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Sample records for advanced nuclear propulsion

  1. Advanced nuclear thermal propulsion concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howe, Steven D.

    1993-01-01

    In 1989, a Presidential directive created the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) which had a goal of placing mankind on Mars in the early 21st century. The SEI was effectively terminated in 1992 with the election of a new administration. Although the initiative did not exist long enough to allow substantial technology development, it did provide a venue, for the first time in 20 years, to comprehensively evaluate advanced propulsion concepts which could enable fast, manned transits to Mars. As part of the SEI based investigations, scientists from NASA, DoE National Laboratories, universities, and industry met regularly and proceeded to examine a variety of innovative ideas. Most of the effort was directed toward developing a solid-core, nuclear thermal rocket and examining a high-power nuclear electric propulsion system. In addition, however, an Innovative Concepts committee was formed and charged with evaluating concepts that offered a much higher performance but were less technologically mature. The committee considered several concepts and eventually recommended that further work be performed in the areas of gas core fission rockets, inertial confinement fusion systems, antimatter based rockets, and gas core fission electric systems. Following the committee's recommendations, some computational modeling work has been performed at Los Alamos in certain of these areas and critical issues have been identified.

  2. 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).

  3. The NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Mitchell, Doyce P.; Kim, Tony; Emrich, William J.; Hickman, Robert R.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Doughty, Glen; Belvin, Anthony; Clement, Steven; Borowski, Stanley K.; Scott, John; Power, Kevin P.

    2015-01-01

    The fundamental capability of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is game changing for space exploration. A first generation NTP system could provide high thrust at a specific impulse (Isp) 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 a first generation NTP in the development of advanced nuclear propulsion systems could be analogous to the role of the DC-3 in the development of advanced aviation systems.

  4. Advanced Filter Technology For Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Castillon, Erick

    2015-01-01

    The Scrubber System focuses on using HEPA filters and carbon filtration to purify the exhaust of a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion engine of its aerosols and radioactive particles; however, new technology may lend itself to alternate filtration options, which may lead to reduction in cost while at the same time have the same filtering, if not greater, filtering capabilities, as its predecessors. Extensive research on various types of filtration methods was conducted with only four showing real promise: ionization, cyclonic separation, classic filtration, and host molecules. With the four methods defined, more research was needed to find the devices suitable for each method. Each filtration option was matched with a device: cyclonic separators for the method of the same name, electrostatic separators for ionization, HEGA filters, and carcerands for the host molecule method. Through many hours of research, the best alternative for aerosol filtration was determined to be the electrostatic precipitator because of its high durability against flow rate and its ability to cleanse up to 99.99% of contaminants as small as 0.001 micron. Carcerands, which are the only alternative to filtering radioactive particles, were found to be non-existent commercially because of their status as a "work in progress" at research institutions. Nevertheless, the conclusions after the research were that HEPA filters is recommended as the best option for filtering aerosols and carbon filtration is best for filtering radioactive particles.

  5. 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,

  6. Advanced design concepts in nuclear electric propulsion. [and spacecraft configurations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peelgren, M. L.; Mondt, J. F.

    1974-01-01

    Conceptual designs of the nuclear propulsion programs are reported. Major areas of investigation were (1) design efforts on spacecraft configuration and heat rejection subsystem, (2) high-voltage thermionic reactor concepts, and (3) dual-mode spacecraft configuration study.

  7. Advances in NASA's Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peecook, Keith M.; Stone, James R.

    1993-01-01

    The status of the Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) project for space exploration and the future plans for NTP technology are discussed. Current activities in the framework of the NTP project deal with nonnuclear material tests; instrumentation, controls, and health management; turbopumps; nozzles and nozzle extension; and an exhaust plume.

  8. Nuclear powered Mars cargo transport mission utilizing advanced ion propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Galecki, D.L.; Patterson, M.J.

    1987-01-01

    Nuclear-powered ion propulsion technology was combined with detailed trajectory analysis to determine propulsion system and trajectory options for an unmanned cargo mission to Mars in support of manned Mars missions. A total of 96 mission scenarios were identified by combining two power levels, two propellants, four values of specific impulse per propellant, three starting altitudes, and two starting velocities. Sixty of these scenarios were selected for a detailed trajectory analysis; a complete propulsion system study was then conducted for 20 of these trajectories. Trip times ranged from 344 days for a xenon propulsion system operating at 300 kW total power and starting from lunar orbit with escape velocity, to 770 days for an argon propulsion system operating at 300 kW total power and starting from nuclear start orbit with circular velocity. Trip times for the 3 MW cases studied ranged from 356 to 413 days. Payload masses ranged from 5700 to 12,300 kg for the 300 kW power level, and from 72,200 to 81,500 kg for the 3 MW power level.

  9. Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael 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 NEP.

  10. Advanced hybrid nuclear propulsion Mars mission performance enhancement

    SciTech Connect

    Dagle, J.E.; Noffsinger, K.E.; Segna, D.R.

    1992-02-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), compared with chemical and nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), can effectively deliver the same mass to Mars using much less propellant, consequently requiring less mass delivered to Earth orbit. The lower thrust of NEP requires a spiral trajectory near planetary bodies, which significantly increases the travel time. Although the total travel time is long, the portion of the flight time spent during interplanetary transfer is shorter, because the vehicle is thrusting for much longer periods of time. This has led to the supposition that NEP, although very attractive for cargo missions, is not suitable for piloted missions to Mars. However, with the application of a hybrid approach to propulsion, the benefits of NEP can be utilized while drastically reducing the overall travel time required. Development of a dual-mode system, which utilizes high-thrust NTP to propel the spacecraft from the planetary gravitational influence and low-thrust NEP to accelerate in interplanetary space, eliminates the spiral trajectory and results in a much faster transit time than could be obtained by either NEP or NTP alone. This results in a mission profile with a lower initial mass in low Earth orbit. In addition, the propulsion system would have the capability to provide electrical power for mission applications.

  11. Advanced Ceramics for Use as Fuel Element Materials in Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valentine, Peter G.; Allen, Lee R.; Shapiro, Alan P.

    2012-01-01

    With the recent start (October 2011) of the joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) Program, there is renewed interest in developing advanced ceramics for use as fuel element materials in nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems. Three classes of fuel element materials are being considered under the NCPS Program: (a) graphite composites - consisting of coated graphite elements containing uranium carbide (or mixed carbide), (b) cermets (ceramic/metallic composites) - consisting of refractory metal elements containing uranium oxide, and (c) advanced carbides consisting of ceramic elements fabricated from uranium carbide and one or more refractory metal carbides [1]. The current development effort aims to advance the technology originally developed and demonstrated under Project Rover (1955-1973) for the NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) [2].

  12. The Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Kim, Tony; Emrich, William J.; Hickman, Robert R.; Broadway, Jeramie W.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Doughty, Glen; Belvin, Anthony; Borowski, Stanley K.; Scott, John

    2014-01-01

    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). Nuclear propulsion can be affordable and viable compared to other propulsion systems and must overcome a biased public fear due to hyper-environmentalism and a false perception of radiation and explosion risk.

  13. Nuclear concepts/propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Thomas J.

    1993-01-01

    Nuclear thermal and nuclear electric propulsion systems will enable and/or enhance important space exploration missions to the moon and Mars. Current efforts are addressing certain research areas, although NASA and DOE still have much work yet to do. Relative to chemical systems, nuclear thermal propulsion offers the potential of reduced vehicle weight, wider launch windows. and shorter transit times, even without aerobrakes. This would improve crew safety by reducing their exposure to cosmic radiation. Advanced materials and structures will be an important resource in responding to the challenges posed by safety and test facility requirements, environmental concerns, high temperature fuels and the high radiation, hot hydrogen environment within nuclear thermal propulsion systems. Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) has its own distinct set of advantages relative to chemical systems. These include low resupply mass, the availability of large amounts of onboard electric power for other uses besides propulsion, improved launch windows, and the ability to share technology with surface power systems. Development efforts for NEP reactors will emphasize long life operation of compact designs. This will require designs that provide high fuel burnup and high temperature operation along with personnel and environmental safety.

  14. The Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Kim, Tony; Emrich, William J.; Hickman, Robert R.; Broadway, Jeramie W.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Doughty, Glen; Belvin, Anthony; Borowski, Stanley K.; Scott, John

    2014-01-01

    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. Progres made under the NCPS project could help enable both advanced NTP and advanced Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP).

  15. NASA's Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Mitchell, Doyce P.; Kim, Tony; Emrich, William J.; Hickman, Robert R.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Doughty, Glen; Belvin, Anthony; Clement, Steven; Borowski, Stanley K.; Scott, John; Power, Kevin P.

    2015-01-01

    The fundamental capability of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is game changing for space exploration. A first generation NTP system 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 a first generation NTP 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 NTP project could also help enable high performance fission power systems and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP).

