible motor, with excellent efficiency and light weight. No comparisons were made with advanced system concepts which do not incorporate a flywheel.

  7. Parasitic current losses due to solar electric propulsion generated plasmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Katz, I.; Parks, D. E.; Mandell, M. J.; Schnuelle, G. W.

    1981-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion is a leading candidate for many upcoming space missions. Under many circumstances plasma produced by charge-exchange reactions within the ion beam dominates the ambient environment near the spacecraft. The calculations presented here contain a predictive hydrodynamic model for the charge-exchange plasma expansion, and a fully three-dimensional model for the structure of the plasma sheath around the solar array wing. Results of calculations for several configurations and voltage levels indicate that with kilovolt biases power losses of approximately 10 percent or more are likely, even with only one engine in operation, and that ameliorative measures should focus on the inboard portion of the solar arrays.

  8. Nuclear Electric Propulsion - A concept for solar system exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nagorski, R. P.

    1981-01-01

    The potential of Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) to meet the increasing demands of our planetary space exploration program is examined and evaluated. Based on an assumption of a modest growth beyond current technology, an NEP system is described that provides performance advantage over all competitive technologies. Flight times and available payload mass - as indicators of mission performance - are compared for several mission opportunities of interest. NEP is shown to have a unique capacity for substantial reductions in mission flight times in terms of payloads consistent with the needs of planetary exploration.

  9. Misconceptions of Electric Propulsion Aircraft and Their Emergent Aviation Markets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Mark D.; Fredericks, Bill

    2014-01-01

    Over the past several years there have been aircraft conceptual design and system studies that have reached conflicting conclusions relating to the feasibility of full and hybrid electric aircraft. Some studies and propulsion discipline experts have claimed that battery technologies will need to improve by 10 to 20 times before electric aircraft can effectively compete with reciprocating or turbine engines. However, such studies have approached comparative assessments without understanding the compelling differences that electric propulsion offers, how these technologies will fundamentally alter the way propulsion integration is approached, or how these new technologies can not only compete but far exceed existing propulsion solutions in many ways at battery specific energy densities of only 400 watt hours per kilogram. Electric propulsion characteristics offer the opportunity to achieve 4 to 8 time improvements in energy costs with dramatically lower total operating costs, while dramatically improving efficiency, community noise, propulsion system reliability and safety through redundancy, as well as life cycle Green House Gas emissions. Integration of electric propulsion will involve far greater degrees of distribution than existing propulsion solutions due to their compact and scale-free nature to achieve multi-disciplinary coupling and synergistic integration with the aerodynamics, highlift system, acoustics, vehicle control, balance, and aeroelasticity. Appropriate metrics of comparison and differences in analysis/design tools are discussed while comparing electric propulsion to other disruptive technologies. For several initial applications, battery energy density is already sufficient for competitive products, and for many additional markets energy densities will likely be adequate within the next 7 years for vibrant introduction. Market evolution and early adopter markets are discussed, along with the investment areas that will fill technology gaps and

  10. Nondestructive evaluation tools and experimental studies for monitoring the health of space propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Generazio, Edward R.

    1991-01-01

    An overview is given of background and information on space propulsion systems on both the programmatic and technical levels. Feasibility experimental studies indicate that nondestructive evaluation tools such as ultrasonic, eddy current and x-ray may be successfully used to monitor the life limiting failure mechanisms of space propulsion systems. Encouraging results were obtained for monitoring the life limiting failure mechanisms for three space propulsion systems; the degradation of tungsten arcjet and magnetoplasmadynamic electrodes; presence and thickness of spallable electrically conducting molybdenum films in ion thrusters; and the degradation of the catalyst in hydrazine thrusters.

  11. Electric Propulsion Performance from Geo-transfer to Geosynchronous Orbits

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dankanich, John W.; Carpenter, Christian B.

    2007-01-01

    For near-Earth application, solar electric propulsion advocates have focused on Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geosynchronous (GEO) low-thrust transfers because of the significant improvement in capability over chemical alternatives. While the performance gain attained from starting with a lower orbit is large, there are also increased transfer times and radiation exposure risk that has hindered the commercial advocacy for electric propulsion stages. An incremental step towards electric propulsion stages is the use of integrated solar electric propulsion systems (SEPS) for GTO to GEO transfer. Thorough analyses of electric propulsion systems options and performance are presented. Results are based on existing or near-term capabilities of Arcjets, Hall thrusters, and Gridded Ion engines. Parametric analyses based on "rubber" thruster and launch site metrics are also provided.

  12. An analytical optimization of electric propulsion orbit transfer vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.

    1993-01-01

    Due to the electric propulsion's inherent propellant mass savings over chemical propulsion, electric propulsion orbit transfer vehicles (EPOTV's) are highly efficient mode of orbit transfer. When selecting an electric propulsion device (ion, MPD, or arcjet) and propellant for a particular mission, it is preferable to use quick, analytical system optimization methods instead of time intensive numerical integration methods. It is also of interest to determine each thruster's optimal operating characteristics for a specific mission. Analytical expressions are derived which determine the optimal specific impulse (Isp) for each type of electric thruster to maximize payload fraction for a desired thrusting time. These expressions take into account the variation of thruster efficiency with specific impulse. Verification of the method is made with representative electric propulsion values on a LEO-to-GEO mission. Application of the method to specific missions is discussed.

  13. Space station propulsion technology: Space station propulsion system test bed test plan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briley, G. L.

    1986-01-01

    Testing of the hydrogen/oxygen Space Station Propulsion System will demonstrate the technology readiness for the IOC application. To facilitate early demonstration of this technology and to allow demonstration of maturing technology, this testing will be performed with the components installed on a test bed which simulated the Space Station Structure. The test plan contains a description of the test bed, test objective, instrumentation plan, and controls plan. Each of these is discussed in detail.

  14. Electric propulsion using ion-ion plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aanesland, A.; Meige, A.; Chabert, P.

    2009-04-01

    Recently, we have proposed to use both positive and negative ions for thrust in an electromagnetic space propulsion system. This concept is called PEGASES for Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative GASES and has been patented by the Ecole Polytechnique in France in 2007. The basic idea is to create a stratified plasma with an electron free (ion-ion plasma) region at the periphery of a highly ionized plasma core such that both positive and negative ions can be extracted and accelerated to provide thrust. As the extracted beam is globally neutral there is no need for a downstream neutralizer. The recombination of positive and negative ions is very efficient and will result in a fast recombination downstream of the thruster and hence there is no creation of a plasma plume downstream. The first PEGASES prototype, designed in 2007, has recently been installed in a small vacuum chamber for preliminary tests in our laboratory and the first results have been presented in several conferences. This paper reviews important work that has been used in the process of designing the first PEGASES prototype.

  15. Solar electric propulsion thrust subsystem development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Masek, T. D.

    1973-01-01

    The Solar Electric Propulsion System developed under this program was designed to demonstrate all the thrust subsystem functions needed on an unmanned planetary vehicle. The demonstration included operation of the basic elements, power matching input and output voltage regulation, three-axis thrust vector control, subsystem automatic control including failure detection and correction capability (using a PDP-11 computer), operation of critical elements in thermal-vacuum-, zero-gravity-type propellant storage, and data outputs from all subsystem elements. The subsystem elements, functions, unique features, and test setup are described. General features and capabilities of the test-support data system are also presented. The test program culminated in a 1500-h computer-controlled, system-functional demonstration. This included simultaneous operation of two thruster/power conditioner sets. The results of this testing phase satisfied all the program goals.

  16. The “Flying Carpet” concept: A possible alternative to nuclear space propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyer, Rudolf X.

    2006-05-01

    This paper examines the potential performance of a new concept for very high specific impulse propulsion for scientific explorations beyond the solar system. The concept is based on an ultra-light weight solar-electric membrane that is deployed, stretched, stabilized, and oriented by small electric thrusters at its corners. The potential performance is found to be greatly superior to what can be achieved by multiple planetary flybys. The concept is viewed as an alternative to nuclear space propulsion.

  17. Liquid Bismuth Feed System for Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, T. E.; Polzin, K. A.; Stanojev, B. J.

    2006-01-01

    Operation of Hall thrusters with bismuth propellant has been shown to be a promising path toward high-power, high-performance, long-lifetime electric propulsion for spaceflight missions. For example, the VHITAL project aims td accurately, experimentally assess the performance characteristics of 10 kW-class bismuth-fed Hall thrusters - in order to validate earlier results and resuscitate a promising technology that has been relatively dormant for about two decades. A critical element of these tests will be the precise metering of propellant to the thruster, since performance cannot be accurately assessed without an accurate accounting of mass flow rate. Earlier work used a pre/post-test propellant weighing scheme that did not provide any real-time measurement of mass flow rate while the thruster was firing, and makes subsequent performance calculations difficult. The motivation of the present work was to develop a precision liquid bismuth Propellant Management System (PMS) that provides real-time propellant mass flow rate measurement and control, enabling accurate thruster performance measurements. Additionally, our approach emphasizes the development of new liquid metal flow control components and, hence, will establish a basis for the future development of components for application in spaceflight. The design of various critical components in a bismuth PMS are described - reservoir, electromagnetic pump, hotspot flow sensor, and automated control system. Particular emphasis is given to material selection and high-temperature sealing techniques. Open loop calibration test results are reported, which validate the systems capability to deliver bismuth at mass flow rates ranging from 10 to 100 mg/sec with an uncertainty of less than +/- 5%. Results of integrated vaporizer/liquid PMS tests demonstrate all of the necessary elements of a complete bismuth feed system for electric propulsion.

  18. Radioisotope Electric Propulsion for Fast Outer Planetary Orbiters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven; Benson, Scott; Gefert, Leon; Patterson, Michael; Schreiber, Jeffrey

    2002-01-01

    Recent interest in outer planetary targets by the Office of Space Science has spurred the search for technology options to enable relatively quick missions to outer planetary targets. Several options are being explored including solar electric propelled stages combined with aerocapture at the target and nuclear electric propulsion. Another option uses radioisotope powered electric thrusters to reach the outer planets. Past work looked at using this technology to provide faster flybys. A better use for this technology is for outer planet orbiters. Combined with medium class launch vehicles and a new direct trajectory these small, sub-kilowatt ion thrusters and Stirling radioisotope generators were found to allow missions as fast as 5 to 12 years for objects from Saturn to Pluto, respectively. Key to the development is light spacecraft and science payload technologies.

  19. An advanced optical system for laser ablation propulsion in space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergstue, Grant; Fork, Richard; Reardon, Patrick

    2014-03-01

    We propose a novel space-based ablation driven propulsion engine concept utilizing transmitted energy in the form of a series of ultra-short optical pulses. Key differences are generating the pulses at the transmitting spacecraft and the safe delivery of that energy to the receiving spacecraft for propulsion. By expanding the beam diameter during transmission in space, the energy can propagate at relatively low intensity and then be refocused and redistributed to create an array of ablation sites at the receiver. The ablation array strategy allows greater control over flight dynamics and eases thermal management. Research efforts for this transmission and reception of ultra-short optical pulses include: (1) optical system design; (2) electrical system requirements; (3) thermal management; (4) structured energy transmission safety. Research has also been focused on developing an optical switch concept for the multiplexing of the ultra-short pulses. This optical switch strategy implements multiple reflectors polished into a rotating momentum wheel device to combine the pulses from different laser sources. The optical system design must minimize the thermal load on any one optical element. Initial specifications and modeling for the optical system are being produced using geometrical ray-tracing software to give a better understanding of the optical requirements. In regards to safety, we have advanced the retro-reflective beam locking strategy to include look-ahead capabilities for long propagation distances. Additional applications and missions utilizing multiplexed pulse transmission are also presented. Because the research is in early development, it provides an opportunity for new and valuable advances in the area of transmitted energy for propulsion as well as encourages joint international efforts. Researchers from different countries can cooperate in order to find constructive and safe uses of ordered pulse transmission for propulsion in future space

  20. Innovative Airbreathing Propulsion Concepts for Access to Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whitlow, Jr., Woodrow; Blech, Richard A.; Blankson, Isaiah M.

    2001-01-01

    This paper will present technologies and concepts for novel aeropropulsion systems. These technologies will enhance the safety of operations, reduce life cycle costs, and contribute to reduced costs of air travel and access to space. One of the goals of the NASA program is to reduce the carbon-dioxide emissions of aircraft engines. Engine concepts that use highly efficient fuel cell/electric drive technologies in hydrogen-fueled engines will be presented in the proposed paper. Carbon-dioxide emissions will be eliminated by replacing hydrocarbon fuel with hydrogen, and reduce NOx emissions through better combustion process control. A revolutionary exoskeletal engine concept, in which the engine drum is rotated, will be shown. This concept has the potential to allow a propulsion system that can be used for subsonic through hypersonic flight. Dual fan concepts that have ultra-high bypass ratios, low noise, and low drag will be presented. Flow-controlled turbofans and control-configured turbofans also will be discussed. To increase efficiency, a system of microengines distributed along lifting surfaces and on the fuselage is being investigated. This concept will be presented in the paper. Small propulsion systems for affordable, safe personal transportation vehicles will be discussed. These low-oil/oilless systems use technologies that enable significant cost and weight reductions. Pulse detonation engine-based hybrid-cycle and combined-cycle propulsion systems for aviation and space access will be presented.

  1. Electromagnetic interference of power conditioners for solar electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whittlesey, A. C.; Macie, T. W.

    1973-01-01

    Electrical, multikilowatt power conditioning (PC) equipment needed on board a spacecraft utilizing solar electric propulsion creates an electromagnetic environment that is potentially deterimental to the science, navigation, and radio communication hardware. Within the scope of the solar electric propulsion system technology program, three lightweight, 2.5-kW PCs were evaluated in terms of their electromagnetic characteristics. It was found that the levels of radiated and conducted interference exceeded the levels anticipated for a solar electric propulsion mission. These noise emissions, however, were the result of deficient interference design in these models, rather than a basic inability to control interference in this type of PC.

  2. Chemical and Solar Electric Propulsion Systems Analyses for Mars Sample Return Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donahue, Benjamin B.; Green, Shaun E.; Coverstone, Victoria L.; Woo, Byoungsam

    2004-01-01

    Conceptual in-space transfer stages, including those utilizing solar electric propulsion, chemical propulsion, and chemical propulsion with aerobraking or aerocapture assist at Mars, were evaluated. Roundtrip Mars sample return mission vehicles were analyzed to determine how specific system technology selections influence payload delivery capability. Results show how specific engine, thruster, propellant, capture mode, trip time and launch vehicle technology choices would contribute to increasing payload or decreasing the size of the required launch vehicles. Heliocentric low-thrust trajectory analyses for Solar Electric Transfer were generated with the SEPTOP code.

  3. Colliding beam fusion reactor space propulsion system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wessel, Frank J.; Binderbauer, Michl W.; Rostoker, Norman; Rahman, Hafiz Ur; O'Toole, Joseph

    2000-01-01

    We describe a space propulsion system based on the Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor (CBFR). The CBFR is a high-beta, field-reversed, magnetic configuration with ion energies in the range of hundreds of keV. Repetitively-pulsed ion beams sustain the plasma distribution and provide current drive. The confinement physics is based on the Vlasov-Maxwell equation, including a Fokker Planck collision operator and all sources and sinks for energy and particle flow. The mean azimuthal velocities and temperatures of the fuel ion species are equal and the plasma current is unneutralized by the electrons. The resulting distribution functions are thermal in a moving frame of reference. The ion gyro-orbit radius is comparable to the dimensions of the confinement system, hence classical transport of the particles and energy is expected and the device is scaleable. We have analyzed the design over a range of 106-109 Watts of output power (0.15-150 Newtons thrust) with a specific impulse of, Isp~106 sec. A 50 MW propulsion system might involve the following parameters: 4-meters diameter×10-meters length, magnetic field ~7 Tesla, ion beam current ~10 A, and fuels of either D-He3,P-B11,P-Li6,D-Li6, etc. .

  4. Electric propulsion for lunar exploration and lunar base development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palaszewski, Bryan

    1992-01-01

    Using electric propulsion to deliver materials to lunar orbit for the development and construction of a lunar base was investigated. Because the mass of the base and its life-cycle resupply mass are large, high specific impulse propulsion systems may significantly reduce the transportation system mass and cost. Three electric propulsion technologies (arcjet, ion, and magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) propulsion) were compared with oxygen/hydrogen propulsion for a lunar base development scenario. Detailed estimates of the orbital transfer vehicles' (OTV's) masses and their propellant masses are presented. The fleet sizes for the chemical and electric propulsion systems are estimated. Ion and MPD propulsion systems enable significant launch mass savings over O2/H2 propulsion. Because of the longer trip time required for the low-thrust OTV's, more of them are required to perform the mission model. By offloading the lunar cargo from the manned O2/H2 OTV missions onto the electric propulsion OTV's, a significant reduction of the low Earth orbit (LEO) launch mass is possible over the 19-year base development period.

  5. Space Transportation Propulsion Technology Symposium. Volume 2: Symposium proceedings

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    The Space Transportation Propulsion Symposium was held to provide a forum for communication within the propulsion technology developer and user communities. Emphasis was placed on propulsion requirements and initiatives to support current, next generation, and future space transportation systems, with the primary objectives of discerning whether proposed designs truly meet future transportation needs and identifying possible technology gaps, overlaps, and other programmatic deficiencies. Key space transportation propulsion issues were addressed through four panels with government, industry, and academia membership. The panels focused on systems engineering and integration; development, manufacturing and certification; operational efficiency; and program development and cultural issues.