  16. 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.

  17. Nuclear gas core propulsion research program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Diaz, Nils J.; Dugan, Edward T.; Anghaie, Samim

    1993-01-01

    Viewgraphs on the nuclear gas core propulsion research program are presented. The objectives of this research are to develop models and experiments, systems, and fuel elements for advanced nuclear thermal propulsion rockets. The fuel elements under investigation are suitable for gas/vapor and multiphase fuel reactors. Topics covered include advanced nuclear propulsion studies, nuclear vapor thermal rocket (NVTR) studies, and ultrahigh temperature nuclear fuels and materials studies.

  18. 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

  19. Advanced Chemical Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alexander, Leslie, Jr.

    2006-01-01

    Advanced Chemical Propulsion (ACP) provides near-term incremental improvements in propulsion system performance and/or cost. It is an evolutionary approach to technology development that produces useful products along the way to meet increasingly more demanding mission requirements while focusing on improving payload mass fraction to yield greater science capability. Current activities are focused on two areas: chemical propulsion component, subsystem, and manufacturing technologies that offer measurable system level benefits; and the evaluation of high-energy storable propellants with enhanced performance for in-space application. To prioritize candidate propulsion technology alternatives, a variety of propulsion/mission analyses and trades have been conducted for SMD missions to yield sufficient data for investment planning. They include: the Advanced Chemical Propulsion Assessment; an Advanced Chemical Propulsion System Model; a LOx-LH2 small pumps conceptual design; a space storables propellant study; a spacecraft cryogenic propulsion study; an advanced pressurization and mixture ratio control study; and a pump-fed vs. pressure-fed study.

  20. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP)

    NASA Video Gallery

    NASA's history with nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) technology goes back to the earliest days of the Agency. The Manned Lunar Rover Vehicle and the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications p...

  1. Brayton Power Conversion System Study to Advance Technology Readiness for Nuclear Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, Bog; Delventhal, Rex; Frye, Patrick

    2004-01-01

    Recently, there has been significant interest within the aerospace community to develop space based nuclear power conversion technologies especially for exploring the outer planets of our solar system where the solar energy density is very low. To investigate these technologies NASA awarded several contracts under Project Prometheus, the Nuclear Systems Program. The studies described in this paper were performed under one of those contracts, which was to investigate the use of a nuclear power conversion system based on the closed Brayton cycle (CBC).The investigation performed included BPCS (Brayton Power Conversion System) trade studies to minimize system weight and radiator area and advance the state of the art of BPCS technology. The primary requirements for studies were a power level of 100 kWe (to the PPU), a low overall power system mass and a lifetime of 15 years (10 years full power). For the radiation environment, the system was to be capable of operation in the generic space environment and withstand the extreme environments surrounding Jupiter. The studies defined a BPCS design traceable to NEP (Nuclear Electric Propulsion) requirements and suitable for future missions with a sound technology plan for technology readiness level (TRL) advancement identified. The studies assumed a turbine inlet temperature approx. 100 C above the current the state of the art capabilities with materials issues and related development tasks identified. Analyses and evaluations of six different HRS (heat rejection system) designs and three primary power management and distribution (PMAD) configurations will be discussed in the paper.

  2. Brayton Power Conversion System Study to Advance Technology Readiness for Nuclear Electric Propulsion - Phase I

    SciTech Connect

    Frye, Patrick E.; Allen, Robert; Delventhal, Rex

    2005-02-06

    To investigate and mature space based nuclear power conversion technologies NASA awarded several contracts under Prometheus, the Nuclear Systems Program. The studies described in this paper were performed under one of those contracts, which was to investigate the use of a nuclear power conversion system based on the closed Brayton cycle (CBC). The conceptual design effort performed included BPCS (Brayton power conversion system) trade studies to minimize system weight and radiator area and advance the state of the art of BPCS technology. The primary requirements for studies were a power level of 100 kWe (to the PPU), a low overall power system mass (with a target of less than 3000 kg), and a lifetime of 15 years (10 years full power). For the radiation environment, the system was to operate in the generic space environment and withstand the extreme environments within the Jovian system. The studies defined a BPCS design traceable to NBP (Nuclear Electric Propulsion) requirements and suitable for future potential missions with a sound technology plan for TRL (Technical Readiness Level) advancement identified. The studies assumed a turbine inlet temperature {approx} 100C above the current the state of the art capabilities with materials issues identified and an approach for resolution developed. Analyses and evaluations of six HRS (heat rejection subsystem) concepts and PMAD (Power Management and Distribution) architecture trades will be discussed in the paper.

  3. Advanced subsonic transport propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nored, D. L.; Ciepluch, C. C.; Chamberlain, R.; Meleason, E. T.; Kraft, G. A.

    1981-01-01

    A brief review of the current NASA Energy Efficient Engine (E(3)) Project is presented. Included in this review are the factors that influenced the design of these turbofan engines and the advanced technology incorporated in them to reduce fuel consumption and improve environmental characteristics. In addition, factors such as the continuing spiral in fuel cost, that could influence future aircraft propulsion systems beyond those represented by the E(3) engines, are also discussed. Advanced technologies that will address these influencing factors and provide viable future propulsion systems are described. The potential importance of other propulsion system types, such as geared fans and turboshaft engines, is presented.

  4. Advanced Space Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1996-01-01

    This presentation describes a number of advanced space propulsion technologies with the potential for meeting the need for dramatic reductions in the cost of access to space, and the need for new propulsion capabilities to enable bold new space exploration (and, ultimately, space exploitation) missions of the 21st century. For example, current Earth-to-orbit (e.g., low Earth orbit, LEO) launch costs are extremely high (ca. $10,000/kg); a factor 25 reduction (to ca. $400/kg) will be needed to produce the dramatic increases in space activities in both the civilian and government sectors identified in the Commercial Space Transportation Study (CSTS). Similarly, in the area of space exploration, all of the relatively 'easy' missions (e.g., robotic flybys, inner solar system orbiters and landers; and piloted short-duration Lunar missions) have been done. Ambitious missions of the next century (e.g., robotic outer-planet orbiters/probes, landers, rovers, sample returns; and piloted long-duration Lunar and Mars missions) will require major improvements in propulsion capability. In some cases, advanced propulsion can enable a mission by making it faster or more affordable, and in some cases, by directly enabling the mission (e.g., interstellar missions). As a general rule, advanced propulsion systems are attractive because of their low operating costs (e.g., higher specific impulse, ISD) and typically show the most benefit for relatively 'big' missions (i.e., missions with large payloads or AV, or a large overall mission model). In part, this is due to the intrinsic size of the advanced systems as compared to state-of-the-art (SOTA) chemical propulsion systems. Also, advanced systems often have a large 'infrastructure' cost, either in the form of initial R&D costs or in facilities hardware costs (e.g., laser or microwave transmission ground stations for beamed energy propulsion). These costs must then be amortized over a large mission to be cost-competitive with a SOTA

  5. Advanced Chemical Propulsion Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woodcock, Gordon; Byers, Dave; Alexander, Leslie A.; Krebsbach, Al

    2004-01-01

    A study was performed of advanced chemical propulsion technology application to space science (Code S) missions. The purpose was to begin the process of selecting chemical propulsion technology advancement activities that would provide greatest benefits to Code S missions. Several missions were selected from Code S planning data, and a range of advanced chemical propulsion options was analyzed to assess capabilities and benefits re these missions. Selected beneficial applications were found for higher-performing bipropellants, gelled propellants, and cryogenic propellants. Technology advancement recommendations included cryocoolers and small turbopump engines for cryogenic propellants; space storable propellants such as LOX-hydrazine; and advanced monopropellants. It was noted that fluorine-bearing oxidizers offer performance gains over more benign oxidizers. Potential benefits were observed for gelled propellants that could be allowed to freeze, then thawed for use.

  6. Nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bennett, Gary L.

    1991-01-01

    This document is presented in viewgraph form, and the topics covered include the following: (1) the direct fission-thermal propulsion process; (2) mission applications of direct fission-thermal propulsion; (3) nuclear engines for rocket vehicles; (4) manned mars landers; and (5) particle bed reactor design.

  7. Advanced propulsion concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1991-01-01

    A variety of Advanced Propulsion Concepts (APC) is discussed. The focus is on those concepts that are sufficiently near-term that they could be developed for the Space Exploration Initiative. High-power (multi-megawatt) electric propulsion, solar sails, tethers, and extraterrestrial resource utilization concepts are discussed. A summary of these concepts and some general conclusions on their technology development needs are presented.

  8. Advanced cryo propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tabata, William K.

    1991-01-01

    The following topics are presented in viewgraph form: (1) advanced space engine (ASE) chronology; (2) an ASE description; (3) a single expander; (4) a dual expander; (5) split expander; (6) launch vehicle start; (7) space start; (8) chemical transfer propulsion; and (9) an advanced expander test bed.

  9. 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.

  10. Advanced propulsion activities in the USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garrison, P. W.

    Advances in propulsion system performance are necessary to meet the projected requirements of future launch vehicles, orbit transfer vehicles, satellites and planetary spacecraft. Ongoing U.S. space propulsion research programs are aggressively pursuing the development of the technology to meet these requirements. This paper reviews advanced propulsion research in the USA. Work accomplished in 1985 and future plans for ongoing research programs are discussed. Theoretical and experimental research programs and system studies of augmented hydrazine, arcjet, magnetoplasma dynamic thruster, ion thruster, metastable chemical, solar thermal, light sail, microwave and laser propulsion, nuclear fission rockets, and fusion and antimatter propulsion systems are addressed.

  11. Focused technology: Nuclear propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, Thomas J.

    1991-01-01

    The topics presented are covered in viewgraph form and include: nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), which challenges (1) high temperature fuel and materials, (2) hot hydrogen environment, (3) test facilities, (4) safety, (5) environmental impact compliance, and (6) concept development, and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), which challenges (1) long operational lifetime, (2) high temperature reactors, turbines, and radiators, (3) high fuel burn-up reactor fuels, and designs, (4) efficient, high temperature power conditioning, (5) high efficiency, and long life thrusters, (6) safety, (7) environmental impact compliance, and (8) concept development.

  12. Nuclear thermal propulsion program overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bennett, Gary L.

    1991-01-01

    Nuclear thermal propulsion program is described. The following subject areas are covered: lunar and Mars missions; national space policy; international cooperation in space exploration; propulsion technology; nuclear rocket program; and budgeting.

  13. 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.

  14. Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage for Mars 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).

  15. Safe, Affordable, Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, M. G.; Kim, T.; Emrich, W. J.; Hickman, R. R.; Broadway, J. W.; Gerrish, H. P.; Doughty, G. E.

    2014-01-01

    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).

  16. 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.

  17. Nuclear propulsion systems engineering

    SciTech Connect

    Madsen, W.W.; Neuman, J.E.: Van Haaften, D.H.

    1992-01-01

    The Nuclear Energy for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) program of the 1960's and early 1970's was dramatically successful, with no major failures during the entire testing program. This success was due in large part to the successful development of a systems engineering process. Systems engineering, properly implemented, involves all aspects of the system design and operation, and leads to optimization of theentire system: cost, schedule, performance, safety, reliability, function, requirements, etc. The process must be incorporated from the very first and continued to project completion. This paper will discuss major aspects of the NERVA systems engineering effort, and consider the implications for current nuclear propulsion efforts.

  18. Nuclear propulsion systems engineering

    SciTech Connect

    Madsen, W.W.; Neuman, J.E.: Van Haaften, D.H.

    1992-12-31

    The Nuclear Energy for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) program of the 1960`s and early 1970`s was dramatically successful, with no major failures during the entire testing program. This success was due in large part to the successful development of a systems engineering process. Systems engineering, properly implemented, involves all aspects of the system design and operation, and leads to optimization of theentire system: cost, schedule, performance, safety, reliability, function, requirements, etc. The process must be incorporated from the very first and continued to project completion. This paper will discuss major aspects of the NERVA systems engineering effort, and consider the implications for current nuclear propulsion efforts.

  19. Advanced Propulsion Concepts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brophy, J. R.

    1997-01-01

    Current interest in advanced propulsion within NASA and research activities in advanced propulsion concepts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are reviewed. The concepts, which include high power plasma thrusters such as lithuim-fueled Lorentz-Force-Accelerators, MEMS-scale propulsion systems, in-situ propellant utilization techniques, fusion propulsion systems and methods of using antimatter, offer the potential for either significantly enhancing space transportation capability as compared with that of traditional chemical propulsion, or enabling ambitious new missions.

  20. Advanced transportation system studies. Alternate propulsion subsystem concepts: Propulsion database

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levack, Daniel

    1993-01-01

    The Advanced Transportation System Studies alternate propulsion subsystem concepts propulsion database interim report is presented. The objective of the database development task is to produce a propulsion database which is easy to use and modify while also being comprehensive in the level of detail available. The database is to be available on the Macintosh computer system. The task is to extend across all three years of the contract. Consequently, a significant fraction of the effort in this first year of the task was devoted to the development of the database structure to ensure a robust base for the following years' efforts. Nonetheless, significant point design propulsion system descriptions and parametric models were also produced. Each of the two propulsion databases, parametric propulsion database and propulsion system database, are described. The descriptions include a user's guide to each code, write-ups for models used, and sample output. The parametric database has models for LOX/H2 and LOX/RP liquid engines, solid rocket boosters using three different propellants, a hybrid rocket booster, and a NERVA derived nuclear thermal rocket engine.

  1. NASA's Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Mike; Mitchell, Sonny; Kim, Tony; Borowski, Stan; Power, Kevin; Scott, John; Belvin, Anthony; Clement, Steve

    2015-01-01

    HEOMD's (Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate) AES (Advanced Exploration Systems) Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) project is making significant progress. First of four FY 2015 milestones achieved this month. Safety is the highest priority for NTP (as with other space systems). After safety comes affordability. No centralized capability for developing, qualifying, and utilizing an NTP system. Will require a strong, closely integrated team. Tremendous potential benefits from NTP and other space fission systems. No fundamental reason these systems cannot be developed and utilized in a safe, affordable fashion.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Nuclear Propulsion in Space (1968)

    ScienceCinema

    None

    2016-07-12

    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.

  5. Affordable Development of a Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

    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. The foundation provided by development and utilization of a NCPS could enable development of extremely high performance systems. 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).

  6. 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.

  7. Advanced Propulsion Research Interest in Materials for Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cole, John

    2003-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation provides an overview of material science and technology in the area of propulsion energetics. The authors note that conventional propulsion systems are near peak performance and further refinements in manufacturing, engineering design and materials will only provide incremental increases in performance. Energetic propulsion technologies could potential solve the problems of energy storage density and energy-to-thrust conversion efficiency. Topics considered include: the limits of thermal propulsion systems, the need for energetic propulsion research, emerging energetic propulsion technologies, materials research needed for advanced propulsion, and potential research opportunities.

  8. MSFC Nuclear Propulsion Materials Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rogers, J. R.; Cook, B.

    2004-01-01

    Nuclear propulsion systems for spacecraft applications present numerous technical challenges for propulsion systems. They have been the focus of a recent NRA. Challenges inclue: a nuclear reactor subsystem to produce thermal energy; a power conversion subsystem to convert the thermal energy into electrical energy; a propulsion subsystem that utilizes Hall effect thrusters; thruster technologies and high temperature materials to support subsystems. The MSFC Electrostatic Levitation (ESL) Facility provides an ideal platform for the study of high temperature and reactive materials. An overview of the facility and its capabilities will be presented.

  9. The NASA Advanced Propulsion Concepts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leifer, S. D.; Frisbee, R. H.; Brophy, J. R.

    1997-01-01

    Research activities in advanced propulsion concepts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are reviewed. The concepts were selected for study because each offers the potential for either significantly enhancing space transportation capability or enabling bold, ambitious new missions.

  10. Advanced propulsion concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sercel, Joel C.

    1991-01-01

    The topics presented are covered in viewgraph form. The programmatic objective is to establish the feasibility of propulsion technologies for vastly expanded space activity. The technical objective is a revolutionary performance sought, such as: (1) about 1 kg/kW specific mass; (2) specific impulse tailored to mission requirements; (3) ability to use in-situ resources; (4) round-trips to Mars in months; (5) round-trips to outer planets in 1 to 2 years; and (6) the capability for robotic mission beyond the solar system.

  11. Nuclear thermal propulsion workshop overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.

    1991-01-01

    NASA is planning an Exploration Technology Program as part of the Space Exploration Initiative to return U.S. astronauts to the moon, conduct intensive robotic exploration of the moon and Mars, and to conduct a piloted mission to Mars by 2019. Nuclear Propulsion is one of the key technology thrust for the human mission to Mars. The workshop addresses NTP (Nuclear Thermal Rocket) technologies with purpose to: assess the state-of-the-art of nuclear propulsion concepts; assess the potential benefits of the concepts for the mission to Mars; identify critical, enabling technologies; lay-out (first order) technology development plans including facility requirements; and estimate the cost of developing these technologies to flight-ready status. The output from the workshop will serve as a data base for nuclear propulsion project planning.