  6. Overview of Rocket Propulsion Testing at NASA Stennis Space Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rahman, S.; Gilbrech, R.; Lightfoot, R.; Dawson, M.

    1999-01-01

    THe recent nationwide thrust toward development of low-cost space transportation has precipitated a sharp increase in demand for subscale and full-scale propulsion test services. This paper highlights the unique capabilities of Stennis Space Center(SSC) to meet these demands, and summarizes several major propulsion test activities and other related milestone achievements during the 1999 calendar year. The current and projected list of SSC test projects heralds an even more vigorous, interesting, and challenging future in propulsion test.

  7. Unique mission options available with a megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion system

    SciTech Connect

    Coomes, E.P.; McCauley, L.A.; Christian, J.L.; Gomez, M.A.; Wong, W.A.

    1988-10-01

    The advantages of using electric propulsion systems are well-known in the aerospace community with the most common being its high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass. But these advantages may not be as important as the overall unique mission options electric propulsion makes possible, especially if the system is powered by a megawatt-class nuclear electric power source. Although the lack of suitable electric power systems has been a major drawback to electric propulsion, recent efforts have shown megawatt-class nuclear electric power systems are feasible and could be available by the turn of the century. Coupling this with the resurgence in interest in free-space electromagnetic transmission of energy and technology developments in this area provide a whole new aspect to the view of electric propulsion. The propulsion system now has a second mission function that may be of more value than the well understood benefits of electric propulsion; that is providing large quantities of prime power in support of a broad spectrum of mission tasks. 30 refs., 9 figs.

  8. JTEC panel report on space and transatmospheric propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shelton, Duane

    1990-01-01

    An assessment of Japan's current capabilities in the areas of space and transatmospheric propulsion is presented. The report focuses primarily upon Japan's programs in liquid rocket propulsion and in propulsion for spaceplanes and related transatmospheric areas. It also includes brief reference to Japan's solid rocket programs, as well as to supersonic air-breathing propulsion efforts that are just getting underway. The results are based upon the findings of a panel of U.S. engineers made up of individuals from academia, government, and industry, and are derived from a review of a broad array of the open literature, combined with visits to the primary propulsion laboratories and development agencies in Japan.

  9. Selection and Prioritization of Advanced Propulsion Technologies for Future Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eberle, Bill; Farris, Bob; Johnson, Les; Jones, Jonathan; Kos, Larry; Woodcock, Gordon; Brady, Hugh J. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The exploration of our solar system will require spacecraft with much greater capability than spacecraft which have been launched in the past. This is particularly true for exploration of the outer planets. Outer planet exploration requires shorter trip times, increased payload mass, and ability to orbit or land on outer planets. Increased capability requires better propulsion systems, including increased specific impulse. Chemical propulsion systems are not capable of delivering the performance required for exploration of the solar system. Future propulsion systems will be applied to a wide variety of missions with a diverse set of mission requirements. Many candidate propulsion technologies have been proposed but NASA resources do not permit development of a] of them. Therefore, we need to rationally select a few propulsion technologies for advancement, for application to future space missions. An effort was initiated to select and prioritize candidate propulsion technologies for development investment. The results of the study identified Aerocapture, 5 - 10 KW Solar Electric Ion, and Nuclear Electric Propulsion as high priority technologies. Solar Sails, 100 Kw Solar Electric Hall Thrusters, Electric Propulsion, and Advanced Chemical were identified as medium priority technologies. Plasma sails, momentum exchange tethers, and low density solar sails were identified as high risk/high payoff technologies.

  10. Planning for the Space Exploration Initiative - The nuclear propulsion option

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bennett, Gary L.; Miller, Thomas J.

    1991-01-01

    The Space Exploration Initiative includes both lunar and Mars program elements as well as robotic science missions. Space transportation is a primary part of all planning for exploration. The high performance propulsion capabilities of nuclear propulsion offer the potential to reduce substantially the flight times to and from Mars and to reduce the mass launched into low earth orbit.

  11. Mars Mission Concepts: SAR and Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elsperman, Michael; Clifford, S.; Lawrence, S.; Klaus, K.; Smith, D.

    2013-10-01

    Introduction: The time has come to leverage technology advances to reduce the cost and increase the flight rate of planetary missions, while actively developing a scientific and engineering workforce to achieve national space objectives. Mission Science at Mars: A SAR imaging radar offers an ability to conduct high resolution investigations of the shallow subsurface of Mars, enabling identification of fine-scale layering within the Martian polar layered deposits (PLD), as well as the identification of pingos, investigations of polygonal terrain, and measurements of the thickness of mantling layers at non-polar latitudes. It would allow systematic near-surface prospecting, which is tremendously useful for human exploration purposes. Limited color capabilities in a notional high-resolution stereo imaging system would enable the generation of false color images, resulting in useful science results, and the stereo data could be reduced into high-resolution Digital Elevation Models uniquely useful for exploration planning and science purposes. Mission Concept: Using a common spacecraft for multiple missions reduces costs. Solar electric propulsion (SEP) provides the flexibility required for multiple mission objectives. Our concept involves using a Boeing 702SP with a highly capable SAR imager that also conducts autonomous rendezvous and docking experiments accomplished from Mars orbit. Summary/Conclusions: A robust and compelling Mars mission can be designed to meet the 2018 Mars launch window opportunity. Using advanced in-space power and propulsion technologies like High Power Solar Electric Propulsion provides enormous mission flexibility to execute the baseline science mission and conduct necessary Mars Sample Return Technology Demonstrations in Mars orbit on the same mission. An observation spacecraft platform like the high power 5Kw) 702SP at Mars also enables the use of a SAR instrument to reveal new insights and understanding of the Mars regolith for both

  12. Electric Propulsion Options for a Magnetospheric Mapping Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven; Russell, Chris; Hack, Kurt; Riehl, John

    1998-01-01

    The Twin Electric Magnetospheric Probes Exploring on Spiral Trajectories mission concept was proposed as a Middle Explorer class mission. A pre-phase-A design was developed which utilizes the advantages of electric propulsion for Earth scientific spacecraft use. This paper presents propulsion system analyses performed for the proposal. The proposed mission required two spacecraft to explore near circular orbits 0.1 to 15 Earth radii in both high and low inclination orbits. Since the use of chemical propulsion would require launch vehicles outside the Middle Explorer class a reduction in launch mass was sought using ion, Hall, and arcjet electric propulsion system. Xenon ion technology proved to be the best propulsion option for the mission requirements requiring only two Pegasus XL launchers. The Hall thruster provided an alternative solution but required two larger, Taurus launch vehicles. Arcjet thrusters did not allow for significant launch vehicle reduction in the Middle Explorer class.

  13. Joint Radioisotope Electric Propulsion Studies - Neptune System Explorer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Khan, M. Omair; Amini, Rashied; Ervin, Joan; Lang, Jared; Landau, Damon; Oleson, Steven; Spilker, Thomas; Strange, Nathan

    2011-01-01

    The Neptune System Explorer (NSE) mission concept study assessed opportunities to conduct Cassini-like science at Neptune with a radioisotope electric propulsion (REP) based spacecraft. REP is based on powering an electric propulsion (EP) engine with a radioisotope power source (RPS). The NSE study was commissioned under the Joint Radioisotope Electric Propulsion Studies (JREPS) project, which sought to determine the technical feasibility of flagship class REP applications. Within JREPS, special emphasis was given toward identifying tall technology tent poles, as well as recommending any new RPS technology developments that would be required for complicated REP missions. Based on the goals of JREPS, multiple RPS (e.g. thermoelectric and Stirling based RPS) and EP (e.g. Hall and ion engines) technology combinations were traded during the NSE study to determine the most favorable REP design architecture. Among the findings from the study was the need for >400We RPS systems, which was driven by EP operating powers and the requirement for a long-lived mission in the deep solar system. Additionally multiple development and implementation risks were identified for the NSE concept, as well as REP missions in general. Among the strengths of the NSE mission would be the benefits associated with RPS and EP use, such as long-term power (approx. 2-3kW) at Neptune and flexible trajectory options for achieving orbit or tours of the Neptune system. Although there are still multiple issues to mitigate, the NSE concept demonstrated distinct advantages associated with using REP for deep space flagship-class missions.

  14. Aircraft Electric Propulsion Systems Applied Research at NASA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clarke, Sean

    2015-01-01

    Researchers at NASA are investigating the potential for electric propulsion systems to revolutionize the design of aircraft from the small-scale general aviation sector to commuter and transport-class vehicles. Electric propulsion provides new degrees of design freedom that may enable opportunities for tightly coupled design and optimization of the propulsion system with the aircraft structure and control systems. This could lead to extraordinary reductions in ownership and operating costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and noise annoyance levels. We are building testbeds, high-fidelity aircraft simulations, and the first highly distributed electric inhabited flight test vehicle to begin to explore these opportunities.

  15. Space Launch Initiative Propulsion Projects Office Overview Briefing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lyles, Garry; Richards, Steve

    2001-01-01

    The goal of this Space Launch Initiative is for NASA to meet its future space flight needs, including human access to space, using commercial launch vehicles that will improve safety and reliability and reduce cost. The topics include: 1) Second Generation RLV Program Overview; 2) Space Launch Initiative (SLI) Investment Areas; 3) SLI Organizational Summary; 4) Propulsion Projects Overview; 5) Current Propulsion Content; and 6) Critical Needs Roadmap. This paper is presented in viewgraph form.

  16. In-Space Propulsion (ISP) Solar Sail Propulsion Technology Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Montgomery, Edward E., IV

    2004-01-01

    An overview of the rationale and content for Solar Sail Propulsion (SSP), the on-going project to advance solar technology from technology readiness level 3 to 6 will be provided. A descriptive summary of the major and minor component efforts underway will include identification of the technology providers and a listing of anticipated products Recent important results from major system ground demonstrators will be provided. Finally, a current status of all activities will provided along with the most recent roadmap for the SSP technology development program.

  17. A potassium Rankine multimegawatt nuclear electric propulsion concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baumeister, E.; Rovang, R.; Mills, J.; Sercel, J.; Frisbee, R.

    1990-01-01

    Multimegawatt nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) has been identified as a potentially attractive option for future space exploratory missions. A liquid-metal-cooled reactor, potassium Rankine power system that is being developed is suited to fulfill this application. The key features of the nuclear power system are described, and system characteristics are provided for various potential NEP power ranges and operational lifetimes. The results of recent mission studies are presented to illustrate some of the potential benefits to future space exploration to be gained from high-power NEP. Specifically, mission analyses have been performed to assess the mass and trip time performance of advanced NEP for both cargo and piloted missions to Mars.

  18. Thrust Stand for Electric Propulsion Performance Evaluation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markusic, T. E.; Jones, J. E.; Cox, M. D.

    2004-01-01

    An electric propulsion thrust stand capable of supporting thrusters with total mass of up to 125 kg and 1 mN to 1 N thrust levels has been developed and tested. The mechanical design features a conventional hanging pendulum arm attached to a balance mechanism that transforms horizontal motion into amplified vertical motion, with accommodation for variable displacement sensitivity. Unlike conventional hanging pendulum thrust stands, the deflection is independent of the length of the pendulum arm, and no reference structure is required at the end of the pendulum. Displacement is measured using a non-contact, optical linear gap displacement transducer. Mechanical oscillations are attenuated using a passive, eddy current damper. An on-board microprocessor-based level control system, which includes a two axis accelerometer and two linear-displacement stepper motors, continuously maintains the level of the balance mechanism - counteracting mechanical %era drift during thruster testing. A thermal control system, which includes heat exchange panels, thermocouples, and a programmable recirculating water chiller, continuously adjusts to varying thermal loads to maintain the balance mechanism temperature, to counteract thermal drifts. An in-situ calibration rig allows for steady state calibration both prior to and during thruster testing. Thrust measurements were carried out on a well-characterized 1 kW Hall thruster; the thrust stand was shown to produce repeatable results consistent with previously published performance data.

  19. An electric propulsion long term test facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trump, G.; James, E.; Vetrone, R.; Bechtel, R.

    1979-01-01

    An existing test facility was modified to provide for extended testing of multiple electric propulsion thruster subsystems. A program to document thruster subsystem characteristics as a function of time is currently in progress. The facility is capable of simultaneously operating three 2.7-kW, 30-cm mercury ion thrusters and their power processing units. Each thruster is installed via a separate air lock so that it can be extended into the 7m x 10m main chamber without violating vacuum integrity. The thrusters exhaust into a 3m x 5m frozen mercury target. An array of cryopanels collect sputtered target material. Power processor units are tested in an adjacent 1.5m x 2m vacuum chamber or accompanying forced convection enclosure. The thruster subsystems and the test facility are designed for automatic unattended operation with thruster operation computer controlled. Test data are recorded by a central data collection system scanning 200 channels of data a second every two minutes. Results of the Systems Demonstration Test, a short shakedown test of 500 hours, and facility performance during the first year of testing are presented.

  20. Prognostics Applied to Electric Propulsion UAV

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goebel, Kai; Saha, Bhaskar

    2013-01-01

    Health management plays an important role in operations of UAV. If there is equipment malfunction on critical components, safe operation of the UAV might possibly be compromised. A technology with particular promise in this arena is equipment prognostics. This technology provides a state assessment of the health of components of interest and, if a degraded state has been found, it estimates how long it will take before the equipment will reach a failure threshold, conditional on assumptions about future operating conditions and future environmental conditions. This chapter explores the technical underpinnings of how to perform prognostics and shows an implementation on the propulsion of an electric UAV. A particle filter is shown as the method of choice in performing state assessment and predicting future degradation. The method is then applied to the batteries that provide power to the propeller motors. An accurate run-time battery life prediction algorithm is of critical importance to ensure the safe operation of the vehicle if one wants to maximize in-air time. Current reliability based techniques turn out to be insufficient to manage the use of such batteries where loads vary frequently in uncertain environments.

  1. Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP): A Near-Term Approach to Nuclear Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmidt, George R.; Manzella, David H.; Kamhawi, Hani; Kremic, Tibor; Oleson, Steven R.; Dankanich, John W.; Dudzinski, Leonard A.

    2009-01-01

    Studies over the last decade have shown radioisotope-based nuclear electric propulsion to be enhancing and, in some cases, enabling for many potential robotic science missions. Also known as radioisotope electric propulsion (REP), the technology offers the performance advantages of traditional reactor-powered electric propulsion (i.e., high specific impulse propulsion at large distances from the Sun), but with much smaller, affordable spacecraft. Future use of REP requires development of radioisotope power sources with system specific powers well above that of current systems. The US Department of Energy and NASA have developed an advanced Stirling radioisotope generator (ASRG) engineering unit, which was subjected to rigorous flight qualification-level tests in 2008, and began extended lifetime testing later that year. This advancement, along with recent work on small ion thrusters and life extension technology for Hall thrusters, could enable missions using REP sometime during the next decade.

  2. Radioisotope electric propulsion (REP): A near-term approach to nuclear propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, George R.; Manzella, David H.; Kamhawi, Hani; Kremic, Tibor; Oleson, Steven R.; Dankanich, John W.; Dudzinski, Leonard A.

    2010-02-01

    Studies over the last decade have shown radioisotope-based nuclear electric propulsion to be enhancing and, in some cases, enabling for many potential robotic science missions. Also known as radioisotope electric propulsion (REP), the technology offers the performance advantages of traditional reactor-powered electric propulsion (i.e., high specific impulse propulsion at large distances from the Sun), but with much smaller, affordable spacecraft. Future use of REP requires development of radioisotope power sources with system specific powers well above that of current systems. The US Department of Energy and NASA have developed an advanced Stirling radioisotope generator (ASRG) engineering unit, which was subjected to rigorous flight qualification-level tests in 2008, and began extended lifetime testing later that year. This advancement, along with recent work on small ion thrusters and life extension technology for Hall thrusters, could enable missions using REP sometime during the next decade.

  3. Solar Thermal Propulsion Concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    Harnessing the Sun's energy through Solar Thermal Propulsion will propel vehicles through space by significantly reducing weight, complexity, and cost while boosting performance over current conventional upper stages. Another solar powered system, solar electric propulsion, demonstrates ion propulsion is suitable for long duration missions. Pictured is an artist's concept of space flight using solar thermal propulsion.

  4. Status and Mission Applicability of NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David J.; Munk, Michelle M.; Dankanich, John; Pencil, Eric; Liou, Larry

    2009-01-01

    The In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) project develops propulsion technologies that will enable or enhance NASA robotic science missions. Since 2001, the ISPT project developed and delivered products to assist technology infusion and quantify mission applicability and benefits through mission analysis and tools. These in-space propulsion technologies are applicable, and potentially enabling for flagship destinations currently under evaluation, as well as having broad applicability to future Discovery and New Frontiers mission solicitations. This paper provides status of the technology development, near-term mission benefits, applicability, and availability of in-space propulsion technologies in the areas of advanced chemical thrusters, electric propulsion, aerocapture, and systems analysis tools. The current chemical propulsion investment is on the high-temperature Advanced Material Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine providing higher performance for lower cost. Investments in electric propulsion technologies focused on completing NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system, a 0.6-7 kW throttle-able gridded ion system, and the High Voltage Hall Accelerator (HiVHAC) thruster, which is a mid-term product specifically designed for a low-cost electric propulsion option. Aerocapture investments developed a family of thermal protections system materials and structures; guidance, navigation, and control models of blunt-body rigid aeroshells; atmospheric models for Earth, Titan, Mars and Venus; and models for aerothermal effects. In 2009 ISPT started the development of propulsion technologies that would enable future sample return missions. The paper describes the ISPT project's future focus on propulsion for sample return missions. The future technology development areas for ISPT is: Planetary Ascent Vehicles (PAV), with a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) being the initial development focus; multi-mission technologies for Earth Entry Vehicles (MMEEV) needed

  5. Identifying Accessible Near-Earth Objects For Crewed Missions With Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smet, Stijn De; Parker, Jeffrey S.; Herman, Jonathan F. C.; Aziz, Jonathan; Barbee, Brent W.; Englander, Jacob A.