  12. Performance of advanced missions using fusion propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedlander, Alan; Mcadams, Jim; Schulze, Norm

    1989-01-01

    A quantitive evaluation of the premise that nuclear fusion propulsion offers benefits as compared to other propulsion technologies for carrying out a program of advanced exploration of the solar system and beyond is presented. Using a simplified analytical model of trajectory performance, numerical results of mass requirements versus trip time are given for robotic missions beyond the solar system that include flyby and rendezvous with the Oort cloud of comets and with the star system Alpha Centauri. Round trip missions within the solar system, including robotic sample returns from the outer planet moons and multiple asteroid targets, and manned Mars exploration are also described.

  13. Processing of solid solution, mixed uranium/refractory metal carbides for advanced space nuclear power and propulsion systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knight, Travis Warren

    Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) and space nuclear power are two enabling technologies for the manned exploration of space and the development of research outposts in space and on other planets such as Mars. Advanced carbide nuclear fuels have been proposed for application in space nuclear power and propulsion systems. This study examined the processing technologies and optimal parameters necessary to fabricate samples of single phase, solid solution, mixed uranium/refractory metal carbides. In particular, the pseudo-ternary carbide, UC-ZrC-NbC, system was examined with uranium metal mole fractions of 5% and 10% and corresponding uranium densities of 0.8 to 1.8 gU/cc. Efforts were directed to those methods that could produce simple geometry fuel elements or wafers such as those used to fabricate a Square Lattice Honeycomb (SLHC) fuel element and reactor core. Methods of cold uniaxial pressing, sintering by induction heating, and hot pressing by self-resistance heating were investigated. Solid solution, high density (low porosity) samples greater than 95% TD were processed by cold pressing at 150 MPa and sintering above 2600 K for times longer than 90 min. Some impurity oxide phases were noted in some samples attributed to residual gases in the furnace during processing. Also, some samples noted secondary phases of carbon and UC2 due to some hyperstoichiometric powder mixtures having carbon-to-metal ratios greater than one. In all, 33 mixed carbide samples were processed and analyzed with half bearing uranium as ternary carbides of UC-ZrC-NbC. Scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and density measurements were used to characterize samples. Samples were processed from powders of the refractory mono-carbides and UC/UC 2 or from powders of uranium hydride (UH3), graphite, and refractory metal carbides to produce hypostoichiometric mixed carbides. Samples processed from the constituent carbide powders and sintered at temperatures above the melting point of UC

  14. Materials Advance Chemical Propulsion Technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2012-01-01

    In the future, the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate hopes to use better-performing and lower-cost propulsion systems to send rovers, probes, and observers to places like Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. For such purposes, a new propulsion technology called the Advanced Materials Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) was developed under NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) project, located at Glenn Research Center. As an advanced chemical propulsion system, AMBR uses nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer and hydrazine fuel to propel a spacecraft. Based on current research and development efforts, the technology shows great promise for increasing engine operation and engine lifespan, as well as lowering manufacturing costs. In developing AMBR, ISPT has several goals: to decrease the time it takes for a spacecraft to travel to its destination, reduce the cost of making the propulsion system, and lessen the weight of the propulsion system. If goals like these are met, it could result in greater capabilities for in-space science investigations. For example, if the amount (and weight) of propellant required on a spacecraft is reduced, more scientific instruments (and weight) could be added to the spacecraft. To achieve AMBR s maximum potential performance, the engine needed to be capable of operating at extremely high temperatures and pressure. To this end, ISPT required engine chambers made of iridium-coated rhenium (strong, high-temperature metallic elements) that allowed operation at temperatures close to 4,000 F. In addition, ISPT needed an advanced manufacturing technique for better coating methods to increase the strength of the engine chamber without increasing the costs of fabricating the chamber.

  15. Advanced propulsion options for the Mars cargo mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.; Blandino, John J.; Sercel, Joel C.; Sargent, Mark S.; Gowda, Nandini

    1990-01-01

    Several advanced propulsion options for a split-mission piloted Mars exploration scenario are presented. The primary study focus is on identifying concepts that can reduce total initial mass in low earth orbit (IMLEO) for the cargo delivery portion of the mission; in addition, concepts that can reduce the trip time of the piloted option are assessed. The propulsion options considered are nuclear thermal propulsion, solar sails, multimegawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion, solar electric propulsion, magnetic sails, mass drivers, rail guns, solar thermal rockets, beamed-energy propulsion systems, and tethers. For the cargo mission, solar sails are found to provide the greatest mass savings over the baseline chemical system, although they suffer from having very long trip times; a good performance compromise between a low IMLEO and a short trip time can be obtained using multimegawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion systems.

  16. NASA's Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael; Mitchell, Sonny; Kim, Tony; Borowski, Stanley; Power, Kevin; Scott, John; Belvin, Anthony; Clement, Steven

    2015-01-01

    Space fission power systems can provide a power rich environment anywhere in the solar system, independent of available sunlight. Space fission propulsion offers the potential for enabling rapid, affordable access to any point in the solar system. One type of space fission propulsion is Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). NTP systems operate by using a fission reactor to heat hydrogen to very high temperature (>2500 K) and expanding the hot hydrogen through a supersonic nozzle. First generation NTP systems are designed to have an Isp of approximately 900 s. The high Isp of NTP enables rapid crew transfer to destinations such as Mars, and can also help reduce mission cost, improve logistics (fewer launches), and provide other benefits. However, for NTP systems to be utilized they must be affordable and viable to develop. NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) NTP project is a technology development project that will help assess the affordability and viability of NTP. Early work has included fabrication of representative graphite composite fuel element segments, coating of representative graphite composite fuel element segments, fabrication of representative cermet fuel element segments, and testing of fuel element segments in the Compact Fuel Element Environmental Tester (CFEET). Near-term activities will include testing approximately 16" fuel element segments in the Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environmental Simulator (NTREES), and ongoing research into improving fuel microstructure and coatings. In addition to recapturing fuels technology, affordable development, qualification, and utilization strategies must be devised. Options such as using low-enriched uranium (LEU) instead of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) are being assessed, although that option requires development of a key technology before it can be applied to NTP in the thrust range of interest. Ground test facilities will be required, especially if NTP is to be used in conjunction with high value or

  17. The NASA-JPL advanced propulsion program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    1994-01-01

    The NASA Advanced Propulsion Concepts (APC) program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) consists of two main areas: The first involves cooperative modeling and research activities between JPL and various universities and industry; the second involves research at universities and industry that is directly supported by JPL. The cooperative research program consists of mission studies, research and development of ion engine technology using C-60 (Buckminsterfullerene) propellant, and research and development of lithium-propellant Lorentz-force accelerator (LFA) engine technology. The university/industry- supported research includes research (modeling and proof-of-concept experiments) in advanced, long-life electric propulsion, and in fusion propulsion. These propulsion concepts were selected primarily to cover a range of applications from near-term to far-term missions. For example, the long-lived pulsed-xenon thruster research that JPL is supporting at Princeton University addresses the near-term need for efficient, long-life attitude control and station-keeping propulsion for Earth-orbiting spacecraft. The C-60-propellant ion engine has the potential for good efficiency in a relatively low specific impulse (Isp) range (10,000 - 30,000 m/s) that is optimum for relatively fast (less than 100 day) cis-lunar (LEO/GEO/Lunar) missions employing near-term, high-specific mass electric propulsion vehicles. Research and modeling on the C-60-ion engine are currently being performed by JPL (engine demonstration), Caltech (C-60 properties), MIT (plume modeling), and USC (diagnostics). The Li-propellant LFA engine also has good efficiency in the modest Isp range (40,000 - 50,000 m/s) that is optimum for near-to-mid-term megawatt-class solar- and nuclear-electric propulsion vehicles used for Mars missions transporting cargo (in support of a piloted mission). Research and modeling on the Li-LFA engine are currently being performed by JPL (cathode development), Moscow Aviation

  18. Nuclear Propulsion Technical Interchange Meeting, volume 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1993-01-01

    The purpose of the meeting was to review the work performed in fiscal year 1992 in the areas of nuclear thermal and nuclear electric propulsion technology development. These proceedings are an accumulation of the presentations provided at the meeting along with annotations provided by authors. The proceedings cover system concepts, technology development, and system modeling for nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP). The test facilities required for the development of the nuclear propulsion systems are also discussed.

  19. The Future of Spacecraft Nuclear Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jansen, F.

    2014-06-01

    This paper summarizes the advantages of space nuclear power and propulsion systems. It describes the actual status of international power level dependent spacecraft nuclear propulsion missions, especially the high power EU-Russian MEGAHIT study including the Russian Megawatt-Class Nuclear Power Propulsion System, the NASA GRC project and the low and medium power EU DiPoP study. Space nuclear propulsion based mission scenarios of these studies are sketched as well.

  20. 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.

  1. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Development Risks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Tony

    2015-01-01

    There are clear advantages of development of a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) for a crewed mission to Mars. NTP for in-space propulsion enables more ambitious space missions by providing high thrust at high specific impulse ((is) approximately 900 sec) that is 2 times the best theoretical performance possible for chemical rockets. Missions can be optimized for maximum payload capability to take more payload with reduced total mass to orbit; saving cost on reduction of the number of launch vehicles needed. Or missions can be optimized to minimize trip time significantly to reduce the deep space radiation exposure to the crew. NTR propulsion technology is a game changer for space exploration to Mars and beyond. However, 'NUCLEAR' is a word that is feared and vilified by some groups and the hostility towards development of any nuclear systems can meet great opposition by the public as well as from national leaders and people in authority. The public often associates the 'nuclear' word with weapons of mass destruction. The development NTP is at risk due to unwarranted public fears and clear honest communication of nuclear safety will be critical to the success of the development of the NTP technology. Reducing cost to NTP development is critical to its acceptance and funding. In the past, highly inflated cost estimates of a full-scale development nuclear engine due to Category I nuclear security requirements and costly regulatory requirements have put the NTP technology as a low priority. Innovative approaches utilizing low enriched uranium (LEU). Even though NTP can be a small source of radiation to the crew, NTP can facilitate significant reduction of crew exposure to solar and cosmic radiation by reducing trip times by 3-4 months. Current Human Mars Mission (HMM) trajectories with conventional propulsion systems and fuel-efficient transfer orbits exceed astronaut radiation exposure limits. Utilizing extra propellant from one additional SLS launch and available

  2. The Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Kim, Tony; Emrich, William J.; Hickman, Robert R.; Broadway, Jeramie W.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Belvin, Anthony D.; Borowski, Stanley K.; Scott, John H.

    2014-01-01

    Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) development efforts in the United States have demonstrated the technical viability and performance potential of NTP systems. For example, Project Rover (1955 - 1973) completed 22 high power rocket reactor tests. Peak performances included operating at an average hydrogen exhaust temperature of 2550 K and a peak fuel power density of 5200 MW/m3 (Pewee test), operating at a thrust of 930 kN (Phoebus-2A test), and operating for 62.7 minutes in a single burn (NRX-A6 test). Results from Project Rover indicated that an NTP system with a high thrust-to-weight ratio and a specific impulse greater than 900 s would be feasible. Excellent results were also obtained by the former Soviet Union. Although historical programs had promising results, many factors would affect the development of a 21st century nuclear thermal rocket (NTR). Test facilities built in the US during Project Rover no longer exist. However, advances in analytical techniques, the ability to utilize or adapt existing facilities and infrastructure, and the ability to develop a limited number of new test facilities may enable affordable development, qualification, and utilization of a Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS). Bead-loaded graphite fuel was utilized throughout the Rover/NERVA program, and coated graphite composite fuel (tested in the Nuclear Furnace) and cermet fuel both show potential for even higher performance than that demonstrated in the Rover/NERVA engine tests.. NASA's NCPS project was initiated in October, 2011, with the goal of assessing the affordability and viability of an NCPS. FY 2014 activities are focused on fabrication and test (non-nuclear) of both coated graphite composite fuel elements and cermet fuel elements. Additional activities include developing a pre-conceptual design of the NCPS stage and evaluating affordable strategies for NCPS development, qualification, and utilization. NCPS stage designs are focused on supporting human Mars

  3. 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.

  4. Nuclear Propulsion Technical Interchange Meeting, volume 1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1993-01-01

    The Nuclear Propulsion Technical Interchange Meeting (NP-TIM-92) was sponsored and hosted by the Nuclear Propulsion Office at the NASA Lewis Research Center. The purpose of the meeting was to review the work performed in fiscal year 1992 in the areas of nuclear thermal and nuclear electric propulsion technology development. These proceedings are a compilation of the presentations given at the meeting (many of the papers are presented in outline or viewgraph form). Volume 1 covers the introductory presentations and the system concepts and technology developments related to nuclear thermal propulsion.

  5. Advanced Chemical Propulsion System Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Portz, Ron; Alexander, Leslie; Chapman, Jack; England, Chris; Henderson, Scott; Krismer, David; Lu, Frank; Wilson, Kim; Miller, Scott

    2007-01-01

    A detailed; mission-level systems study has been performed to show the benefit resulting from engine performance gains that will result from NASA's In-Space Propulsion ROSS Cycle 3A NRA, Advanced Chemical Technology sub-topic. The technology development roadmap to accomplish the NRA goals are also detailed in this paper. NASA-Marshall and NASA-JPL have conducted mission-level studies to define engine requirements, operating conditions, and interfaces. Five reference missions have been chosen for this analysis based on scientific interest, current launch vehicle capability and trends in space craft size: a) GTO to GEO, 4800 kg, delta-V for GEO insertion only approx.1830 m/s; b) Titan Orbiter with aerocapture, 6620 kg, total delta V approx.210 m/s, mostly for periapsis raise after aerocapture; c) Enceladus Orbiter (Titan aerocapture) 6620 kg, delta V approx.2400 m/s; d) Europa Orbiter, 2170 kg, total delta V approx.2600 m/s; and e) Mars Orbiter, 2250 kg, total delta V approx.1860 m/s. The figures of merit used to define the benefit of increased propulsion efficiency at the spacecraft level include propulsion subsystem wet mass, volume and overall cost. The objective of the NRA is to increase the specific impulse of pressure-fed earth storable bipropellant rocket engines to greater than 330 seconds with nitrogen tetroxide and monomothylhydrazine propellants and greater than 335 , seconds with nitrogen tetroxide and hydrazine. Achievement of the NRA goals will significantly benefit NASA interplanetary missions and other government and commercial opportunities by enabling reduced launch weight and/or increased payload. The study also constitutes a crucial stepping stone to future development, such as pump-fed storable engines.

  6. Probabilistic structural analysis for nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shah, Ashwin

    1993-01-01

    Viewgraphs of probabilistic structural analysis for nuclear thermal propulsion are presented. The objective of the study was to develop a methodology to certify Space Nuclear Propulsion System (SNPS) Nozzle with assured reliability. Topics covered include: advantage of probabilistic structural analysis; space nuclear propulsion system nozzle uncertainties in the random variables; SNPS nozzle natural frequency; and sensitivity of primitive variable uncertainties SNPS nozzle natural frequency and shell stress.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Concept for a shuttle-tended reusable interplanetary transport vehicle using nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nakagawa, R. Y.; Elliot, J. C.; Spilker, T. R.; Grayson, C. M.

    2003-01-01

    NASA has placed new emphasis on the development of advanced propulsion technologies including Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). This technology would provide multiple benefits including high delta-V capability and high power for long duration spacecraft operations.

  11. Space nuclear thermal propulsion program

    SciTech Connect

    Haslett, R.A.

    1994-12-31

    This report describes te development and funding problems of the space nuclear thermal propulsion program (SNTP). The SNTP program was transferred to the air force, and almost immediately , they indicated that they would have to terminate the program because of a decreasing defense budget and other air force priorities. Congress continued to strongly support the program and $55 million was appropriated for fiscal year 1993, but the air force would not release any of the money to the program. By the summer of 1993, barely 18 months after the program was transferred to the air force, the SNTP team had essentially stopped all work and reduced to a skeleton staff to perform an orderly termination. Despite the significant accomplishments of the program and the endorsements it received from two DSBs, the 1994 Congressional Appropriations Committee had no alternative but to withhold further funding support since no cognizant agency (air force, NASA, or the DOE) was willing to take the lead and continue the technology for future space applications. Once again, the inability to forge cooperation between government agencies for a long-term goal doomed another nuclear technology program. The technology is currently being documented to the extent possible with existing funds because it is clear that a compact lightweight PBR space power and/or propulsion system will be required to enable unmanned and eventually manned exploration of the solar system.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Modeling of Spacecraft Advanced Chemical Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benfield, Michael P. J.; Belcher, Jeremy A.

    2004-01-01

    This paper outlines the development of the Advanced Chemical Propulsion System (ACPS) model for Earth and Space Storable propellants. This model was developed by the System Technology Operation of SAIC-Huntsville for the NASA MSFC In-Space Propulsion Project Office. Each subsystem of the model is described. Selected model results will also be shown to demonstrate the model's ability to evaluate technology changes in chemical propulsion systems.