    2015-01-01

    This paper discusses the expansion of the Near-Earth Object Human Space Flight Accessible Targets Study (NHATS) with Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP). The research investigates the existence of new launch seasons that would have been impossible to achieve using only chemical propulsion. Furthermore, this paper shows that SEP can be used to significantly reduce the launch mass and in some cases the flight time of potential missions as compared to the current, purely chemical trajectories identified by the NHATS project.

  6. 1987 status report - United States Air Force electric propulsion research and development

    SciTech Connect

    Meya, R.D.; Nguyen, T.H.Q.

    1987-05-01

    The Air Force Astronautics Laboratory (AFAL) is currently developing electric propulsion technology to meet USAF and DOD requirements for military space missions. The AFAL's three-tiered RandD program is presented. In order of priority, the first tier is the space demonstration of a space-qualified 30-kWe-class arcjet propulsion system, while the second tier is the continued industrial development of arcjet technology to increase specific impulse and lifetime; the third tier is the continued university development of steady-state multimegawatt MPD thrusters to guarantee the availability of MPD technology upon USAF deployment of operational multimegawatt space power supplies. 12 references.

  7. Electric Propulsion Upper-Stage for Launch Vehicle Capability Enhancement

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kemp, Gregory E.; Dankanich, John W.; Woodcock, Gordon R.; Wingo, Dennis R.

    2007-01-01

    The NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Project Office initiated a preliminary study to evaluate the performance benefits of a solar electric propulsion (SEP) upper-stage with existing and near-term small launch vehicles. The analysis included circular and elliptical Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) transfers, and LEO to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) applications. SEP subsystem options included state-of-the-art and near-term solar arrays and electric thrusters. In-depth evaluations of the Aerojet BPT-4000 Hall thruster and NEXT gridded ion engine were conducted to compare performance, cost and revenue potential. Preliminary results indicate that Hall thruster technology is favored for low-cost, low power SEP stages, while gridded-ion engines are favored for higher power SEP systems unfettered by transfer time constraints. A low-cost point design is presented that details one possible stage configuration and outlines system limitations, in particular fairing volume constraints. The results demonstrate mission enhancements to large and medium class launch vehicles, and mission enabling performance when SEP system upper stages are mounted to low-cost launchers such as the Minotaur and Falcon 1. Study results indicate the potential use of SEP upper stages to double GEO payload mass capability and to possibly enable launch on demand capability for GEO assets. Transition from government to commercial applications, with associated cost/benefit analysis, has also been assessed. The sensitivity of system performance to specific impulse, array power, thruster size, and component costs are also discussed.

  8. Uranus and Neptune orbiter missions via solar electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedlander, A. L.; Brandenburg, R. K.

    1971-01-01

    The characteristics and capabilities of solar electric propulsion for performing orbiter missions at the planets Uranus and Neptune are described. An assessment of the scientific objectives and instrumentation requirements, their relation to orbit size selection, and parametric analysis of solar electric propulsion trajectory/payload performance are included. Utilizing the Titan 3D/Centaur launch vehicle, minimum flight times of about 3400 days to Uranus and 5300 days to Neptune are required to place the TOPS spacecraft into the nominal orbits. It has been shown that solar electric propulsion can be used effectively to accomplish elliptical orbiter missions at Uranus and Neptune. However, because of the very long flight time required, these mission profiles are not too attractive. Previous studies have shown that nuclear electric propulsion, if developed, would allow much faster trips; 5 years to Uranus and 8 years to Neptune.

  9. MTR BASEMENT. GENERAL ELECTRIC CONTROL CONSOLE FOR AIRCRAFT NUCLEAR PROPULSION ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    MTR BASEMENT. GENERAL ELECTRIC CONTROL CONSOLE FOR AIRCRAFT NUCLEAR PROPULSION EXPERIMENT NO. 1. INL NEGATIVE NO. 6510. Unknown Photographer, 9/29/1959 - Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Test Reactor Area, Materials & Engineering Test Reactors, Scoville, Butte County, ID

  10. Low-thrust solar electric propulsion navigation simulation program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hagar, H. J.; Eller, T. J.

    1973-01-01

    An interplanetary low-thrust, solar electric propulsion mission simulation program suitable for navigation studies is presented. The mathematical models for trajectory simulation, error compensation, and tracking motion are described. The languages, input-output procedures, and subroutines are included.

  11. Electric Propulsion Induced Secondary Mass Spectroscopy (EPI-SMS)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amini, R. B.; Beegle, L.; Castillo-Rogez, J. C.; Giapis, K.; Snyder, J. S.

    2012-03-01

    We posit electric propulsion's ability to serve as a source for sputtering experiments at small bodies to determine surface composition. In the abstract we depict expected sputtering return and outline two validating experiments.

  12. An improved thermionic power conversion system for space propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hsieh, T. M.; Phillips, W. M.

    1978-01-01

    A concept of an out-of-core thermionic nuclear electric power conversion system for 400 Kwe power level is being investigated for space propulsion applications. Two key features distinguish the power system design from previous thermionic power conversion concepts. First, the thermionic converters are located outside a nuclear reactor with a neutron shield inserted to reduce the radiation level on the thermionic converter matrix. Second, multiple liquid-metal heat pipes are used exclusively for both thermal power transport (from the nuclear reactor to the thermionic converters) and waste heat removal (from the thermionic converters to the space radiator); no mechanical or electromagnetic pumps are involved. The system characteristics are are compared to those of the in-core thermionic reactor system concept. In many aspects, the system characteristics, including specific weight, lifetime, dynamics control and safety features are found to be more desirable than those of the in-core system concept.

  13. Test Facilities in Support of High Power Electric Propulsion Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Dyke, Melissa; Houts, Mike; Godfroy, Thomas; Dickens, Ricky; Martin, James J.; Salvail, Patrick; Carter, Robert

    2003-01-01

    Successful development of space fission systems requires an extensive program of affordable and realistic testing. In addition to tests related to design/development of the fission system, realistic testing of the actual flight unit must also be performed. If the system is designed to operate within established radiation damage and fuel burn up limits while simultaneously being designed to allow close simulation of heat from fission using resistance heaters, high confidence in fission system performance and lifetime can be attained through non-nuclear testing. Through demonstration of systems concepts (designed by DOE National Laboratories) in relevant environments, this philosophy has been demonstrated through hardware testing in the High Power Propulsion Thermal Simulator (HPPTS). The HPPTS is designed to enable very realistic non-nuclear testing of space fission systems. Ongoing research at the HPPTS is geared towards facilitating research, development, system integration, and system utilization via cooperative efforts with DOE labs, industry, universities, and other NASA centers. Through hardware based design and testing, the HPPTS investigates High Power Electric Propulsion (HPEP) component, subsystem, and integrated system design and performance.

  14. Test Facilities in Support of High Power Electric Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    VanDyke, Melissa; Houts, Mike; Godfroy, Thomas; Dickens, Ricky; Martin, James J.; Salvail, Patrick; Carter, Robert

    2002-01-01

    Successful development of space fission systems requires an extensive program of affordable and realistic testing. In addition to tests related to design/development of the fission system, realistic testing of the actual flight unit must also be performed. If the system is designed to operate within established radiation damage and fuel burn up limits while simultaneously being designed to allow close simulation of heat from fission using resistance heaters, high confidence in fission system performance and lifetime can be attained through non-nuclear testing. Through demonstration of systems concepts (designed by DOE National Laboratories) in relevant environments, this philosophy has been demonstrated through hardware testing in the High Power Propulsion Thermal Simulator (HPPTS). The HPPTS is designed to enable very realistic non-nuclear testing of space fission systems. Ongoing research at the HPPTS is geared towards facilitating research, development, system integration, and system utilization via cooperative efforts with DOE labs, industry, universities, and other NASA centers. Through hardware based design and testing, the HPPTS investigates High Power Electric Propulsion (HPEP) component, subsystem, and integrated system design and performance.

  15. COMPASS Final Report: Enceladus Solar Electric Propulsion Stage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; McGuire, Melissa L.

    2011-01-01

    The results of the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) COllaborative Modeling and Parametric Assessment of Space Systems (COMPASS) internal Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) stage design are documented in this report (Figure 1.1). The SEP Stage was designed to deliver a science probe to Saturn (the probe design was performed separately by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center s (GSFC) Integrated Mission Design Center (IMDC)). The SEP Stage delivers the 2444 kg probe on a Saturn trajectory with a hyperbolic arrival velocity of 5.4 km/s. The design carried 30 percent mass, 10 percent power, and 6 percent propellant margins. The SEP Stage relies on the probe for substantial guidance, navigation and control (GN&C), command and data handling (C&DH), and Communications functions. The stage is configured to carry the probe and to minimize the packaging interference between the probe and the stage. The propulsion system consisted of a 1+1 (one active, one spare) configuration of gimbaled 7 kW NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion thrusters with a throughput of 309 kg Xe propellant. Two 9350 W GaAs triple junction (at 1 Astronomical Unit (AU), includes 10 percent margin) ultra-flex solar arrays provided power to the stage, with Li-ion batteries for launch and contingency operations power. The base structure was an Al-Li hexagonal skin-stringer frame built to withstand launch loads. A passive thermal control system consisted of heat pipes to north and south radiator panels, multilayer insulation (MLI) and heaters for the Xe tank. All systems except tanks and solar arrays were designed to be single fault tolerant.

  16. Station keeping of geostationary satellites by electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eckstein, M. C.

    1985-01-01

    As various types of perturbations tend to drive a geostationary satellite away from its prescribed position, occasional orbit corrections have to be carried out by means of a suitable propulsion system. In future geostationary missions, low thrust electric propulsion is likely to be applied for station keeping because of considerable mass savings. In this paper a station keeping strategy for electric propulsion systems is developed. Both the unconstrained case and the case where thrust operation constraints are present are considered and tested by computer simulation of a realistic example.

  17. Parametric studies of electric propulsion systems for orbit transfer vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Manvi, R.; Fujita, T.

    1988-01-01

    The present parametric tradeoff study for OTV electric propulsion systems encompasses ammonia and hydrogen arcjets as well as Xe-ion propulsion systems with performance characteristics currently being projected for 1993 operation. In all cases, the power source is a nuclear-electric system with 30 kg/kW(e) specific mass, and the mission involves the movement of payloads from lower orbits to GEO. Attention is given to payload capabilities and associated propellant requirements. Mission trip time is identified as the key parameter for selection; while arcjets are preferable for shorter trip times, ion propulsion is more advantageous for longer trip times due to reduced propellant mass fraction.

  18. Secondary propulsion system options for Space Station Freedom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimmermann, Frank S.; France, Cory P.

    1992-07-01

    This paper considers secondary propulsion system options for Space Station Freedom which make use of excess onboard water and resupplied water to provide up to 90 percent of the Space Station propulsion needs. The water resistojet and both low-thrust and high-thrust hydrogen-oxygen propulsion systems are compared in terms of complexity, development risk, performance, and propellant-resupply requirements. These options could provide a reduction in propellant resupply in excess of five shuttle flights over an eleven-year solar cycle. Upon implementation of a low-thrust option, the Space Station high-thrust hydrazine primary propulsion system would be used to perform attitude control and collision avoidance maneuvers only while the secondary propulsion system would compensate for atmospheric drag. The options offered for consideration would be installed after the establishment of a permanently manned capability when adequate quantities of waste water are available and reboost propellant requirements become most significant.

  19. Propulsion at the Marshall Space Flight Center - A brief history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, L. W.; Fisher, M. F.; Mccool, A. A.; Mccarty, J. P.

    1991-01-01

    The history of propulsion development at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is summarized, beginning with the development of the propulsion system for the Redstone missile. This course of propulsion development continues through the Jupiter IRBM, the Saturn family of launch vehicles and the engines that powered them, the Centaur upper stage and RL-10 engine, the Reactor In-Flight Test stage and the NERVA nuclear engine. The Space Shuttle Main Engine and Solid Rocket Boosters are covered, as are spacecraft propulsion systems, including the reaction control systems for the High Energy Astronomy Observatory and the Space Station. The paper includes a description of several technology efforts such as those in high pressure turbomachinery, aerospike engines, and the AS203 cyrogenic fluid management flight experiment. These and other propulsion projects are documented, and the scope of activities in support of these efforts at Marshall delineated.

  20. Space Transportation Technology Workshop: Propulsion Research and Technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation gives an overview of the Space Transportation Technology Workshop topics, including Propulsion Research and Technology (PR&T) project level organization, FY 2001 - 2006 project roadmap, points of contact, foundation technologies, auxiliary propulsion technology, PR&T Low Cost Turbo Rocket, and PR&T advanced reusable technologies RBCC test bed.

  1. Operationally efficient propulsion system study (OEPSS) data book. Volume 6; Space Transfer Propulsion Operational Efficiency Study Task of OEPSS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harmon, Timothy J.

    1992-01-01

    This document is the final report for the Space Transfer Propulsion Operational Efficiency Study Task of the Operationally Efficient Propulsion System Study (OEPSS) conducted by the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International. This Study task studied, evaluated and identified design concepts and technologies which minimized launch and in-space operations and optimized in-space vehicle propulsion system operability.

  2. Worldwide Space Launch Vehicles and Their Mainstage Liquid Rocket Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rahman, Shamim A.

    2010-01-01

    Space launch vehicle begins with a basic propulsion stage, and serves as a missile or small launch vehicle; many are traceable to the 1945 German A-4. Increasing stage size, and increasingly energetic propulsion allows for heavier payloads and greater. Earth to Orbit lift capability. Liquid rocket propulsion began with use of storable (UDMH/N2O4) and evolved to high performing cryogenics (LOX/RP, and LOX/LH). Growth versions of SLV's rely on strap-on propulsive stages of either solid propellants or liquid propellants.

  3. Options For Development of Space Fission Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houta, Mike; VanDyke, Melissa; Godfroy, Tom; Pedersen, Kevin; Martin, James; Dickens, Ricky; Salvail, Pat; Hrbud, Ivana; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Fission technology can enable rapid, affordable access to any point in the solar system. Potential fission-based transportation options include high specific power continuous impulse propulsion systems and bimodal nuclear thermal rockets. Despite their tremendous potential for enhancing or enabling deep space and planetary missions, to date space fission system have only been used in Earth orbit. The first step towards utilizing advanced fission propulsion systems is development of a safe, near-term, affordable fission system that can enhance or enable near-term missions of interest. An evolutionary approach for developing space fission propulsion systems is proposed.

  4. Thrust Stand for Electric Propulsion Performance Evaluation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Polzin, Kurt A.; Markusic, Thomas E.; Stanojev, Boris J.; Dehoyos, Amado; Spaun, Benjamin

    2006-01-01

    An electric propulsion thrust stand capable of supporting testing of thrusters having a total mass of up to 125 kg and producing thrust levels between 100 microN to 1 N has been developed and tested. The design features a conventional hanging pendulum arm attached to a balance mechanism that converts horizontal deflections produced by the operating thruster into amplified vertical motion of a secondary arm. The level of amplification is changed through adjustment of the location of one of the pivot points linking the system. Response of the system depends on the relative magnitudes of the restoring moments applied by the displaced thruster mass and the twisting torsional pivots connecting the members of the balance mechanism. Displacement is measured using a non-contact, optical linear gap displacement transducer and balance oscillatory motion is attenuated using a passive, eddy-current damper. The thrust stand employs an automated leveling and thermal control system. Pools of liquid gallium are used to deliver power to the thruster without using solid wire connections, which can exert undesirable time-varying forces on the balance. These systems serve to eliminate sources of zero-drift that can occur as the stand thermally or mechanically shifts during the course of an experiment. An in-situ calibration rig allows for steady-state calibration before, during and after thruster operation. Thrust measurements were carried out on a cylindrical Hall thruster that produces mN-level thrust. The measurements were very repeatable, producing results that compare favorably with previously published performance data, but with considerably smaller uncertainty.

  5. Electric propulsion - A far reaching technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aston, G.

    1985-01-01

    It is shown that a starprobe could be built to perform a flyby mission to Proxima Centauri in approximately 400 years. This vehicle would use familiar fission nuclear reactor and ion propulsion system technologies to achieve a burn-out velocity of 0.0122c. Fine engineering and progressive technology refinements are shown to be the key to operating, and further improving, the capability of this long burn time propulsion system.

  6. A Titan Explorer Mission Utilizing Solar Electric Propulsion and Chemical Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cupples, Michael; Coverstone, Vicki

    2003-01-01

    Mission and Systems analyses were performed for a Titan Explorer Mission scenario utilizing medium class launch vehicles, solar electric propulsion system (SEPS) for primary interplanetary propulsion, and chemical propulsion for capture at Titan. An examination of a range of system factors was performed to determine their affect on the payload delivery capability to Titan. The effect of varying the launch vehicle, solar array power, associated number of SEPS thrusters, chemical propellant combinations, tank liner thickness, and tank composite overwrap stress factor was investigated. This paper provides a parametric survey of the aforementioned set of system factors, delineating their affect on Titan payload delivery, as well as discussing aspects of planetary capture methodology.

  7. Application of solar electric propulsion to future planetary missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauer, Carl G., Jr.

    1987-01-01

    Application of solar electric propulsion (SEP) to several near term planetary missions has been investigated and is described in this paper. The missions under consideration include a comet rendezvous-asteroid flyby mission (CRAF), an orbiter mission to Saturn (CASSINI) and a comet nucleus sample return mission (CNSR). Advances in both thruster and solar array technology indicate that these missions could benefit by use of a moderate size solar electric propulsion system. The trajectory scenarios considered in this paper include a solar electric earth gravity assist (SEEGA) mode for all three missions and a SEP rendezvous mode for both the CRAF and CNSR missions. In addition an all SEP propulsion mode and a hybrid SEP-chemical propulsion mode is described for the CNSR mission.

  8. Modeling of Power and Propulsion Parameters For Nuclear Electric Propulsion Misson Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauer, Carl G., Jr.

    1993-01-01

    Advanced propulsion mission studies sponsored by NASA over the past 10-15 years have indicated that Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) may be a viable candidate for a detailed exploration of the solar system. The first generation of NEP to be used for Planetary missions will most likely be based on modest technology improvements to already existing designs or hardware for a technology readiness in the 2000-2010 time frame.

  9. Antiproton Trapping for Advanced Space Propulsion Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, Gerald A.

    1998-01-01

    The Summary of Research parallels the Statement of Work (Appendix I) submitted with the proposal, and funded effective Feb. 1, 1997 for one year. A proposal was submitted to CERN in October, 1996 to carry out an experiment on the synthesis and study of fundamental properties of atomic antihydrogen. Since confined atomic antihydrogen is potentially the most powerful and elegant source of propulsion energy known, its confinement and properties are of great interest to the space propulsion community. Appendix II includes an article published in the technical magazine Compressed Air, June 1997, which describes CERN antiproton facilities, and ATHENA. During the period of this grant, Prof. Michael Holzscheiter served as spokesman for ATHENA and, in collaboration with Prof. Gerald Smith, worked on the development of the antiproton confinement trap, which is an important part of the ATHENA experiment. Appendix III includes a progress report submitted to CERN on March 12, 1997 concerning development of the ATHENA detector. Section 4.1 reviews technical responsibilities within the ATHENA collaboration, including the Antiproton System, headed by Prof. Holzscheiter. The collaboration was advised (see Appendix IV) on June 13, 1997 that the CERN Research Board had approved ATHENA for operation at the new Antiproton Decelerator (AD), presently under construction. First antiproton beams are expected to be delivered to experiments in about one year. Progress toward assembly of the ATHENA detector and initial testing expected in 1999 has been excellent. Appendix V includes a copy of the minutes of the most recently documented collaboration meeting held at CERN of October 24, 1997, which provides more information on development of systems, including the antiproton trapping apparatus. On February 10, 1998 Prof. Smith gave a 3 hour lecture on the Physics of Antimatter, as part of the Physics for the Third Millennium Lecture Series held at MSFC. Included in Appendix VI are notes and

  10. Electric thruster models for multimegawatt nuclear electric propulsion mission design

    SciTech Connect

    Leifer, S.D.; Blandino, J.J.; Sercel, J.C. )

    1991-01-05

    Three types of electric thrusters currently under development at JPL have potential to support future missions which utilize multimegawatt nuclear electric propulsion. These electric thrusters are the electron bombardment ion thruster, the magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster, and the electron-cyclotron-resonance (ECR) thruster. The electron bombardment ion thruster is a relatively mature technology which has been developed for operation at kilowatt power levels but will require new development for application in the multimegawatt regime. The MPD engine represents a technology which may be very well suited to steady-state multimegawatt applications but which has been limited to sub-scale (100's of kW) and pulsed (MW) testing thus far. The ECR plasma engine represents a class of very promising new concepts which are still in the basic research phase of development, but which may possess important fundamental advantages over other electric thruster technologies. In this paper, models of these thrusters are described and used to make projections of thruster specific mass, efficiency, and power handling capacity for operation in the multimegawatt regime.

  11. Electric thruster models for multimegawatt nuclear electric propulsion mission design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leifer, Stephanie D.; Blandino, John J.; Sercel, Joel C.

    1991-01-01

    Three types of electric thrusters currently under development at JPL have potential to support future missions which utilize multimegawatt nuclear electric propulsion. These electric thrusters are the electron bombardment ion thruster, the magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster, and the electron-cyclotron-resonance (ECR) thruster. The electron bombardment ion thruster is a relatively mature technology which has been developed for operation at kilowatt power levels but will require new development for application in the multimegawatt regime. The MPD engine represents a technology which may be very well suited to steady-state multimegawatt applications but which has been limited to sub-scale (100's of kW) and pulsed (MW) testing thus far. The ECR plasma engine represents a class of very promising new concepts which are still in the basic research phase of development, but which may possess important fundamental advantages over other electric thruster technologies. Models of these thrusters are described and used to make projections of thrusters specific mass, efficiency, and power handling capacity for operation in the multimegawatt regime.

  12. Stacking the odds in favor of a space propulsion jackpot

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Willoughby, Alan J.

    1991-01-01

    When faced with a variety of technical options to solve a problem, program planners often try to identify one potential winner, then channel their resources into this option. The more scarce their resources are perceived to be, the more likely they are to fall into this trap of illogic. The real ideal solution could well be an optimum combination of options, not just one. Many propulsion opportunities are tantalizing solutions to the potentially high cost of travelling to other planets. Among these opportunities, nuclear thermal rockets (NTR), nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), and asteroid derived propellants stand out as high-payoff modest-challenge options, as near term as they are resolved to be made. But which to choose? Or should higher risk higher payoff technology be opted for, such as fusion? The approach advocated here, technoflex, is one that addresses NTR, NEP, and asteroid propellants in harmony rather than in isolation. Technoflex is technology rich, and option flexible. Technoflex should cost roughly the same as a classic phased technology elimination approach. The synergistic benefits amongst these three options, how they can be efficiently pursued together, and how they can fit with longer range technologies are stressed. Even if no single option reaches its highest expectations, the combinations of any two partial winners would still give big dividends. These combinations are cheap propellants in space, dual mode high thrust/low thrust, or versatile propellant NTR. The triple payoff is excellent, even if all three options would pan out below expectations. If only one option reaches its potential, it could make the other two still worth their investment. If all three options meet full expectations, the triple payoff is a space propulsion jackpot which makes concern about the initial investment ludicrous as well as open up the solar system to expedient exploration.

  13. Primary propulsion of electrothermal, ion and chemical systems for space-based radar orbit transfer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, S. Y.; Staiger, P. J.

    1985-01-01

    An orbit transfer mission concept has been studied for a Space-Based Radar (SBR) where 40 kW required for radar operation is assumed available for orbit transfer propulsion. Arcjet, pulsed electrothermal (PET), ion, and storable chemical systems are considered for the primary propulsion. Transferring two SBR per shuttle flight to 1112 km/60 deg using electrical propulsion systems offers an increased payload at the expense of increased trip time, up to 2000 kg each, which may be critical for survivability. Trade offs between payload mass, transfer time, launch site, inclination, and height of parking orbits are presented.

  14. The NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Project's Current Products and Future Directions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David J.; Dankanich, John; Munk, Michelle M.; Pencil, Eric; Liou, Larry

    2010-01-01

    Since its inception in 2001, the objective of the In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) project has been developing and delivering in-space propulsion technologies that enable or enhance NASA robotic science missions. These in-space propulsion technologies are applicable, and potentially enabling for future NASA flagship and sample return missions currently under consideration, as well as having broad applicability to future Discovery and New Frontiers mission solicitations. This paper provides status of the technology development, applicability, and availability of in-space propulsion technologies that recently completed, or will be completing within the next year, their technology development and are ready for infusion into missions. The paper also describes the ISPT project s future focus on propulsion for sample return missions. The ISPT technologies completing their development are: 1) the high-temperature Advanced Material Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine providing higher performance for lower cost; 2) NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system, a 0.6-7 kW throttle-able gridded ion system; and 3) aerocapture technologies which include thermal protection system (TPS) materials and structures, guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) models of blunt-body rigid aeroshells; and atmospheric and aerothermal effect models. The future technology development areas for ISPT are: 1) Planetary Ascent Vehicles (PAV); 2) multi-mission technologies for Earth Entry Vehicles (MMEEV) needed for sample return missions from many different destinations; 3) propulsion for Earth Return Vehicles (ERV) and transfer stages, and electric propulsion for sample return and low cost missions; 4) advanced propulsion technologies for sample return; and 5) Systems/Mission Analysis focused on sample return propulsion.

  15. Space Fission Propulsion System Development Status

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Mike; VanDyke, Melissa; Godfroy, Tom; Pedersen, Kevin; Martin, James; Dickens, Ricky; Williams, Eric; Harper, Roger; Salvail, Pat; Hrbud, Ivana; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    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 spare 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 straightforward. 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 system. While space fission system 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 Ae are to reap the benefits of advanced space fission systems.

  16. Applying design principles to fusion reactor configurations for propulsion in space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carpenter, Scott A.; Deveny, Marc E.; Schulze, Norman R.

    1993-01-01

    The application of fusion power to space propulsion requires rethinking the engineering-design solution to controlled-fusion energy. Whereas the unit cost of electricity (COE) drives the engineering-design solution for utility-based fusion reactor configurations; initial mass to low earth orbit (IMLEO), specific jet power (kW(thrust)/kg(engine)), and reusability drive the engineering-design solution for successful application of fusion power to space propulsion. We applied three design principles (DP's) to adapt and optimize three candidate-terrestrial-fusion-reactor configurations for propulsion in space. The three design principles are: provide maximum direct access to space for waste radiation, operate components as passive radiators to minimize cooling-system mass, and optimize the plasma fuel, fuel mix, and temperature for best specific jet power. The three candidate terrestrial fusion reactor configurations are: the thermal barrier tandem mirror (TBTM), field reversed mirror (FRM), and levitated dipole field (LDF). The resulting three candidate space fusion propulsion systems have their IMLEO minimized and their specific jet power and reusability maximized. We performed a preliminary rating of these configurations and concluded that the leading engineering-design solution to space fusion propulsion is a modified TBTM that we call the Mirror Fusion Propulsion System (MFPS).

  17. Radioactive waste disposal via electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burns, R. E.

    1975-01-01

    It is shown that space transportation is a feasible method of removal of radioactive wastes from the biosphere. The high decay heat of the isotopes powers a thermionic generator which provides electrical power for ion thrust engines. The massive shields (used to protect ground and flight personnel) are removed in orbit for subsequent reuse; the metallic fuel provides a shield for the avionics that guides the orbital stage to solar system escape. Performance calculations indicate that 4000 kg. of actinides may be removed per Shuttle flight. Subsidiary problems - such as cooling during ascent - are discussed.

  18. Modular thrust subsystem approaches to solar electric propulsion module design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cake, J. E.; Sharp, G. R.; Oglebay, J. C.; Shaker, F. J.; Zevesky, R. J.

    1976-01-01

    Three approaches are presented for packaging the elements of a 30 cm ion thrustor subsystem into a modular thrust subsystem. The individual modules, when integrated into a conceptual solar electric propulsion module are applicable to a multimission set of interplanetary flights with the Space Shuttle/Interim Upper Stage as the launch vehicle. The emphasis is on the structural and thermal integration of the components into the modular thrust subsystems. Thermal control for the power processing units is either by direct radiation through louvers in combination with heat pipes of an all heat pipe system. The propellant storage and feed system and thrustor gimbal system concepts are presented. The three approaches are compared on the basis of mass, cost, testing, interfaces, simplicity, reliability, and maintainability.

  19. Nuclear Electric Propulsion Application: RASC Mission Robotic Exploration of Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McGuire, Melissa L.; Borowski, Stanley K.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2004-01-01

    The following paper documents the mission and systems analysis portion of a study in which Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) is used as the in-space transportation system to send a series of robotic rovers and atmospheric science airplanes to Venus in the 2020 to 2030 timeframe. As part of the NASA RASC (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts) program, this mission analysis is meant to identify future technologies and their application to far reaching NASA missions. The NEP systems and mission analysis is based largely on current technology state of the art assumptions. This study looks specifically at the performance of the NEP transfer stage when sending a series of different payload package point design options to Venus orbit.

  20. Modular thrust subsystem approaches to solar electric propulsion module design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cake, J. E.; Sharp, G. R.; Oglebay, J. C.; Shaker, F. J.; Zavesky, R. J.

    1976-01-01

    Three approaches are presented for packaging the elements of a 30 cm ion thruster subsystem into a modular thrust subsystem. The individual modules, when integrated into a conceptual solar electric propulsion module are applicable to a multimission set of interplanetary flights with the space shuttle interim upper stage as the launch vehicle. The emphasis is on the structural and thermal integration of the components into the modular thrust subsystems. Thermal control for the power processing units is either by direct radiation through louvers in combination with heat pipes or an all heat pipe system. The propellant storage and feed system and thruster gimbal system concepts are presented. The three approaches are compared on the basis of mass, cost, testing, interfaces, simplicity, reliability, and maintainability.

  1. Drag and propulsive forces in electric sails with negative polarity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanchez-Torres, Antonio

    2016-02-01

    An electric solar sail (E-sail) is a recent propellantless propulsion concept for a direct exploration of the Solar System. An E-sail consists of a set of bare, conductive tethers at high positive/negative bias, prone to extract solar wind momentum by Coulomb deflection of protons. Additionally, a negatively biased E-sail has been proposed as a concept for de-orbiting space debris with drag forces produced in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The present work focuses on the negative-bias case with a sheath that must be correctly modeled for a flowing plasma ambient. Ion scattering within the sheath and the resulting force are determined for several plasma conditions. Since the plasma flow does reduce the effective range for the ion scattering within the sheath, the resulting force is then reduced. Tethers at very high negative bias should be required for extremely high plasma flow.

  2. Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Tug Power System Considerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kerslake, Thomas W.; Bury, Kristen M.; Hojinicki, Jeffrey S.; Sajdak, Adam M.; Scheiddegger, Robert J.

    2011-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion (SEP) technology is truly at the "intersection of commercial and military space" as well as the intersection of NASA robotic and human space missions. Building on the use of SEP for geosynchronous spacecraft station keeping, there are numerous potential commercial and military mission applications for SEP stages operating in Earth orbit. At NASA, there is a resurgence of interest in robotic SEP missions for Earth orbit raising applications, 1-AU class heliocentric missions to near Earth objects (NEOs) and SEP spacecraft technology demonstrations. Beyond these nearer term robotic missions, potential future human space flight missions to NEOs with high-power SEP stages are being considered. To enhance or enable this broad class of commercial, military and NASA missions, advancements in the power level and performance of SEP technologies are needed. This presentation will focus on design considerations for the solar photovoltaic array (PVA) and electric power system (EPS) vital to the design and operation of an SEP stage. The engineering and programmatic pros and cons of various PVA and EPS technologies and architectures will be discussed in the context of operating voltage and power levels. The impacts of PVA and EPS design options on the remaining SEP stage subsystem designs, as well as spacecraft operations, will also be discussed.

  3. Inertial electrostatic confinement as a power source for electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miley, George H.; Burton, R.; Javedani, J.; Yamamoto, Y.; Satsangi, A.; Gu, Y.; Heck, P.; Nebel, R.; Schulze, N.; Christensen, J.

    1993-01-01

    The potential use of an Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) power source for space propulsion has previously been suggested by the authors and others. In the past, these discussions have generally followed the charged-particle electric-discharge engine (QED) concept proposed by Bussard, in which the IEC is used to generate an electron beam which vaporizes liquid hydrogen for use as a propellant. However, in the present study, we consider an alternate approach, using the IEC to drive a conventional electric thruster unit. This has the advantage of building on the rapidly developing technology for such thrusters, which operate at higher specific impulse. Key issues related to this approach include the continued successful development of the physics and engineering of the IEC unit, as well as the development of efficient step-down dc voltage transformers. The IEC operates by radial injection of energetic ions into a spherical vessel. A very high ion density is created in a small core region at the center of the vessel, resulting in extremely high fusion power density in the core. Present experiments at the U. of Illinois in small IEC devices (less than 60-cm. dia.) have demonstrated much of the basic physics underlying this concept, e.g. producing approximately 10(exp 6) D-D neutrons/sec steady-state with deuterium gas flow injection. The ultimate goal is to increase the power densities by several orders of magnitude and to convert to D-He-3 injection. If successful, such an experiment would represent a milestone proof-of-principle device for eventual space power use. Further discussion of IEC physics and status will be presented with a description of the overall propulsion system and estimated performance.

  4. Inertial electrostatic confinement as a power source for electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miley, G. H.; Burton, R.; Javedani, J.; Yamamoto, Y.; Satsangi, A; Gu, Y.; Heck, P.; Nebel, R.; Schulze, N.; Christensen, J.

    1993-01-01

    The potential use of an INERTIAL ELECTROSTATIC CONFINEMENT (IEC) power source for space propulsion has previously been suggested by the authors and others. In the past, these discussions have generally followed the charged-particle electric-discharge engine (QED) concept proposed by Bussard, in which the IEC is used to generate an electron beam which vaporizes liquid hydrogen for use as a propellant. However, an alternate approach is considered, using the IEC to drive a 'conventional' electric thruster unit. This has the advantage of building on the rapidly developing technology for such thrusters, which operate at higher specific impulse. Key issues related to this approach include the continued successful development of the physics and engineering of the IEC unit, as well as the development of efficient step-down dc voltage transformers. The IEC operates by radial injection of energetic ions into a spherical vessel. A very high ion density is created in a small core region at the center of the vessel, resulting in extremely high fusion power density in the core. Experiments at the U. of Illinois in small IEC devices (is less than 60 cm. dia.) demonstrated much of the basic physics underlying this concept, e.g. producing 10(exp 6) D-D neutrons/sec steady-state with deuterium gas flow injection. The ultimate goal is to increase the power densities by several orders of magnitude and to convert to D-He-3 injection. If successful, such an experiment would represent a milestone proof-of-principle device for eventual space power use. Further discussion of IEC physics and status are presented with a description of the overall propulsion system and estimated performance.