  15. Philosophy for nuclear thermal propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Buden, D.; Madsen, W. ); Redd, L. )

    1993-01-10

    The philosophy used for development of nuclear thermal propulsion will determine the cost, schedule and risk associated with the activities. As important is the impression of the decision makers. If the development cost is higher than the product value, it is doubtful that funding will ever be available. On the other hand, if the development supports the economic welfare of the country with a high rate of return, the probability of funding greatly increases. The philosophy is divided into: realism, design, operations and qualification. Realism'' addresses such items as political acceptability, potential customers, robustness-flexibility, public acceptance, decisions as needed, concurrent engineering, and the possible role of the CIS. Design'' addresses minimum requirement,'' built in safety and reliability redundancy, emphasize on eliminating risk at lowest levels, and the possible inclusion of electric generation. Operations'' addresses sately, environment, operations, design margins and degradation modes. Qualification'' addresses testing needs and test facilities.

  16. NASA program planning on nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bennett, Gary L.; Miller, Thomas J.

    1992-01-01

    As part of the focused technology planning for future NASA space science and exploration missions, NASA has initiated a focused technology program to develop the technologies for nuclear electric propulsion and nuclear thermal propulsion. Beginning in 1990, NASA began a series of interagency planning workshops and meetings to identify key technologies and program priorities for nuclear propulsion. The high-priority, near-term technologies that must be developed to make NEP operational for space exploration include scaling thrusters to higher power, developing high-temperature power processing units, and developing high power, low-mass, long-lived nuclear reactors.

  17. Propulsion issues for advanced orbit transfer vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cooper, L. P.

    1984-01-01

    Studies of the United States Space Transportation System show that in the mid to late 1990s expanded capabilities for orbital transfer vehicles (OTV) will be needed to meet increased payload requirements for transporting materials and possibly men to geosynchronous orbit. Discussion and observations relative to the propulsion system issues of space basing, aeroassist compatibility, man ratability and enhanced payload delivery capability are presented. These issues will require resolution prior to the development of a propulsion system for the advanced OTV. The NASA program in support of advanced propulsion for an OTV is briefly described along with conceptual engine design characteristics.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) Air Force facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beck, David F.

    1993-01-01

    The Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) Program is an initiative within the US Air Force to acquire and validate advanced technologies that could be used to sustain superior capabilities in the area or space nuclear propulsion. The SNTP Program has a specific objective of demonstrating the feasibility of the particle bed reactor (PBR) concept. The term PIPET refers to a project within the SNTP Program responsible for the design, development, construction, and operation of a test reactor facility, including all support systems, that is intended to resolve program technology issues and test goals. A nuclear test facility has been designed that meets SNTP Facility requirements. The design approach taken to meet SNTP requirements has resulted in a nuclear test facility that should encompass a wide range of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) test requirements that may be generated within other programs. The SNTP PIPET project is actively working with DOE and NASA to assess this possibility.

  1. Guidance, Navigation, and Control Considerations for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Mitchell, Doyce P.; Kim, Tony

    2015-01-01

    The fundamental capability of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is game changing for space exploration. A first generation NTP system 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 a first generation NTP 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 NTP project could also help enable high performance fission power systems and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). Guidance, navigation, and control of NTP may have some unique but manageable characteristics.

  2. 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.

  3. Preliminary Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) reliability study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hsieh, T. M.; Nakashima, A. M.; Mondt, J. F.

    1973-01-01

    A preliminary failure mode, failure effect, and criticality analysis of the major subsystems of nuclear electric propulsion is presented. Simplified reliability block diagrams are also given. A computer program was used to calculate the reliability of the heat rejection subsystem.

  4. 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.

  5. Advanced Chemical Propulsion for Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liou, Larry

    2008-01-01

    The advanced chemical propulsion technology area of NASA's In-Space Technology Project is investing in systems and components for increased performance and reduced cost of chemical propulsion technologies applicable to near-term science missions. Presently the primary investment in the advanced chemical propulsion technology area is in the AMBR high temperature storable bipropellant rocket engine. Scheduled to be available for flight development starting in year 2008, AMBR engine shows a 60 kg payload gain in an analysis for the Titan-Enceladus orbiter mission and a 33 percent manufacturing cost reduction over its baseline, state-of-the-art counterpart. Other technologies invested include the reliable lightweight tanks for propellant and the precision propellant management and mixture ratio control. Both technologies show significant mission benefit, can be applied to any liquid propulsion system, and upon completion of the efforts described in this paper, are at least in parts ready for flight infusion. Details of the technologies are discussed.

  6. Review of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gabrielli, Roland Antonius; Herdrich, Georg

    2015-11-01

    This article offers a summary of past efforts in the development of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion systems for space transportation. First, the generic principle of thermal propulsion is outlined: a propellant is directly heated by a power source prior to being expanded which creates a thrusting force on the rocket. This enables deriving a motivation for the use of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) relying on nuclear power sources. Then, a summary of major families of NTP systems is established on the basis of a literature survey. These families are distinguished by the nature of their power source, the most important being systems with radioisotope, fission, and fusion cores. Concepts proposing to harness the annihilation of matter and anti-matter are only touched briefly due to their limited maturity. For each family, an overview of physical fundamentals, technical concepts, and - if available - tested engines' propulsion parameters is given.

  7. 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.

  8. Technical Considerations for Advanced Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.

    1999-01-01

    This presentation reviews concerns involving advanced propulsion systems. The problems involved with the use of Am-242m, is that it has a high "eta" plus an order of magnitude larger fission cross section than other fissionable materials, and that it is extremely rare. However other americium isotopes are much more common, but extremely effective isotopic separation is required. Deuterium-Tritium fusion is also not attractive for space propulsion applications. Because the pulsed systems cannot breed adequate amounts of tritium and it is difficult and expensive to bring tritium from Earth. The systems that do breed tritium have severely limited performance. However, other fusion processes should still be evaluated. Another problem with advanced propellants is that inefficiencies in converting the total energy generated into propellant energy can lead to tremendous heat rejection requirements. Therefore Many. advanced propulsion concepts benefit greatly from low-mass radiators.

  9. Advanced Propulsion Physics Lab: Eagleworks Investigations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scogin, Tyler

    2014-01-01

    Eagleworks Laboratory is an advanced propulsions physics laboratory with two primary investigations currently underway. The first is a Quantum Vacuum Plasma Thruster (QVPT or Q-thrusters), an advanced electric propulsion technology in the development and demonstration phase. The second investigation is in Warp Field Interferometry (WFI). This is an investigation of Dr. Harold "Sonny" White's theoretical physics models for warp field equations using optical experiments in the Electro Optical laboratory (EOL) at Johnson Space Center. These investigations are pursuing technology necessary to enable human exploration of the solar system and beyond.

  10. 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.

  11. Nuclear propulsion for the space exploration initiative

    SciTech Connect

    Stanley, M.L. )

    1991-11-01

    President Bush's speech of July 20, 1989, outlining a goal to go back to the moon and then Mars initiated the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). The US Department of Defense (DOD), US Department of Energy (DOE), and NASA have been working together in the planning necessary to initiate a program to develop a nuclear propulsion system. Applications of nuclear technology for in-space transfer of personnel and cargo between Earth orbit and lunar or Martian orbit are being considered as alternatives to chemical propulsion systems. Mission and system concept studies conducted over the past 30 yr have consistently indicated that use of nuclear technology can substantially reduce in-space propellant requirements. A variety of nuclear technology options are currently being studied, including nuclear thermal rockets, nuclear electrical propulsion systems, and hybrid nuclear thermal rockets/nuclear electric propulsion concepts. Concept performance in terms of thrust, weight, power, and efficiency are dependent, and appropriate concept application is mission dependent (i.e., lunar, Mars, cargo, personnel, trajectory, transit time, payload). A comprehensive evaluation of mission application, technology performance capability and maturity, technology development programmatics, and safety characteristics is required to optimize both technology and mission selection to support the Presidential initiative.

  12. 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.

  13. NASA's nuclear electric propulsion technology project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stone, James R.; Sovey, James S.

    1992-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has initiated a program to establish the readiness of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) technology for relatively near-term applications to outer planet robotic science missions with potential future evolution to system for piloted Mars vehicles. This program was initiated in 1991 with a very modest effort identified with nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP); however, 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. The NEP Program will establish the feasibility and practicality of electric propulsion for robotic and piloted solar system exploration. The performance objectives are high specific impulse (200 greater than I(sub sp) greater than 10000 s), high efficiency (over 0.50), and low specific mass. The planning for this program was initially focussed on piloted Mars missions, but has since been redirected to first focus on 100-kW class systems for relatively near-term robotic missions, with possible future evolution to megawatt- and multi-megawatt-class systems applicable to cargo vehicles supporting human missions as well as to the piloted vehicles. This paper reviews current plans and recent progress for the overall nuclear electric propulsion project and closely related activities.