  5. Solar electric propulsion cargo spacecraft for Mars missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    One of the topics available to the 1990-91 Aerospace Engineering senior class was the development of a preliminary design of an unmanned cargo ferry that would support the Mars mission by bringing equipment and supplies from a low Earth orbit (LEO) to a low Mars orbit (LMO). Several previous studies initiated by NASA have indicated that low-thrust transportation systems seem to offer the best performance for Mars missions. Such systems are characterized by long spiral times during escape and capture maneuvers, high payload mass fractions, and, typically, low propellant mass fractions. Of two main low-thrust candidates, nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and solar electric propulsion (SEP), only the first one received extensive consideration because it seemed to represent the most promising concept for a manned mission to Mars. However, any sustained Mars initiative will have to include an unmanned cargo transportation system, for which an SEP concept deserves very careful consideration. The key assumptions and requirements established in cooperation with the Space Exploration Initiative office at the NASA Langley Research Center were (1) vehicle is assembled at the Space Station Freedom (SSF); (2) Earth-to-orbit delivery of the vehicle components, propellant, and payload is via shuttle-C; (3) vehicle's cargo mass is 61,000 kg; (4) vehicle delivers cargo to LMO at an altitude of 500 km and inclination of 70 deg; (5) vehicle returns (without cargo) to SSF; (6) vehicle should be reusable for at least three missions; and (7) vehicle is powered by ion argon thrusters. Two configurations were developed by two student teams, working mostly independently.

  6. Solar electric propulsion cargo spacecraft for Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    One of the topics available to the 1990-91 Aerospace Engineering senior class was the development of a preliminary design of an unmanned cargo ferry that would support the Mars mission by bringing equipment and supplies from a low Earth orbit (LEO) to a low Mars orbit (LMO). Several previous studies initiated by NASA have indicated that low-thrust transportation systems seem to offer the best performance for Mars missions. Such systems are characterized by long spiral times during escape and capture maneuvers, high payload mass fractions, and, typically, low propellant mass fractions. Of two main low-thrust candidates, nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and solar electric propulsion (SEP), only the first one received extensive consideration because it seemed to represent the most promising concept for a manned mission to Mars. However, any sustained Mars initiative will have to include an unmanned cargo transportation system, for which an SEP concept deserves very careful consideration. The key assumptions and requirements established in cooperation with the Space Exploration Initiative office at the NASA Langley Research Center were (1) vehicle is assembled at the Space Station Freedom (SSF); (2) Earth-to-orbit delivery of the vehicle components, propellant, and payload is via shuttle-C; (3) vehicle's cargo mass is 61,000 kg; (4) vehicle delivers cargo to LMO at an altitude of 500 km and inclination of 70 deg; (5) vehicle returns (without cargo) to SSF; (6) vehicle should be reusable for at least three missions; and (7) vehicle is powered by ion argon thrusters. Two configurations were developed by two student teams, working mostly independently.

  7. The Status of Spacecraft Bus and Platform Technology Development under the NASA In-Space Propulsion Technology Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David; Pencil, Eric J.; Glaab, Louis; Falck, Robert D.; Dankanich, John

    2013-01-01

    NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) program has been developing technologies for lowering the cost of planetary science missions. The technology areas include electric propulsion technologies, spacecraft bus technologies, entry vehicle technologies, and design tools for systems analysis and mission trajectories. The electric propulsion technologies include critical components of both gridded and non-gridded ion propulsion systems. The spacecraft bus technologies under development include an ultra-lightweight tank (ULTT) and advanced xenon feed system (AXFS). The entry vehicle technologies include the development of a multi-mission entry vehicle, mission design tools and aerocapture. The design tools under development include system analysis tools and mission trajectory design tools.

  8. Solar electric propulsion system /SEPS/: Tomorrow's propulsion system - Today

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Austin, R. E.

    1981-01-01

    Mission and system concepts relating to the SEPS project will be discussed as well as an overview of current project planning. SEPS system concept descriptions will be limited to in-house NASA concepts. The capabilities of the in-house concepts to meet a wide range of mission requirements will be described to give an indication of potential capabilities SEPS can provide to the space mission planners.

  9. Propulsion Systems Panel deliberations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bianca, Carmelo J.; Miner, Robert; Johnston, Lawrence M.; Bruce, R.; Dennies, Daniel P.; Dickenson, W.; Dreshfield, Robert; Karakulko, Walt; Mcgaw, Mike; Munafo, Paul M.

    1993-01-01

    The Propulsion Systems Panel was established because of the specialized nature of many of the materials and structures technology issues related to propulsion systems. This panel was co-chaired by Carmelo Bianca, MSFC, and Bob Miner, LeRC. Because of the diverse range of missions anticipated for the Space Transportation program, three distinct propulsion system types were identified in the workshop planning process: liquid propulsion systems, solid propulsion systems and nuclear electric/nuclear thermal propulsion systems.

  10. Space Station propulsion electrolysis system - 'A technology challenge'

    SciTech Connect

    Le, M.

    1989-01-01

    The Space Station propulsion system will utilize a water electrolysis system to produce the required eight-to-one ratio of gaseous hydrogen and oxygen propellants. This paper summarizes the state of the art in water electrolysis technologies and the supporting development programs at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Preliminary proof of concept test data from a fully integrated propulsion testbed are discussed. The technical challenges facing the development of the high-pressure water electrolysis system are discussed. 5 refs.

  11. Space Station propulsion electrolysis system - 'A technology challenge'

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Le, Michael

    1989-01-01

    The Space Station propulsion system will utilize a water electrolysis system to produce the required eight-to-one ratio of gaseous hydrogen and oxygen propellants. This paper summarizes the state of the art in water electrolysis technologies and the supporting development programs at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Preliminary proof of concept test data from a fully integrated propulsion testbed are discussed. The technical challenges facing the development of the high-pressure water electrolysis system are discussed.

  12. Ionic liquid propellants: future fuels for space propulsion.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qinghua; Shreeve, Jean'ne M

    2013-11-11

    Use of green propellants is a trend for future space propulsion. Hypergolic ionic liquid propellants, which are environmentally-benign while exhibiting energetic performances comparable to hydrazine, have shown great potential to meet the requirements of developing nontoxic high-performance propellant formulations for space propulsion applications. This Concept article presents a review of recent advances in the field of ionic liquid propellants. PMID:24136866

  13. High Temperature Polymeric Materials for Space Transportation Propulsion Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meador, Michael A.; Campbell, Sandi G.; Chuang, Kathy C.; Scheimann, Daniel A.; Mintz, Eric; Hylton, Donald; Veazie, David; Criss, James; Kollmansberg, Ron; Tsotsis, Tom

    2003-01-01

    High temperature polymer matrix composites are attractive materials for space transporation propulsion systems because of their low density and high specific strength. However, the relatively poor stability and processability of these materials can render them unsuitable for many of these applications. New polymeric materials have been developed under the Propulsion Research and Technology Program through the use of novel resin chemistry and nanotechnology. These new materials can significantly enhance the durability and weight and improve the processability and affordability of propulsion components for advanced space transportation systems.

  14. Space Station propulsion - The Advanced Development Program at Lewis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, R. E.

    1985-01-01

    A reference configuration was established for the initial operating capability (IOC) station. The reference configuration has assumed hydrazine fueled thrusters as the propulsion system. This was to establish costing and as a reference for comparison when other propulsion systems are considered. An integral part of the plan to develop the Space Station is the advanced development program. The objective of this program is to provide advanced technology alternatives for the initial and evolutionary Space Station which optimize the system's functional characteristics in terms of performance, cost, and utilization. The portion of the Advanced Development Program that is concerned with auxiliary propulsion and the research and programmatic activities conducted are discussed.

  15. Space station propulsion: The advanced development program at Lewis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, R. E.

    1985-01-01

    A reference configuration was established for the initial operating capability (IOC) station. The reference configuration has assumed hydrazine fueled thrusters as the propulsion system. This was to establish costing and as a reference for comparison when other propulsion systems are considered. An integral part of the plan to develop the Space Station is the advanced development program. The objective of this program is to provide advanced technology alternatives for the initial and evolutionary Space Station which optimize the system's functional characteristics in terms of performance, cost, and utilization. The portion of the Advanced Development Program that is concerned with auxiliary propulsion and the research and programmatic activities conducted are discussed.

  16. A Plasmoid Thruster for Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koelfgen, Syri J.; Hawk, Clark W.; Eskridge, Richard; Smith, James W.; Martin, Adam K.

    2003-01-01

    There are a number of possible advantages to using accelerated plasmoids for in-space propulsion. A plasmoid is a compact plasma structure with an integral magnetic field. They have been studied extensively in controlled fusion research and are classified according to the relative strength of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic field (B(sub p), and B(sub t), respectively). An object with B(sub p), / B(sub t) much greater than 1 is classified as a Field Reversed Configuration (FRC); if B(sub p) approximately equal to B(sub t), it is called a Spheromak. The plasmoid thruster operates by producing FRC-like plasmoids and subsequently ejecting them from the device at a high velocity. The plasmoid is formed inside of a single-turn conical theta-pinch coil. As this process is inductive, there are no electrodes. Similar experiments have yielded plasmoid velocities of at least 50 km/s, and calculations indicate that velocities in excess of 100 km/s should be possible. This concept should be capable of producing Isp's in the range of 5,000 - 15,000 s with thrust densities on the order of 10(exp 5) N per square meters. The current experiment is designed to produce jet powers in the range of 5 - 10 kW, although the concept should be scalable to several MW's. The plasmoid mass and velocity will be measured with a variety of diagnostics, including internal and external B-dot probes, flux loops, Langmuir probes, high-speed cameras and a laser interferometer. Also of key importance will be measurements of the efficiency and mass utilization. Simulations of the plasmoid thruster using MOQUI, a time-dependent MHD code, will be carried out concurrently with experimental testing.

  17. PEGASUS: A multi-megawatt nuclear electric propulsion system

    SciTech Connect

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

    1986-01-01

    A propulsion system (The PEGASUS Drive) consisting of a magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster driven by a multimegawatt nuclear power system is proposed as the propulsion system for a manned Mars mission. The propulsion system described is based on a mission profile containing a 510-day burn time (for a mission time of approximately 1000 days). Electric propulsion systems have significant advantages over chemical systems, because of high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass. The thermal power for the PEGASUS Drive is supplied by a boiling liquid-metal fast reactor. The system consists of the reactor, reactor shielding, power conditioning, heat rejection, and MPD thruster subsystems. It is capable of providing a maximum of 8,5 megawatts of electrical power of which 6 megawatts is needed for the thruster system, 1.5 megawatts is available for spacecraft system operations and inflight mission applications, leaving the balance for power system operation.

  18. PEGASUS - A multi-megawatt nuclear electric propulsion system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1986-01-01

    A propulsion system (The PEGASUS Drive) consisting of a magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster driven by a multimegawatt nuclear power system is proposed as the propulsion system for a manned Mars mission. The propulsion system described is based on a mission profile containing a 510-day burn time (for a mission time of approximately 1000 days). Electric propulsion systems have significant advantages over chemical systems, because of high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass. The thermal power for the PEGASUS Drive is supplied by a boiling liquid-metal fast reactor. The system consists of the reactor, reactor shielding, power conditioning, heat rejection, and MPD thruster subsystems. It is capable of providing a maximum of 8.5 megawatts of electrical power of which 6 megawatts is needed for the thruster system, 1.5 megawatts is available for spacecraft system operations and inflight mission applications, leaving the balance for power system operation.

  19. High-Energy Space Propulsion Based on Magnetized Target Fusion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thio, Y. C. F.; Freeze, B.; Kirkpatrick, R. C.; Landrum, B.; Gerrish, H.; Schmidt, G. R.

    1999-01-01

    A conceptual study is made to explore the feasibility of applying magnetized target fusion (MTF) to space propulsion for omniplanetary travel. Plasma-jet driven MTF not only is highly amenable to space propulsion, but also has a number of very attractive features for this application: 1) The pulsed fusion scheme provides in situ a very dense hydrogenous liner capable of moderating the neutrons, converting more than 97% of the neutron energy into charged particle energy of the fusion plasma available for propulsion. 2) The fusion yield per pulse can be maintained at an attractively low level (< 1 GJ) despite a respectable gain in excess of 70. A compact, low-weight engine is the result. An engine with a jet power of 25 GW, a thrust of 66 kN, and a specific impulse of 77,000 s, can be achieved with an overall engine mass of about 41 metric tons, with a specific power density of 605 kW/kg, and a specific thrust density of 1.6 N/kg. The engine is rep-rated at 40 Hz to provide this power and thrust level. At a practical rep-rate limit of 200 Hz, the engine can deliver 128 GW jet power and 340 kN of thrust, at specific power and thrust density of 1,141 kW/kg and 3 N/kg respectively. 3) It is possible to operate the magnetic nozzle as a magnetic flux compression generator in this scheme, while attaining a high nozzle efficiency of 80% in converting the spherically radial momentum of the fusion plasma to an axial impulse. 4) A small fraction of the electrical energy generated from the flux compression is used directly to recharge the capacitor bank and other energy storage equipment, without the use of a highvoltage DC power supply. A separate electrical generator is not necessary. 5) Due to the simplicity of the electrical circuit and the components, involving mainly inductors, capacitors, and plasma guns, which are connected directly to each other without any intermediate equipment, a high rep-rate (with a maximum of 200 Hz) appears practicable. 6) All fusion related

  20. Space propulsion by fusion in a magnetic dipole

    SciTech Connect

    Teller, E.; Glass, A.J.; Fowler, T.K. ); Hasegawa, A. ); Santarius, J.F. . Fusion Technology Inst.)

    1991-07-15

    The unique advantages of fusion rocket propulsion systems for distant missions are explored using the magnetic dipole configurations as an example. The dipole is found to have features well suited to space applications. Parameters are presented for a system producing a specific power of kW/kg, capable of interplanetary flights to Mars in 90 days and to Jupiter in a year, and of extra-solar-system flights to 1000 astronomical units (the Tau mission) in 20 years. This is about 10 times better specific power performance than nuclear electric fission systems. Possibilities to further increase the specific power toward 10 kW/kg are discussed, as is an approach to implementing the concept through proof-testing on the moon. 20 refs., 14 figs., 2 tabs.

  1. Solar electric propulsion/instrument/subsystems interaction study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sellen, J. M., Jr.; Cole, R. K.; Kemp, R. F.; Hall, D. F.; Shelton, H.

    1973-01-01

    The interactive effects between a solar electric propulsion system and an electrically propelled scientific spacecraft were examined. The operation of the ion thrusters may impact upon the acquisition and interpretation of data by the science payload of the spacecraft. The effluents from the operation of the electric propulsion unit may also impact upon the operation of the various subsystems of the vehicle. Specific interactive effects were isolated where meaningful levels of interaction may occur. The level of impact upon elements of the science payload and other affected subsystems is examined, and avenues for the reduction or elimination of impact are defined.

  2. Overview on NASA's Advanced Electric Propulsion Concepts Activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1999-01-01

    Advanced electric propulsion research activities are currently underway that seek to addresses feasibility issues of a wide range of advanced concepts, and may result in the development of technologies that will enable exciting new missions within our solar system and beyond. Each research activity is described in terms of the present focus and potential future applications. Topics include micro-electric thrusters, electrodynamic tethers, high power plasma thrusters and related applications in materials processing, variable specific impulse plasma thrusters, pulsed inductive thrusters, computational techniques for thruster modeling, and advanced electric propulsion missions and systems studies.

  3. MOA: Magnetic Field Oscillating Amplified Thruster and its Application for Nuclear Electric and Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Frischauf, Norbert; Hettmer, Manfred; Grassauer, Andreas; Bartusch, Tobias; Koudelka, Otto

    2006-07-01

    More than 60 years after the later Nobel laureate Hannes Alfven had published a letter stating that oscillating magnetic fields can accelerate ionised matter via magneto-hydrodynamic interactions in a wave like fashion, the technical implementation of Alfven waves for propulsive purposes has been proposed, patented and examined for the first time by a group of inventors. The name of the concept, utilising Alfven waves to accelerate ionised matter for propulsive purposes, is MOA - Magnetic field Oscillating Amplified thruster. Alfven waves are generated by making use of two coils, one being permanently powered and serving also as magnetic nozzle, the other one being switched on and off in a cyclic way, deforming the field lines of the overall system. It is this deformation that generates Alfven waves, which are in the next step used to transport and compress the propulsive medium, in theory leading to a propulsion system with a much higher performance than any other electric propulsion system. Based on computer simulations, which were conducted to get a first estimate on the performance of the system, MOA is a highly flexible propulsion system, whose performance parameters might easily be adapted, by changing the mass flow and/or the power level. As such the system is capable to deliver a maximum specific impulse of 13116 s (12.87 mN) at a power level of 11.16 kW, using Xe as propellant, but can also be attuned to provide a thrust of 236.5 mN (2411 s) at 6.15 kW of power. While space propulsion is expected to be the prime application for MOA and is supported by numerous applications such as Solar and/or Nuclear Electric Propulsion or even as an 'afterburner system' for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, other terrestrial applications can be thought of as well, making the system highly suited for a common space-terrestrial application research and utilisation strategy. (authors)

  4. Guide to Flow Measurement for Electric Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frieman, Jason D.; Walker, Mitchell L. R.; Snyder, Steve

    2013-01-01

    In electric propulsion (EP) systems, accurate measurement of the propellant mass flow rate of gas or liquid to the thruster and external cathode is a key input in the calculation of thruster efficiency and specific impulse. Although such measurements are often achieved with commercial mass flow controllers and meters integrated into propellant feed systems, the variability in potential propellant options and flow requirements amongst the spectrum of EP power regimes and devices complicates meter selection, integration, and operation. At the direction of the Committee on Standards for Electric Propulsion Testing, a guide was jointly developed by members of the electric propulsion community to establish a unified document that contains the working principles, methods of implementation and analysis, and calibration techniques and recommendations on the use of mass flow meters in laboratory and spacecraft electric propulsion systems. The guide is applicable to EP devices of all types and power levels ranging from microthrusters to high-power ion engines and Hall effect thrusters. The establishment of a community standard on mass flow metering will help ensure the selection of the proper meter for each application. It will also improve the quality of system performance estimates by providing comprehensive information on the physical phenomena and systematic errors that must be accounted for during the analysis of flow measurement data. This paper will outline the standard methods and recommended practices described in the guide titled "Flow Measurement for Electric Propulsion Systems."