  14. Multimegawatt nuclear power systems for nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    George, Jeffrey A.

    1991-01-01

    Results from systems analysis studies of multimegawatt nuclear power systems are presented for application to nuclear electric propulsion. Specific mass estimates are presented for nearer term SP-100 reactor-based potassium Rankine and Brayton power systems for piloted and cargo missions. Growth SP-100/Rankine systems were found to range from roughly 7 to 10 kg/kWe specific mass depending on full power life requirements. The SP-100/Rankine systems were also found to result in a 4-kg/kWe savings in specific mass over SP-100/Brayton systems. The potential of advanced, higher temperature reactor and power conversion technologies for achieving reduced mass Rankine and Brayton systems was also investigated. A target goal of 5 kg/kWe specific mass was deemed reasonable given either 1400 K potassium Rankine with 1500 K lithium-cooled reactors or 2000 K gas cooled reactors with Brayton conversion.

  15. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion: A Joint NASA/DOE/DOD Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S. (Editor)

    1991-01-01

    Papers presented at the joint NASA/DOE/DOD workshop on nuclear thermal propulsion are compiled. The following subject areas are covered: nuclear thermal propulsion programs; Rover/NERVA and NERVA systems; Low Pressure Nuclear Thermal Rocket (LPNTR); particle bed reactor nuclear rocket; hybrid propulsion systems; wire core reactor; pellet bed reactor; foil reactor; Droplet Core Nuclear Rocket (DCNR); open cycle gas core nuclear rockets; vapor core propulsion reactors; nuclear light bulb; Nuclear rocket using Indigenous Martian Fuel (NIMF); mission analysis; propulsion and reactor technology; development plans; and safety issues.

  16. Advanced supersonic propulsion study, phase 3

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howlett, R. A.; Johnson, J.; Sabatella, J.; Sewall, T.

    1976-01-01

    The variable stream control engine is determined to be the most promising propulsion system concept for advanced supersonic cruise aircraft. This concept uses variable geometry components and a unique throttle schedule for independent control of two flow streams to provide low jet noise at takeoff and high performance at both subsonic and supersonic cruise. The advanced technology offers a 25% improvement in airplane range and an 8 decibel reduction in takeoff noise, relative to first generation supersonic turbojet engines.

  17. Benefits of advanced propulsion technology for the advanced supersonic transport

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hines, R. W.; Sabatella, J. A.

    1973-01-01

    Future supersonic transports will have to provide improvement in the areas of economics, range, and emissions relative to the present generation of supersonic transports, as well as meeting or improving upon FAR 36 noise goals. This paper covers the promising propulsion systems including variable-cycle engine concepts for long-range supersonic commercial transport application. The benefits of applying advanced propulsion technology to solve the economic and environmental problems are reviewed. The advanced propulsion technologies covered are in the areas of structures, materials, cooling techniques, aerodynamics, variable engine geometry, jet noise suppressors, acoustic treatment, and low-emission burners. The results of applying the advanced propulsion technology are presented in terms of improvement in overall system takeoff gross weight and return on investment.

  18. Nuclear systems for space power and propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klein, M.

    1971-01-01

    As exploration and utilization of space proceeds through the 1970s, 1980s, and beyond, spacecraft in earth orbit will become increasingly larger, spacecraft will travel deeper into space, and space activities will involve more complex operations. These trends require increasing amounts of energy for power and propulsion. The role to be played by nuclear energy is presented, including plans for deep space missions using radioisotope generators, the reactor power systems for earth orbiting stations and satellites, and the role of nuclear propulsion in space transportation.

  19. 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.

  20. The United States Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program - Over 151 Million Miles Safely Steamed on Nuclear Power

    SciTech Connect

    None, None

    2015-03-01

    NNSA’s third mission pillar is supporting the U.S. Navy’s ability to protect and defend American interests across the globe. The Naval Reactors Program remains at the forefront of technological developments in naval nuclear propulsion and ensures a commanding edge in warfighting capabilities by advancing new technologies and improvements in naval reactor performance and reliability. In 2015, the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program pioneered advances in nuclear reactor and warship design – such as increasing reactor lifetimes, improving submarine operational effectiveness, and reducing propulsion plant crewing. The Naval Reactors Program continued its record of operational excellence by providing the technical expertise required to resolve emergent issues in the Nation’s nuclear-powered fleet, enabling the Fleet to safely steam more than two million miles. Naval Reactors safely maintains, operates, and oversees the reactors on the Navy’s 82 nuclear-powered warships, constituting more than 45 percent of the Navy’s major combatants.

  1. 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.

  2. Nuclear thermal propulsion engine cost trade studies

    SciTech Connect

    Paschall, R.K. )

    1993-01-10

    The NASA transportation strategy for the Mars Exploration architecture includes the use of nuclear thermal propulsion as the primary propulsion system for Mars transits. It is anticipated that the outgrowth of the NERVA/ROVER programs will be a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system capable of providing the propulsion for missions to Mars. The specific impulse (Isp) for such a system is expected to be in the 870 s range. Trade studies were conducted to investigate whether or not it may be cost effective to invest in a higher performance (Isp[gt]870 s) engine for nuclear thermal propulsion for missions to Mars. The basic cost trades revolved around the amount of mass that must be transported to low-earth orbit prior to each Mars flight and the cost to launch that mass. The mass required depended on the assumptions made for Mars missions scenarios including piloted/cargo flights, number of Mars missions, and transit time to Mars. Cost parameters included launch cost, program schedule for development and operations, and net discount rate. The results were very dependent on the assumptions that were made. Under some assumptions, higher performance engines showed cost savings in the billions of dollars; under other assumptions, the additional cost to develop higher performance engines was not justified.

  3. 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.

  4. An historical collection of papers on nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    The present volume of historical papers on nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) encompasses NTP technology development regarding solid-core NTP technology, advanced concepts from the early years of NTP research, and recent activities in the field. Specific issues addressed include NERVA rocket-engine technology, the development of nuclear rocket propulsion at Los Alamos, fuel-element development, reactor testing for the Rover program, and an overview of NTP concepts and research emphasizing two decades of NASA research. Also addressed are the development of the 'nuclear light bulb' closed-cycle gas core and a demonstration of a fissioning UF6 gas in an argon vortex. The recent developments reviewed include the application of NTP to NASA's Lunar Space Transportation System, the use of NTP for the Space Exploration Initiative, and the development of nuclear rocket engines in the former Soviet Union.

  5. Nuclear power propulsion system for spacecraft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koroteev, A. S.; Oshev, Yu. A.; Popov, S. A.; Karevsky, A. V.; Solodukhin, A. Ye.; Zakharenkov, L. E.; Semenkin, A. V.

    2015-12-01

    The proposed designs of high-power space tugs that utilize solar or nuclear energy to power an electric jet engine are reviewed. The conceptual design of a nuclear power propulsion system (NPPS) is described; its structural diagram, gas circuit, and electric diagram are discussed. The NPPS incorporates a nuclear reactor, a thermal-to-electric energy conversion system, a system for the conversion and distribution of electric energy, and an electric propulsion system. Two criterion parameters were chosen in the considered NPPS design: the temperature of gaseous working medium at the nuclear reactor outlet and the rotor speed of turboalternators. The maintenance of these parameters at a given level guarantees that the needed electric voltage is generated and allows for power mode control. The processes of startup/shutdown and increasing/reducing the power, the principles of distribution of electric energy over loads, and the probable emergencies for the proposed NPPS design are discussed.

  6. Nuclear-electric magnetohydrodynamic propulsion for submarine. Master's thesis

    SciTech Connect

    Bednarczyk, A.A.

    1989-05-01

    The thesis analyzes the superconducting technology for a shipboard magnetohydrodynamic propulsion system. Based on the the principles of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), the concept of open-water efficiency was used to optimize the preliminary design of the MHD thruster. After the baseline submarine hull modeled after the Los Angeles class submarine was selected, propulsive efficiency and the top speed for four variant MHD submarines were evaluated. The design criteria were set at a 100-MWt nuclear reactor power upper limit and a requirement of 30 knots for the top speed. This required advanced reactor plants and advanced energy conversion systems. The selection of High Temperature Gas Reactor (HTGR) and Liquid-Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR) was based on the combined merits of safety, environmental impact, high source temperature and maximum-volume power density (KW/L). With the reactor outlet temperatures of 2000 K, direct-cycle energy conversion-systems gave the best results in terms of thermal efficiency and propulsion plant power density. Two energy conversion systems selected were closed-cycle gas turbine geared to a superconducting generator, and closed-cycle liquid-metal MHD generator. Based on submarine reliability and safety, the option of using an intermediate heat exchanger was also considered. Finally, non-nuclear support systems affected by the advanced power plant and MHD propulsion, stressing submarine safety, are proposed.

  7. 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.

  8. Advanced propulsion concepts for orbital transfer vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cooper, L. P.

    1982-01-01

    Studies of the United States Space Transportation System show that in the mid-to-late 1990s expanded capabilities for Orbital Transfer Vehicles (OTV) will be needed to meet increased payload requirements for transporting materials and possible men to geosynchronous orbit. NASA is conducting a technology program in support of an advanced propulsion system for future OTVs. This program is briefly described with results to date of the first program element, the Conceptual Design and Technology Definition studies.