  5. Application of Molten Salt Reactor Technology to Nuclear Electric Propulsion Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patton, Bruce; Sorensen, Kirk; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and planetary surface power missions require reactors that are lightweight, operationally robust, and scalable in power for widely varying scientific mission objectives. Molten salt reactor technology meets all of these requirements and offers an interesting alternative to traditional gas cooled, liquid metal, and heat pipe space reactors.

  6. Natural environment design criteria for the Solar Electric Propulsion Stage (SEPS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, J. J.

    1975-01-01

    The natural environment design criteria are given for six different solar electric propulsion stage missions. These environment data include the neutral atmosphere; ionosphere, trapped radiation; free-space radiation environment; and meteoroid, asteroid, and comet environments. The electromagnetic radiation environment (direct, reflected, or scattered) at the planets and interplanetary regions is also included.

  7. Space station integrated propulsion and fluid systems study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bicknell, B.; Wilson, S.; Dennis, M.; Shepard, D.; Rossier, R.

    1988-01-01

    The program study was performed in two tasks: Task 1 addressed propulsion systems and Task 2 addressed all fluid systems associated with the Space Station elements, which also included propulsion and pressurant systems. Program results indicated a substantial reduction in life cycle costs through integrating the oxygen/hydrogen propulsion system with the environmental control and life support system, and through supplying nitrogen in a cryogenic gaseous supercritical or subcritical liquid state. A water sensitivity analysis showed that increasing the food water content would substantially increase the amount of water available for propulsion use and in all cases, the implementation of the BOSCH CO2 reduction process would reduce overall life cycle costs to the station and minimize risk. An investigation of fluid systems and associated requirements revealed a delicate balance between the individual propulsion and fluid systems across work packages and a strong interdependence between all other fluid systems.

  8. (abstract) A Solar Electric Propulsion Mission to the Moon and Beyond!

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Russell, C. T.; Pieters, C. M.; Konopliv, A.; Metzger, A.; Sercel, J.; Hickman, M.; Palac, D.; Sykes, M.

    1994-01-01

    The technological development of solar electric propulsion has advanced significantly over the last few years. Mission planners are now seriously studying which missions would benefit most from solar electric propulsion (SEP) and NASA's Solar System Exploration Division is contributing funding to ground and space qualification tests. In response to the impending release of NASA's Announcement of Opportunity for Discovery class planetary missions, we have undertaken a pre-Phase A study of a SEP mission to the Moon. This mission will not only return a wealth of new scientific data but will open up a whole new era of planetary exploration.

  9. Mars Mission Concepts: SAR and Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elsperman, M.; Klaus, K.; Smith, D. B.; Clifford, S. M.; Lawrence, S. J.

    2012-12-01

    Introduction: The time has come to leverage technology advances (including advances in autonomous operation and propulsion technology) to reduce the cost and increase the flight rate of planetary missions, while actively developing a scientific and engineering workforce to achieve national space objectives. Mission Science at Mars: A SAR imaging radar offers an ability to conduct high resolution investigations of the shallow (<10 m depth) subsurface of Mars, enabling identification of fine-scale layering within the Martian polar layered deposits (PLD), as well as the identification of pingos, investigations of polygonal terrain, and measurements of the thickness of mantling layers at non-polar latitudes. It would allow systematic near-surface prospecting, which is tremendously useful for human exploration purposes (in particular, the identification of accessible ice deposits and quantification of Martian regolith properties). Limited color capabilities in a notional high-resolution stereo imaging system would enable the generation of false color images, resulting in useful science results, and the stereo data could be reduced into high-resolution Digital Elevation Models uniquely useful for exploration planning and science purposes. Since the SAR and the notional high-resolution stereo imaging system would be huge data volume producers - to maximize the science return we are currently considering the usage of laser communications systems; this notional spacecraft represents one pathway to evaluate the utility of laser communications in planetary exploration while providing useful science return.. Mission Concept: Using a common space craft for multiple missions reduces costs. Solar electric propulsion (SEP) provides the flexibility required for multiple mission objectives. SEP provides the greatest payload advantage albeit at the sacrifice of mission time. Our concept involves using a SEP enabled space craft (Boeing 702SP) with a highly capable SAR imager that also

  10. COMPASS Final Report: Saturn Moons Orbiter Using Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP): Flagship Class Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; McGuire, Melissa L.

    2011-01-01

    The COllaborative Modeling and Parametric Assessment of Space Systems (COMPASS) team was approached by the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) In-Space Project to perform a design session to develop Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP) Spacecraft Conceptual Designs (with cost, risk, and reliability) for missions of three different classes: New Frontier s Class Centaur Orbiter (with Trojan flyby), Flagship, and Discovery. The designs will allow trading of current and future propulsion systems. The results will directly support technology development decisions. The results of the Flagship mission design are reported in this document

  11. Mission Concepts Enabled by Solar Electric Propulsion and Advanced Modular Power Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klaus, Kurt K.; Elsperman, M. S.; Rogers, F.

    2013-10-01

    Introduction: Over the last several years we have introduced a number of planetary mission concepts enabled by Solar Electric Propulsion and Advanced Modular Power systems. The Boeing 702 SP: Using a common spacecraft for multiple missions reduces costs. Solar electric propulsion (SEP) provides the flexibility required for multiple mission objectives. Hosted payloads allow launch and operations costs to be shared. Advanced Modular Power System (AMPS): The 702 SP for deep space is designed to be able to use the Advanced Modular Power System (AMPS) solar array, producing multi Kw power levels with significantly lower system mass than current solar power system technologies. Mission Concepts: Outer Planets. 1) Europa Explorer - Our studies demonstrate that New Frontiers-class science missions to the Jupiter and Saturn systems are possible with commercial solar powered spacecraft. 2) Trojan Tour -The mission objective is 1143 Odysseus, consistent with the Decadal Survey REP (Radioisotope Electric Propulsion) mission objective. Small Body. 1) NEO Precursor Mission - NEO missions benefit greatly by using high ISP (Specific Impulse) Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) coupled with high power generation systems. This concept further sets the stage for human exploration by doing the type of science exploration needed and flight demonstrating technology advances (high power generation, SEP). 2) Multiple NEO Rendezvous, Reconnaissance and In Situ Exploration - We propose a two spacecraft mission (Mother Ship and Small Body Lander) rendezvous with multiple Near Earth Objects (NEO). Mars. Our concept involved using the Boeing 702SP with a highly capable SAR imager that also conducts autonomous rendezvous and docking experiments accomplished from Mars orbit. Conclusion: Using advanced in-space power and propulsion technologies like High Power Solar Electric Propulsion provides enormous mission flexibility to execute baseline science missions and conduct Technology Demonstrations in

  12. Mission Concepts Enabled by Solar Electric Propulsion and Advanced Modular Power Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elsperman, M. S.; Klaus, K.; Rogers, F.

    2013-12-01

    Introduction: Over the last several years we have introduced a number of planetary mission concepts enabled by Solar Electric Propulsion and Advanced Modular Power systems. The Boeing 702 SP: Using a common spacecraft for multiple missions reduces costs. Solar electric propulsion (SEP) provides the flexibility required for multiple mission objectives. Hosted payloads allow launch and operations costs to be shared. Advanced Modular Power System (AMPS): The 702 SP for deep space is designed to be able to use the Advanced Modular Power System (AMPS) solar array, producing multi Kw power levels with significantly lower system mass than current solar power system technologies. Mission Concepts: Outer Planets. 1) Europa Explorer - Our studies demonstrate that New Frontiers-class science missions to the Jupiter and Saturn systems are possible with commercial solar powered spacecraft. 2) Trojan Tour -The mission objective is 1143 Odysseus, consistent with the Decadal Survey REP (Radioisotope Electric Propulsion) mission objective. Small Body. 1) NEO Precursor Mission - NEO missions benefit greatly by using high ISP (Specific Impulse) Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) coupled with high power generation systems. This concept further sets the stage for human exploration by doing the type of science exploration needed and flight demonstrating technology advances (high power generation, SEP). 2) Multiple NEO Rendezvous, Reconnaissance and In Situ Exploration - We propose a two spacecraft mission (Mother Ship and Small Body Lander) rendezvous with multiple Near Earth Objects (NEO). Mars. Our concept involved using the Boeing 702SP with a highly capable SAR imager that also conducts autonomous rendezvous and docking experiments accomplished from Mars orbit. Conclusion: Using advanced in-space power and propulsion technologies like High Power Solar Electric Propulsion provides enormous mission flexibility to execute baseline science missions and conduct Technology Demonstrations in

  13. Fission-Based Electric Propulsion for Interstellar Precursor Missions

    SciTech Connect

    HOUTS,MICHAEL G.; LENARD,ROGER X.; LIPINSKI,RONALD J.; PATTON,BRUCE; POSTON,DAVID; WRIGHT,STEVEN A.

    1999-11-03

    This paper reviews the technology options for a fission-based electric propulsion system for interstellar precursor missions. To achieve a total {Delta}V of more than 100 km/s in less than a decade of thrusting with an electric propulsion system of 10,000s Isp requires a specific mass for the power system of less than 35 kg/kWe. Three possible configurations are described: (1) a UZrH-fueled,NaK-cooled reactor with a steam Rankine conversion system,(2) a UN-fueled gas-cooled reactor with a recuperated Brayton conversion system, and (3) a UN-fueled heat pipe-cooled reactor with a recuperated Brayton conversion system. All three of these systems have the potential to meet the specific mass requirements for interstellar precursor missions in the near term. Advanced versions of a fission-based electric propulsion system might travel as much as several light years in 200 years.

  14. Cooling of high power generators and motors for electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szatkowski, J. L.

    1984-03-01

    This study reviews the history and development of marine electric propulsion drives, the types of electric propulsion, and the inherent losses which occur within the synchronous ac machines typically used for high-power propulsion systems. A thorough review of the literature pertaining to heat transfer in electrical machinery is made. In particular, the use of liquid cooling in various flow configurations, including buoyancy-driven thermosyphons and two-phase thermosyphons is analyzed. Forced-liquid cooling is feasible, but the required rotating seals are a problem in reliability. Closed-loop thermosyphon cooling appears feasible at high rotational speeds, although a secondary heat exchange through the shaft is required. Closed, two-phase thermosyphons and heat pipes are also feasible, but require forced-air circulation for heat rejection to the ambient. Since all of these concepts deserve additional attention, areas for further research and development are recommended.

  15. Systems Analysis Initiated for All-Electric Aircraft Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kohout, Lisa L.

    2003-01-01

    A multidisciplinary effort is underway at the NASA Glenn Research Center to develop concepts for revolutionary, nontraditional fuel cell power and propulsion systems for aircraft applications. There is a growing interest in the use of fuel cells as a power source for electric propulsion as well as an auxiliary power unit to substantially reduce or eliminate environmentally harmful emissions. A systems analysis effort was initiated to assess potential concepts in an effort to identify those configurations with the highest payoff potential. Among the technologies under consideration are advanced proton exchange membrane (PEM) and solid oxide fuel cells, alternative fuels and fuel processing, and fuel storage. Prior to this effort, the majority of fuel cell analysis done at Glenn was done for space applications. Because of this, a new suite of models was developed. These models include the hydrogen-air PEM fuel cell; internal reforming solid oxide fuel cell; balance-of-plant components (compressor, humidifier, separator, and heat exchangers); compressed gas, cryogenic, and liquid fuel storage tanks; and gas turbine/generator models for hybrid system applications. Initial mass, volume, and performance estimates of a variety of PEM systems operating on hydrogen and reformate have been completed for a baseline general aviation aircraft. Solid oxide/turbine hybrid systems are being analyzed. In conjunction with the analysis efforts, a joint effort has been initiated with Glenn s Computer Services Division to integrate fuel cell stack and component models with the visualization environment that supports the GRUVE lab, Glenn s virtual reality facility. The objective of this work is to provide an environment to assist engineers in the integration of fuel cell propulsion systems into aircraft and provide a better understanding of the interaction between system components and the resulting effect on the overall design and performance of the aircraft. Initially, three

  16. Human exploration of near earth asteroids: Mission analysis for chemical and electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herman, Jonathan F. C.; Zimmer, Aline K.; Reijneveld, Johannes P. J.; Dunlop, Kathryn L.; Takahashi, Yu; Tardivel, Simon; Scheeres, Daniel J.

    2014-11-01

    This paper presents a mission analysis comparison of human missions to asteroids using two distinct architectures. The objective is to determine if either architecture can reduce launch mass with respect to the other, while not sacrificing other performance metrics such as mission duration. One architecture relies on chemical propulsion, the traditional workhorse of space exploration. The second combines chemical and electric propulsion into a hybrid architecture that attempts to utilize the strengths of each, namely the short flight times of chemical propulsion and the propellant efficiency of electric propulsion. The architectures are thoroughly detailed, and accessibility of the known asteroid population is determined for both. The most accessible asteroids are discussed in detail. Aspects such as mission abort scenarios and vehicle reusability are also discussed. Ultimately, it is determined that launch mass can be greatly reduced with the hybrid architecture, without a notable increase in mission duration. This demonstrates that significant performance improvements can be introduced to the next step of human space exploration with realistic electric propulsion system capabilities. This leads to immediate cost savings for human exploration and simultaneously opens a path of technology development that leads to technologies enabling access to even further destinations in the future.

  17. Status and Perspectives of Electric Propulsion in Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svelto, F.; Marcuccio, S.; Matticari, G.

    2002-01-01

    Electric Propulsion (EP) is recognized as one of today's enabling technologies for scientific and commercial missions. In consideration of EP's major strategic impact on the near and long term scenarios, an EP development programme has been established within the Italian Space Agency (ASI), aimed at the development of a variety of propulsion capabilities covering different fields of application. This paper presents an overview of Electric Propulsion (EP) activities underway in Italy and outlines the planned development lines, both in research institutions and in industry. Italian EP activities are essentially concentrated in Pisa, at Centrospazio and Alta, and in Florence, at LABEN - Proel Tecnologie Division (LABEN/Proel). Centrospazio/Alta and LABEN/Proel have established a collaboration program for joint advanced developments in the EP field. Established in 1989, Centrospazio is a private research center closely related to the Department of Aerospace Engineering of Pisa University. Along the years, Centrospazio lines of development have included arcjets, magneto- plasma-dynamic thrusters, FEEP and Hall thrusters, as well as computational plasma dynamics and low-thrust mission studies. Alta, a small enterprise, was founded in 1999 to exploit in an industrial setting the results of research previously carried out at Centrospazio. Alta's activities include the development of micronewton and millinewton FEEP thrusters, and testing of high power Hall and ion thrusters in specialised facilities. A full micronewton FEEP propulsion system is being developed for the Microscope spacecraft, a scientific mission by CNES aimed at verification of the Equivalence Principle. FEEP will also fly on ASI's HypSEO, a technological demonstrator for Earth Observation, and is being considered for ESA's GOCE (geodesy) and SMART-2 (formation flying), as well as for the intended scientific spacecraft GG by ASI. The ASI-funded STEPS facility will be placed on an external site on the

  18. Electric-field mediated propulsion in binary colloidal suspensions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colon-Melendez, Laura; Spellings, Matthew; Glotzer, Sharon C.; Solomon, Michael J.

    We observe propulsion of pairs of unequally sized dielectric colloidal spheres in a plane perpendicular to the applied AC electric field. The fully reversible and reconfigurable effect is observed at different applied voltages and frequencies. Using confocal microscopy and particle tracking methods, we study the degree of active motion as a function of the number of particles in the dynamic clusters. The observed phenomenon is consistent with previous observations of asymmetric dumbbell propulsion in electric fields attributed to asymmetric electrohydrodynamic flow (Ma et al., PNAS 2015 112 (20) 6307-6312).

  19. Space Station benefits from ECLS - Propulsion system synergism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brennan, S. M.; Donovan, R. M.

    1986-01-01

    Benefits of integrating the Space Station Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) system with the propulsion system are addressed in this paper for various levels of ECLS closure. Effluents generated by the ECLS system are used to augment or even supplement the propulsion system. Potential benefits include reductions in logistic weights and volumes, fixed weights and volumes, power requirements, and in total station systems cost.

  20. Advanced electric propulsion system concept for electric vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raynard, A. E.; Forbes, F. E.

    1979-01-01

    Seventeen propulsion system concepts for electric vehicles were compared to determine the differences in components and battery pack to achieve the basic performance level. Design tradeoffs were made for selected configurations to find the optimum component characteristics required to meet all performance goals. The anticipated performance when using nickel-zinc batteries rather than the standard lead-acid batteries was also evaluated. The two systems selected for the final conceptual design studies included a system with a flywheel energy storage unit and a basic system that did not have a flywheel. The flywheel system meets the range requirement with either lead-acid or nickel-zinc batteries and also the acceleration of zero to 89 km/hr in 15 s. The basic system can also meet the required performance with a fully charged battery, but, when the battery approaches 20 to 30 percent depth of discharge, maximum acceleration capability gradually degrades. The flywheel system has an estimated life-cycle cost of $0.041/km using lead-acid batteries. The basic system has a life-cycle cost of $0.06/km. The basic system, using batteries meeting ISOA goals, would have a life-cycle cost of $0.043/km.

  1. Neptune Orbiters Utilizing Solar and Radioisotope Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fiehler, Douglas I.; Oleson, Steven R.

    2004-01-01

    In certain cases, Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP), used in conjunction with other propulsion systems, could be used to reduce the trip times for outer planetary orbiter spacecraft. It also has the potential to improve the maneuverability and power capabilities of the spacecraft when the target body is reached as compared with non-electric propulsion spacecraft. Current missions under study baseline aerocapture systems to capture into a science orbit after a Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) stage is jettisoned. Other options under study would use all REP transfers with small payloads. Compared to the SEP stage/Aerocapture scenario, adding REP to the science spacecraft as well as a chemical capture system can replace the aerocapture system but with a trip time penalty. Eliminating both the SEP stage and the aerocapture system and utilizing a slightly larger launch vehicle, Star 48 upper stage, and a combined REP/Chemical capture system, the trip time can nearly be matched while providing over a kilowatt of science power reused from the REP maneuver. A Neptune Orbiter mission is examined utilizing single propulsion systems and combinations of SEP, REP, and chemical systems to compare concepts.

  2. From the Rocket Equation to Maxwell's Equations: Electrodynamic Tether Propulsion Nears Space Test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Estes, Robert

    1999-01-01

    The US space program is facing a growing challenge to its decades-long, global leadership position, as current launch costs consume valuable resources and limit achievements in science, exploration, and commercial development. More than 40% of projected launches over the next 10 years have payloads with intended destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. Therefore, more cost-effective upper stages and on-board propulsion systems are critical elements in reducing total space transportation costs. A new type of space propulsion, using electrodynamic tethers, may be capable of performing multiple sequential missions without resupply and have a potential usable lifetime of several years. They may provide an in-space infrastructure that has a very low life cycle cost and greatly enhanced mission flexibility, thus supporting the goal of reducing the cost of access to space. Electrodynamic tether thrusters work by virtue of the force the Earth's magnetic field exerts on a wire carrying an electrical current. The effect is the basis for electric motors and generators. The Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System (ProSEDS) experiment, planned for launch in the summer of 2000, will demonstrate the use electrodynamic tether thrust by lowering the altitude of a Delta-H rocket's upper stage on which it will be flying. Applications of the technology include a passive deorbit system for spacecraft at their end-of-life, reusable Orbit Transfer Vehicles, propellantless reboost of the International Space Station, and propulsion and power generation for future missions to Jupiter.

  3. Status of NASA In-Space Propulsion Technologies and Their Infusion Potential

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, David; Pencil, Eric; Vento, Dan; Peterson, Todd; Dankanich, John; Hahne, David; Munk, Michelle

    2011-01-01

    Since 2001, the In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) program has been developing in-space propulsion technologies that will enable or enhance NASA robotic science missions. These in-space propulsion technologies have broad applicability to future competed Discovery and New Frontiers mission solicitations, and are potentially enabling for future NASA flagship and sample return missions currently being considered. This paper provides status of the technology development of several in-space propulsion technologies that are ready for infusion into future missions. The technologies that are ready for flight infusion are: 1) the high-temperature Advanced Material Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine providing higher performance; 2) NASA s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system, a 0.6-7 kW throttle-able gridded ion system; and 3) Aerocapture technology development with investments in a family of thermal protection system (TPS) materials and structures; guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) models of blunt-body rigid aeroshells; and aerothermal effect models. Two component technologies that will be ready for flight infusion in FY12/13 are 1) Advanced Xenon Flow Control System, and 2) ultra-lightweight propellant tank technology advancements and their infusion potential will be also discussed. The paper will also describe the ISPT project s future focus on propulsion for sample return missions: 1) Mars Ascent Vehicles (MAV); 2) multi-mission technologies for Earth Entry Vehicles (MMEEV) needed for sample return missions from many different destinations; and 3) electric propulsion for sample return and low cost missions. These technologies are more vehicle-focused, and present a different set of technology infusion challenges. Systems/Mission Analysis focused on developing tools and assessing the application of propulsion technologies to a wide variety of mission concepts.

  4. Blazing the trailway - Nuclear electric propulsion and its technology program plans

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doherty, Michael P.

    1991-01-01

    An overview is given of the plans for a program in nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) technology for outer space applications being considered by NASA, DOE, and DOD. Possible missions using NEP are examined, and NEP technology plans are addressed regarding concept development, systems engineering, nuclear fuels, power conversion, thermal management, power management and distribution, electric thrusters, facilities, and issues related to safety and environment. The programmatic characteristics are considered.

  5. Blazing the trailway: Nuclear electric propulsion and its technology program plans

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doherty, Michael P.

    1992-01-01

    An overview is given of the plans for a program in nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) technology for space applications being considered by NASA, DOE, and DOD. Possible missions using NEP are examined, and NEP technology plans are addressed regarding concept development, systems engineering, nuclear fuels, power conversion, thermal management, power management and distribution, electric thrusters, facilities, and issues related to safety and environment. The programmatic characteristics are considered.

  6. Feasibility study of a superconducting motor for electrical helicopter propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simons, C. A. B. A. E.; Sanabria-Walter, C.; Polinder, H.

    2014-05-01

    During the past decades, superconducting electrical machines have become more suitable to replace conventional iron based designs, because of their lower weight and higher torque density. These properties make them good candidates for use in More Electric Aircraft (MEA). Especially helicopter propulsion systems could benefit from the increased performance. This paper describes the feasibility study of a superconducting motor to be used for helicopter propulsion as part of a More Electric Aircraft (MEA). For this, the armature, field windings and cryostat are designed, aiming at meeting the difficult specifications. Since superconductors have virtually no electrical resistance when cooled down below a certain critical temperature, they can be used to build high field and low weight coils for electrical machines. Especially the possibility to not use iron can make the superconducting motor lighter with a higher power density compared with conventional Permanent Magnet (PM) motors.

  7. Advanced Electric Propulsion for RLV Launched Geosynchronous Spacecraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven

    1999-01-01

    Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) when used for station keeping and final orbit insertion has been shown to increase a geostationary satellite's payload when launched by existing expendable launch vehicles. In the case of reusable launch vehicles or expendable launch vehicles where an upper stage is an expensive option, this methodology can be modified by using the existing on-board apogee chemical system to perform a perigee burn and then letting the electric propulsion system complete the transfer to geostationary orbit. The elimination of upper stages using on-board chemical and electric propulsion systems was thus examined for GEO spacecraft. Launch vehicle step-down from an Atlas IIAR to a Delta 7920 (no upper stage) was achieved using expanded on-board chemical tanks, 40 kW payload power for electric propulsion, and a 60 day elliptical to GEO SEP orbit insertion. Optimal combined chemical and electric trajectories were found using SEPSPOT. While Hall and ion thrusters provided launch vehicle step-down and even more payload for longer insertion times, NH3 arcjets had insufficient performance to allow launch vehicle step-down. Degradation levels were only 5% to 7% for launch step-down cases using advanced solar arrays. Results were parameterized to allow comparisons for future reusable launch vehicles. Results showed that for an 8 W/kg initial power/launch mass power density spacecraft, 50% to 100% more payload can be launched using this method.

  8. Human Mars Transportation Applications Using Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donahue, Benjamin B.; Martin, Jim; Potter, Seth; Henley, Mark; Carrington, Connie (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Advanced solar electric power systems and electric propulsion technology constitute viable elements for conducting human Mars transfer missions that are roughly comparable in performance to similar missions utilizing alternative high thrust systems, with the one exception being their inability to achieve short Earth-Mars trip times. A modest solar electric propulsion human Mars scenario is presented that features the use of conjunction class trajectories in concert with pre-emplacement of surface assets that can be used in a series of visits to Mars. Major elements of the Mars solar electric transfer vehicle can be direct derivatives of present state-of-the-art Solar array and electric thruster systems. During the study, several elements affecting system performance were evaluated, including varying Earth orbit altitude for departure, recapturing the transfer stage at Earth for reuse, varying power system mass-to-power ratio, and assessing solar array degradation on performance induced by Van Allen belt passage. Comparisons are made to chemical propulsion and nuclear thermal propulsion Mars vehicles carrying similar payloads.

  9. Space nuclear power, propulsion, and related technologies.

    SciTech Connect

    Berman, Marshall

    1992-01-01

    Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) is one of the nation's largest research and development (R&D) facilities, with headquarters at Albuquerque, New Mexico; a laboratory at Livermore, California; and a test range near Tonopah, Nevada. Smaller testing facilities are also operated at other locations. Established in 1945, Sandia was operated by the University of California until 1949, when, at the request of President Truman, Sandia Corporation was formed as a subsidiary of Bell Lab's Western Electric Company to operate Sandia as a service to the U.S. Government without profit or fee. Sandia is currently operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by AT&T Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AT&T. Sandia's responsibility is national security programs in defense and energy with primary emphasis on nuclear weapon research and development (R&D). However, Sandia also supports a wide variety of projects ranging from basic materials research to the design of specialized parachutes. Assets, owned by DOE and valued at more than $1.2 billion, include about 600 major buildings containing about 372,000 square meters (m2) (4 million square feet [ft2]) of floor space, located on land totalling approximately 1460 square kilometers (km2) (562 square miles [mi]). Sandia employs about 8500 people, the majority in Albuquerque, with about 1000 in Livermore. Approximately 60% of Sandia's employees are in technical and scientific positions, and the remainder are in crafts, skilled labor, and administrative positions. As a multiprogram national laboratory, Sandia has much to offer both industrial and government customers in pursuing space nuclear technologies. The purpose of this brochure is to provide the reader with a brief summary of Sandia's technical capabilities, test facilities, and example programs that relate to military and civilian objectives in space. Sandia is interested in forming partnerships with industry and government organizations, and has already

  10. Structural Integrity and Durability of Reusable Space Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1985-01-01

    The space shuttle main engine (SSME), a reusable space propulsion system, is discussed. The advances in high pressure oxygen hydrogen rocket technology are reported to establish the basic technology and to develop new analytical tools for the evaluation in reusable rocket systems.

  11. Probabilistic structural analysis methods for space transportation propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chamis, C. C.; Moore, N.; Anis, C.; Newell, J.; Nagpal, V.; Singhal, S.

    1991-01-01

    Information on probabilistic structural analysis methods for space propulsion systems is given in viewgraph form. Information is given on deterministic certification methods, probability of failure, component response analysis, stress responses for 2nd stage turbine blades, Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) structural durability, and program plans. .

  12. Unibody Composite Pressurized Structure (UCPS) for In-Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rufer, Markus

    2015-01-01

    Microcosm, Inc., in conjunction with the Scorpius Space Launch Company, is developing a UCPS (Unibody Composite Pressurized Structure )for in-space propulsion. This innovative approach constitutes a clean break from traditional spacecraft design by combining what were traditionally separate primary and secondary support structures and metal propellant tanks into a single unit.

  13. A summary of EHV propulsion technology. [Electric and Hybrid Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schwartz, H. J.

    1983-01-01

    While the battery used by an electric vehicle is the primary determinant of range, and to a lesser extent of performance, the design of the vehicle's propulsion system establishes its performance level and is the greatest contributor to its purchase price. Propulsion system weight, efficiency and cost are related to the specific combination of components used. Attention is given to the development status of the U.S. Department of Energy's Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Program, through which propulsion component and system design improvements have been made which promise weight savings of 35-50 percent, efficiency gains of 25 percent, and lower costs, when compared to the state of the art at the program's inception.

  14. A High Power Solar Electric Propulsion - Chemical Mission for Human Exploration of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burke, Laura M.; Martini, Michael C.; Oleson, Steven R.

    2014-01-01

    Recently Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) as a main propulsion system has been investigated as an option to support manned space missions to near-Earth destinations for the NASA Gateway spacecraft. High efficiency SEP systems are able to reduce the amount of propellant long duration chemical missions require, ultimately reducing the required mass delivered to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) by a launch vehicle. However, for long duration interplanetary Mars missions, using SEP as the sole propulsion source alone may not be feasible due to the long trip times to reach and insert into the destination orbit. By combining an SEP propulsion system with a chemical propulsion system the mission is able to utilize the high-efficiency SEP for sustained vehicle acceleration and deceleration in heliocentric space and the chemical system for orbit insertion maneuvers and trans-earth injection, eliminating the need for long duration spirals. By capturing chemically instead of with low-thrust SEP, Mars stay time increases by nearly 200 days. Additionally, the size the of chemical propulsion system can be significantly reduced from that of a standard Mars mission because the SEP system greatly decreases the Mars arrival and departure hyperbolic excess velocities (V(sub infinity)).

  15. NASA-OAST/JPL high efficiency thermionic conversion studies. [nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1981-01-01

    Efforts were made to develop a thermionic energy conversion TEC technology appropriate for nuclear electric propulsion missions. This space TEC effort was complementary to the terrestrial TEC studies sponsored by the Department of Energy which had the goal of topping fossil fuel power plants. Thermionic energy conversion was a primary conversion option for space reactors because of its: (1) high operating temperature; (2) lack of moving parts; (3) modularity; (4) established technology; and (5) development potential.

  16. Solar Electric and Chemical Propulsion for a Titan Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cupples, Michael; Green, Shaun E.; Donahue, Benjamin B.; Coverstone, Victoria L.

    2005-01-01

    Systems analyses were performed for a Titan Explorer Mission characterized by Earth-Saturn transfer stages using solar electric power generation and propulsion systems for primary interplanetary propulsion, and chemical propulsion for capture at Titan. An examination of a range of system factors was performed to determine their effect on the payload delivery capability to Titan. The effect of varying launch vehicle type, solar array power level, ion thruster number, specific impulse, trip time, and Titan capture stage chemical propellant choice was investigated. The major purpose of the study was to demonstrate the efficacy of applying advanced ion propulsion system technologies like NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), coupled with state-of-the-art (SOA) and advanced chemical technologies to a Flagship class mission. This study demonstrated that a NASA Design Reference Mission (DRM) payload of 406 kg could be successfully delivered to Titan using the baseline advanced ion propulsion system in conjunction with SOA chemical propulsion for Titan capture. In addition, the SEPS/Chemical system of this study is compared to an all- chemical NASA DRM mission. Results showed that the NEXT- based SEPS/Chemical system was able to deliver the required payload to Titan in 5 years less transfer time and on a smaller launch vehicle than the SOA chemical option.

  17. IEC fusion: The future power and propulsion system for space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hammond, Walter E.; Coventry, Matt; Hanson, John; Hrbud, Ivana; Miley, George H.; Nadler, Jon

    2000-01-01

    Rapid access to any point in the solar system requires advanced propulsion concepts that will provide extremely high specific impulse, low specific power, and a high thrust-to-power ratio. Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion is one of many exciting concepts emerging through propulsion and power research in laboratories across the nation which will determine the future direction of space exploration. This is part of a series of papers that discuss different applications of the Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion concept for both in-space and terrestrial use. IEC will enable tremendous advances in faster travel times within the solar system. The technology is currently under investigation for proof of concept and transitioning into the first prototype units for commercial applications. In addition to use in propulsion for space applications, terrestrial applications include desalinization plants, high energy neutron sources for radioisotope generation, high flux sources for medical applications, proton sources for specialized medical applications, and tritium production. .

  18. Thermionic reactor power conditioner design for nuclear electric propulsion.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jacobsen, A. S.; Tasca, D. M.

    1971-01-01

    Consideration of the effects of various thermionic reactor parameters and requirements upon spacecraft power conditioning design. A basic spacecraft is defined using nuclear electric propulsion, requiring approximately 120 kWe. The interrelationships of reactor operating characteristics and power conditioning requirements are discussed and evaluated, and the effects on power conditioner design and performance are presented.

  19. 46 CFR 111.35-1 - Electrical propulsion installations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... CFR 110.10-1), except that each one for mobile offshore drilling units must meet the requirements in part 4, chapter 3, section 4/3.5.3 of ABS MODU Rules (incorporated by reference; see 46 CFR 110.10-1). ... 46 Shipping 4 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Electrical propulsion installations. 111.35-1...

  20. 46 CFR 111.35-1 - Electrical propulsion installations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... CFR 110.10-1), except that each one for mobile offshore drilling units must meet the requirements in part 4, chapter 3, section 4/3.5.3 of ABS MODU Rules (incorporated by reference; see 46 CFR 110.10-1). ... 46 Shipping 4 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Electrical propulsion installations. 111.35-1...

  1. 46 CFR 111.35-1 - Electrical propulsion installations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... CFR 110.10-1), except that each one for mobile offshore drilling units must meet the requirements in part 4, chapter 3, section 4/3.5.3 of ABS MODU Rules (incorporated by reference; see 46 CFR 110.10-1). ... 46 Shipping 4 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Electrical propulsion installations. 111.35-1...

  2. 46 CFR 111.35-1 - Electrical propulsion installations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... CFR 110.10-1), except that each one for mobile offshore drilling units must meet the requirements in part 4, chapter 3, section 4/3.5.3 of ABS MODU Rules (incorporated by reference; see 46 CFR 110.10-1). ... 46 Shipping 4 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Electrical propulsion installations. 111.35-1...

  3. Electric propulsion in Russia and its practical applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Popov, G. A.; Ryzhov, Y. A.

    1993-06-01

    The R&D of electric propulsion in Russia is discussed. Results of studies and tests on ion thrusters, arc thrusters, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, pulsed plasma thrusters, and stationary plasma thrusters are described. The significance of the results for spacecraft discharging are addressed.

  4. Variable-reluctance motors for electric vehicle propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Vallese, F.J.; Lang, J.H.

    1985-01-01

    This paper discusses the design, operation, and expected performance of a 60-kW variable-reluctance motor and inverter-designed for electric vehicle propulsion. To substantiate the performance of this system, experimental data obtained with a prototype 3.8-kW motor and inverter are provided.

  5. Design and Development of a 200-kW Turbo-Electric Distributed Propulsion Testbed

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Papathakis, Kurt V.; Kloesel, Kurt J.; Lin, Yohan; Clarke, Sean; Ediger, Jacob J.; Ginn, Starr

    2016-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) (Edwards, California) is developing a Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST) Testbed as part of the HEIST Project, to study power management and transition complexities, modular architectures, and flight control laws for turbo-electric distributed propulsion technologies using representative hardware and piloted simulations. Capabilities are being developed to assess the flight readiness of hybrid electric and distributed electric vehicle architectures. Additionally, NASA will leverage experience gained and assets developed from HEIST to assist in flight-test proposal development, flight-test vehicle design, and evaluation of hybrid electric and distributed electric concept vehicles for flight safety. The HEIST test equipment will include three trailers supporting a distributed electric propulsion wing, a battery system and turbogenerator, dynamometers, and supporting power and communication infrastructure, all connected to the AFRC Core simulation. Plans call for 18 high performance electric motors that will be powered by batteries and the turbogenerator, and commanded by a piloted simulation. Flight control algorithms will be developed on the turbo-electric distributed propulsion system.

  6. Propulsion Utilizing Laser-Driven Ponderomotive Fields for Deep-Space Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, George J.; Gilland, James H.

    2009-03-01

    The generation of large amplitude electric fields in plasmas by high-power lasers has been studied for several years in the context of high-energy particle acceleration. Fields on the order of GeV/m are generated in the plasma wake of the laser by non-linear ponderomotive forces. The laser fields generate longitudinal and translational electron plasma waves with phase velocities close to the speed of light. These fields and velocities offer the potential to revolutionize spacecraft propulsion, leading to extended deep space robotic probes. Based on these initial calculations, plasma acceleration by means of laser-induced ponderomotive forces appears to offer significant potential for spacecraft propulsion. Relatively high-efficiencies appear possible with proper beam conditioning, resulting in an order of magnitude more thrust than alternative concepts for high ISP (>105 s) and elimination of the primary life-limiting erosion phenomena associated with conventional electric propulsion systems. Ponderomotive propulsion readily lends itself to beamed power which might overcome some of the constraints of power-limited propulsion concepts. A preliminary assessment of the impact of these propulsion systems for several promising configurations on mission architectures has been conducted. Emphasizing interstellar and interstellar-precursor applications, performance and technical requirements are identified for a number of missions. The use of in-situ plasma and gas for propellant is evaluated as well.

  7. Propulsion Utilizing Laser-Driven Ponderomotive Fields for Deep-Space Missions

    SciTech Connect

    Williams, George J.; Gilland, James H.

    2009-03-16

    The generation of large amplitude electric fields in plasmas by high-power lasers has been studied for several years in the context of high-energy particle acceleration. Fields on the order of GeV/m are generated in the plasma wake of the laser by non-linear ponderomotive forces. The laser fields generate longitudinal and translational electron plasma waves with phase velocities close to the speed of light. These fields and velocities offer the potential to revolutionize spacecraft propulsion, leading to extended deep space robotic probes. Based on these initial calculations, plasma acceleration by means of laser-induced ponderomotive forces appears to offer significant potential for spacecraft propulsion. Relatively high-efficiencies appear possible with proper beam conditioning, resulting in an order of magnitude more thrust than alternative concepts for high I{sub SP} (>10{sup 5} s) and elimination of the primary life-limiting erosion phenomena associated with conventional electric propulsion systems. Ponderomotive propulsion readily lends itself to beamed power which might overcome some of the constraints of power-limited propulsion concepts. A preliminary assessment of the impact of these propulsion systems for several promising configurations on mission architectures has been conducted. Emphasizing interstellar and interstellar-precursor applications, performance and technical requirements are identified for a number of missions. The use of in-situ plasma and gas for propellant is evaluated as well.

  8. Extra-Zodiacal-Cloud Astronomy via Solar Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benson, Scott W.; Falck, Robert D.; Oleson, Steven R.; Greenhouse, Matthew A.; Kruk, Jeffrey W.; Gardner, Jonathan P.; Thronson, Harley A.; Vaughn, Frank J.; Fixsen, Dale J.

    2011-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion (SEP) is often considered as primary propulsion for robotic planetary missions, providing the opportunity to deliver more payload mass to difficult, high-delta-velocity destinations. However, SEP application to astrophysics has not been well studied. This research identifies and assesses a new application of SEP as primary propulsion for low-cost high-performance robotic astrophysics missions. The performance of an optical/infrared space observatory in Earth orbit or at the Sun-Earth L2 point (SEL2) is limited by background emission from the Zodiacal dust cloud that has a disk morphology along the ecliptic plane. By delivering an observatory to a inclined heliocentric orbit, most of this background emission can be avoided, resulting in a very substantial increase in science performance. This advantage enabled by SEP allows a small-aperture telescope to rival the performance of much larger telescopes located at SEL2. In this paper, we describe a novel mission architecture in which SEP technology is used to enable unprecedented telescope sensitivity performance per unit collecting area. This extra-zodiacal mission architecture will enable a new class of high-performance, short-development time, Explorer missions whose sensitivity and survey speed can rival flagship-class SEL2 facilities, thus providing new programmatic flexibility for NASA's astronomy mission portfolio. A mission concept study was conducted to evaluate this application of SEP. Trajectory analyses determined that a 700 kg-class science payload could be delivered in just over 2 years to a 2 AU mission orbit inclined 15 to the ecliptic using a 13 kW-class NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) SEP system. A mission architecture trade resulted in a SEP stage architecture, in which the science spacecraft separates from the stage after delivery to the mission orbit. The SEP stage and science spacecraft concepts were defined in collaborative engineering environment studies. The

  9. Power Requirements Determined for High-Power-Density Electric Motors for Electric Aircraft Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Dexter; Brown, Gerald V.

    2005-01-01

    Future advanced aircraft fueled by hydrogen are being developed to use electric drive systems instead of gas turbine engines for propulsion. Current conventional electric motor power densities cannot match those of today s gas turbine aircraft engines. However, if significant technological advances could be made in high-power-density motor development, the benefits of an electric propulsion system, such as the reduction of harmful emissions, could be realized.

  10. Advanced Space Transportation Concepts and Propulsion Technologies for a New Delivery Paradigm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robinson, John W.; McCleskey, Carey M.; Rhodes, Russel E.; Lepsch, Roger A.; Henderson, Edward M.; Joyner, Claude R., III; Levack, Daniel J. H.

    2013-01-01

    This paper describes Advanced Space Transportation Concepts and Propulsion Technologies for a New Delivery Paradigm. It builds on the work of the previous paper "Approach to an Affordable and Productive Space Transportation System". The scope includes both flight and ground system elements, and focuses on their compatibility and capability to achieve a technical solution that is operationally productive and also affordable. A clear and revolutionary approach, including advanced propulsion systems (advanced LOX rich booster engine concept having independent LOX and fuel cooling systems, thrust augmentation with LOX rich boost and fuel rich operation at altitude), improved vehicle concepts (autogeneous pressurization, turbo alternator for electric power during ascent, hot gases to purge system and keep moisture out), and ground delivery systems, was examined. Previous papers by the authors and other members of the Space Propulsion Synergy Team (SPST) focused on space flight system engineering methods, along with operationally efficient propulsion system concepts and technologies. This paper continues the previous work by exploring the propulsion technology aspects in more depth and how they may enable the vehicle designs from the previous paper. Subsequent papers will explore the vehicle design, the ground support system, and the operations aspects of the new delivery paradigm in greater detail.

  11. Advanced Fusion Reactors for Space Propulsion and Power Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Chapman, John J.

    2011-06-15

    In recent years the methodology proposed for conversion of light elements into energy via fusion has made steady progress. Scientific studies and engineering efforts in advanced fusion systems designs have introduced some new concepts with unique aspects including consideration of Aneutronic fuels. The plant parameters for harnessing aneutronic fusion appear more exigent than those required for the conventional fusion fuel cycle. However aneutronic fusion propulsion plants for Space deployment will ultimately offer the possibility of enhanced performance from nuclear gain as compared to existing ionic engines as well as providing a clean solution to Planetary Protection considerations and requirements. Proton triggered 11Boron fuel (p- 11B) will produce abundant ion kinetic energy for In-Space vectored thrust. Thus energetic alpha particles' exhaust momentum can be used directly to produce high Isp thrust and also offer possibility of power conversion into electricity. p-11B is an advanced fusion plant fuel with well understood reaction kinematics but will require some new conceptual thinking as to the most effective implementation.

  12. Advanced Fusion Reactors for Space Propulsion and Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chapman, John J.

    2011-01-01

    In recent years the methodology proposed for conversion of light elements into energy via fusion has made steady progress. Scientific studies and engineering efforts in advanced fusion systems designs have introduced some new concepts with unique aspects including consideration of Aneutronic fuels. The plant parameters for harnessing aneutronic fusion appear more exigent than those required for the conventional fusion fuel cycle. However aneutronic fusion propulsion plants for Space deployment will ultimately offer the possibility of enhanced performance from nuclear gain as compared to existing ionic engines as well as providing a clean solution to Planetary Protection considerations and requirements. Proton triggered 11Boron fuel (p- 11B) will produce abundant ion kinetic energy for In-Space vectored thrust. Thus energetic alpha particles "exhaust" momentum can be used directly to produce high ISP thrust and also offer possibility of power conversion into electricity. p- 11B is an advanced fusion plant fuel with well understood reaction kinematics but will require some new conceptual thinking as to the most effective implementation.

  13. DC link stabilized field oriented control of electric propulsion systems

    SciTech Connect

    Sudhoff, S.D.; Corzine, K.A.; Glover, S.F.; Hegner, H.J.; Robey, H.N. Jr.

    1998-03-01

    Induction motor based electric propulsion systems can be used in a wide variety of applications including locomotives, hybrid electric vehicles, and ships. Field oriented control of these drives is attractive since it allows the torque to be tightly and nearly instantaneously controlled. However, such systems can be prone to negative impedance instability of the DC link. This paper examines this type of instability and sets forth a readily implemented albeit nonlinear control strategy to mitigate this potential problem.

  14. Asteroids as Propulsion Systems of Space Ships

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bolonkin, Alexander

    2003-01-01

    Currently, rockets are used to change the trajectory of space ships and probes. This method is very expensive and requires a lot of fuel, which limits the feasibility of space stations, interplanetary space ships, and probes. Sometimes space probes use the gravity field of a planet However, there am only nine planets in the Solar System, all separated by great distances. There are tons of millions of asteroids in outer space. This paper offers a revolutionary method for changing the trajectory of space probes. The method uses the kinetic or rotary energy of asteroids, comet nuclei, meteorites or other space bodies (small planets, natural planetary satellites, space debris, etc.) to increase (to decrease) ship (probe) speed up to 1000 m/sec (or more) and to achieve any new direction in outer space. The flight possibilities of space ships and probes are increased by a factor of millions.

  15. Primary propulsion/large space system interaction study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coyner, J. V.; Dergance, R. H.; Robertson, R. I.; Wiggins, J. V.

    1981-01-01

    An interaction study was conducted between propulsion systems and large space structures to determine the effect of low thrust primary propulsion system characteristics on the mass, area, and orbit transfer characteristics of large space systems (LSS). The LSS which were considered would be deployed from the space shuttle orbiter bay in low Earth orbit, then transferred to geosynchronous equatorial orbit by their own propulsion systems. The types of structures studied were the expandable box truss, hoop and column, and wrap radial rib each with various surface mesh densities. The impact of the acceleration forces on system sizing was determined and the effects of single point, multipoint, and transient thrust applications were examined. Orbit transfer strategies were analyzed to determine the required velocity increment, burn time, trip time, and payload capability over a range of final acceleration levels. Variables considered were number of perigee burns, delivered specific impulse, and constant thrust and constant acceleration modes of propulsion. Propulsion stages were sized for four propellant combinations; oxygen/hydrogen, oxygen/methane, oxygen/kerosene, and nitrogen tetroxide/monomethylhydrazine, for pump fed and pressure fed engine systems. Two types of tankage configurations were evaluated, minimum length to maximize available payload volume and maximum performance to maximize available payload mass.

  16. Performance testing of the AC propulsion ELX electric vehicle

    SciTech Connect

    Kramer, W.E.; MacDowall, R.D.; Burke, A.F.

    1994-06-01

    Performance testing of the AC Propulsion ELX electric vehicle is described. Test data are presented and analyzed. The ELX vehicle is the first of a series of electric vehicles of interest to the California Air Resources Board. The test series is being conducted under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the US Department of energy and the California Air Resources Board. The tests which were conducted showed that the AC Propulsion ELX electric vehicle has exceptional acceleration and range performance. when the vehicle`s battery was fully charged, the vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h in about 10 seconds. Energy consumption and range tests using consecutive FUDS and HWFET Driving cycles (the all-electric cycle) indicate that the energy economy of the AC Propulsion ELX electric vehicle with regenerative braking is 97 W{center_dot}h/km, with a range of 153 km (95 miles). Computer simulations performed using the SIMPLEV Program indicate that the vehicle would have a range of 327 km (203 miles) on the all-electric cycle if the lead acid batteries were replaced with NiMH batteries having an energy density of 67 W{center_dot}h/kg. Comparisons of FUDS test data with and without regenerative braking indicated that regenerative braking reduced the energy consumption of the ELX vehicle by approximately 25%.

  17. Performance testing of the AC propulsion ELX electric vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kramer, W. E.; MacDowall, R. D.; Burke, A. F.

    1994-06-01

    Performance testing of the AC Propulsion ELX electric vehicle is described. Test data are presented and analyzed. The ELX vehicle is the first of a series of electric vehicles of interest to the California Air Resources Board. The test series is being conducted under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the US Department of energy and the California Air Resources Board. The tests which were conducted showed that the AC Propulsion ELX electric vehicle has exceptional acceleration and range performance. When the vehicle's battery was fully charged, the vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h in about 10 seconds. Energy consumption and range tests using consecutive FUDS and HWFET Driving cycles (the all-electric cycle) indicate that the energy economy of the AC Propulsion ELX electric vehicle with regenerative braking is 97 W(center dot)h/km, with a range of 153 km (95 miles). Computer simulations performed using the SIMPLEV Program indicate that the vehicle would have a range of 327 km (203 miles) on the all-electric cycle if the lead acid batteries were replaced with NiMH batteries having an energy density of 67 W(center dot)h/kg. Comparisons of FUDS test data with and without regenerative braking indicated that regenerative braking reduced the energy consumption of the ELX vehicle by approximately 25%.

  18. A nuclear electric propulsion vehicle for planetary exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pawlik, E. V.; Phillips, W. M.

    1976-01-01

    A study is currently underway at JPL to design a nuclear electric-propulsion vehicle capable of performing detailed exploration of the outer planets. Evaluation of the design indicates that it is also applicable to orbit raising. Primary emphasis is on the power subsystem. Work on the design of the power system, the mission rationale, and preliminary spacecraft design are summarized. A propulsion system at a 400-kWe power level with a specific weight goal of no more than 25-kg/kW was selected for this study. The results indicate that this goal can be realized along with compatibility with the shuttle launch-vehicle constraints.

  19. Design synthesis of the SEPS. [Solar Electric Propulsion Stage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Horio, S. P.; Watkins, C. L.; Shollenberger, J. M.

    1975-01-01

    This paper summarizes the most current configuration of the Solar Electric Propulsion Stage (SEPS) design resulting from the synthesis of key tradeoff analyses. The baseline SEPS is a 21-kW propulsion-power vehicle using the Shuttle/Interim Upper Stage (IUS) launch vehicle for planetary and geosynchronous missions. The trade analyses supporting the baseline configuration include ion thruster array pattern, solar array stowage concepts, and number of thrusters and power processors (PP). In addition, an integrated thermal control and structural system was optimized and designed to meet flight loads and dynamics requirements. Payload provisions, mercury propellant refueling, and design compatibility of the SEPS and Shuttle/IUS are presented.

  20. Cost-effective technology advancement directions for electric propulsion transportation systems in earth-orbital missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Regetz, J. D., Jr.; Terwilliger, C. H.

    1979-01-01

    The directions that electric propulsion technology should take to meet the primary propulsion requirements for earth-orbital missions in the most cost effective manner are determined. The mission set requirements, state of the art electric propulsion technology and the baseline system characterized by it, adequacy of the baseline system to meet the mission set requirements, cost optimum electric propulsion system characteristics for the mission set, and sensitivities of mission costs and design points to system level electric propulsion parameters are discussed. The impact on overall costs than specific masses or costs of propulsion and power systems is evaluated.