  9. The Case of Nuclear Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koroteev, Anatoly S.; Ponomarev-Stepnoi, Nicolai N.; Smetannikov, Vladimir P.; Gafarov, Albert A.; Houts, Mike; VanDyke, Melissa; Godfroy, Tom; Martin, James; Bragg-Sitton, Shannon; Dickens, Ricky

    2003-01-01

    Fission technology can enable rapid, affordable access to any point in the solar system. If fission propulsion systems are to be developed to their full potential; however, near-term customers must be identified and initial fission systems successfully developed, launched, and utilized. Successful utilization will simultaneously develop the infrastructure and experience necessary for developing even higher power and performance systems. To be successful, development programs must devise strategies for rapidly converting paper reactor concepts into actual flight hardware. One approach to accomplishing this is to design highly testable systems, and to structure the program to contain frequent, significant hardware milestones. This paper discusses ongoing efforts in Russia and the United States aimed at enabling near-term utilization of space fission systems.

  10. Accommodation of Nuclear Power and Propulsion Concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stevenson, Steven M.; Bolch, Wesley e.; Thomas, J. Kelley

    1990-01-01

    The use of nuclear systems for propulsion and power are being examined as system options for implementing the lunar and Mars human exploration missions currently being studied by NASA. Systems might include nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) vehicles, operating reactors on coorbiting platforms, radioisotope thermoelectric generators, and others. The space station, as a transportation node, would have to store, assemble, launch and refurbish elements containing these systems. Care must be taken to safeguard humans from the radiation imposed by these systems, in addition to the naturally occuring background of the space environment. Key issues need to be identified early to enable their proper consideration in planning activities and the baseline space station design. A study was conducted over the past year with Texas A&M University to identify and explore key issues and quantify findings in a way useful to the Space Station Program.

  11. Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage Affordable Development Strategy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doughty, Glen E.; Gerrish, H. P.; Kenny, R. J.

    2014-01-01

    The development of nuclear power for space use in nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems will involve significant expenditures of funds and require major technology development efforts. The development effort must be economically viable yet sufficient to validate the systems designed. Efforts are underway within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage Project (NCPS) to study what a viable program would entail. The study will produce an integrated schedule, cost estimate and technology development plan. This will include the evaluation of various options for test facilities, types of testing and use of the engine, components, and technology developed. A "Human Rating" approach will also be developed and factored into the schedule, budget and technology development approach.

  12. Fast Track'' nuclear thermal propulsion concept

    SciTech Connect

    Johnson, R.A.; Zweig, H.R. ); Cooper, M.H.; Wett, J. Jr. )

    1993-01-10

    The objective of the Space Exploration Initiative ( America at the Threshold...,'' 1991) is the exploration of Mars by man in the second decade of the 21st century. The NASA Fast Track'' approach (NASA-LeRC Presentation, 1992) could accelerate the manned exploration of Mars to 2007. NERVA-derived nuclear propulsion represents a viable near-term technology approach to accomplish the accelerated schedule. Key milestones in the progression to the manned Mars mission are (1) demonstration of TRL-6 for the man-rateable system by 1999, (2) a robotic lunar mission by 2000, (3) the first cargo mission to Mars by 2005, and (4) the piloted Mars mission in 2007. The Rocketdyne-Westinghouse concept for nuclear thermal propulsion to achieve these milestones combines the nuclear reactor technology of the Rover/NERVA programs and the state-of-the-art hardware designs from hydrogen-fueled rocket engine successes like the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME).

  13. Advanced orbit transfer vehicle propulsion system study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cathcart, J. A.; Cooper, T. W.; Corringrato, R. M.; Cronau, S. T.; Forgie, S. C.; Harder, M. J.; Mcallister, J. G.; Rudman, T. J.; Stoneback, V. W.

    1985-01-01

    A reuseable orbit transfer vehicle concept was defined and subsequent recommendations for the design criteria of an advanced LO2/LH2 engine were presented. The major characteristics of the vehicle preliminary design include a low lift to drag aerocapture capability, main propulsion system failure criteria of fail operational/fail safe, and either two main engines with an attitude control system for backup or three main engines to meet the failure criteria. A maintenance and servicing approach was also established for the advanced vehicle and engine concepts. Design tradeoff study conclusions were based on the consideration of reliability, performance, life cycle costs, and mission flexibility.

  14. 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.

  15. Materials Requirements for Advanced Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whitaker, Ann F.; Cook, Mary Beth; Clinton, R. G., Jr.

    2005-01-01

    NASA's mission to "reach the Moon and Mars" will be obtained only if research begins now to develop materials with expanded capabilities to reduce mass, cost and risk to the program. Current materials cannot function satisfactorily in the deep space environments and do not meet the requirements of long term space propulsion concepts for manned missions. Directed research is needed to better understand materials behavior for optimizing their processing. This research, generating a deeper understanding of material behavior, can lead to enhanced implementation of materials for future exploration vehicles. materials providing new approaches for manufacture and new options for In response to this need for more robust materials, NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) has established a strategic research initiative dedicated to materials development supporting NASA's space propulsion needs. The Advanced Materials for Exploration (AME) element directs basic and applied research to understand material behavior and develop improved materials allowing propulsion systems to operate beyond their current limitations. This paper will discuss the approach used to direct the path of strategic research for advanced materials to ensure that the research is indeed supportive of NASA's future missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

  16. Thermal fatigue durability for advanced propulsion materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Halford, Gary R.

    1989-01-01

    A review is presented of thermal and thermomechanical fatigue (TMF) crack initiation life prediction and cyclic constitutive modeling efforts sponsored recently by the NASA Lewis Research Center in support of advanced aeronautical propulsion research. A brief description is provided of the more significant material durability models that were created to describe TMF fatigue resistance of both isotropic and anisotropic superalloys, with and without oxidation resistant coatings. The two most significant crack initiation models are the cyclic damage accumulation model and the total strain version of strainrange partitioning. Unified viscoplastic cyclic constitutive models are also described. A troika of industry, university, and government research organizations contributed to the generation of these analytic models. Based upon current capabilities and established requirements, an attempt is made to project which TMF research activities most likely will impact future generation propulsion systems.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Advanced supersonic propulsion study, phase 4

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howlett, R. A.

    1977-01-01

    Installation characteristics for a Variable Stream Control Engine (VSCE) were studied for three advanced supersonic airplane designs. Sensitivity of the VSCE concept to change in technology projections was evaluated in terms of impact on overall installed performance. Based on these sensitivity results, critical technology requirements were reviewed, resulting in the reaffirmation of the following requirements: low-noise nozzle system; a high performance, low emissions duct burner and main burner; hot section technology; variable geometry components; and propulsion integration features, including an integrated electronic control system.

  1. Eagleworks Laboratories: Advanced Propulsion Physics Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Harold; March, Paul; Williams, Nehemiah; ONeill, William

    2011-01-01

    NASA/JSC is implementing an advanced propulsion physics laboratory, informally known as "Eagleworks", to pursue propulsion technologies necessary to enable human exploration of the solar system over the next 50 years, and enabling interstellar spaceflight by the end of the century. This work directly supports the "Breakthrough Propulsion" objectives detailed in the NASA OCT TA02 In-space Propulsion Roadmap, and aligns with the #10 Top Technical Challenge identified in the report. Since the work being pursued by this laboratory is applied scientific research in the areas of the quantum vacuum, gravitation, nature of space-time, and other fundamental physical phenomenon, high fidelity testing facilities are needed. The lab will first implement a low-thrust torsion pendulum (<1 uN), and commission the facility with an existing Quantum Vacuum Plasma Thruster. To date, the QVPT line of research has produced data suggesting very high specific impulse coupled with high specific force. If the physics and engineering models can be explored and understood in the lab to allow scaling to power levels pertinent for human spaceflight, 400kW SEP human missions to Mars may become a possibility, and at power levels of 2MW, 1-year transit to Neptune may also be possible. Additionally, the lab is implementing a warp field interferometer that will be able to measure spacetime disturbances down to 150nm. Recent work published by White [1] [2] [3] suggests that it may be possible to engineer spacetime creating conditions similar to what drives the expansion of the cosmos. Although the expected magnitude of the effect would be tiny, it may be a "Chicago pile" moment for this area of physics.

  2. Z-Pinch fusion-based nuclear propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miernik, J.; Statham, G.; Fabisinski, L.; Maples, C. D.; Adams, R.; Polsgrove, T.; Fincher, S.; Cassibry, J.; Cortez, R.; Turner, M.; Percy, T.

    2013-02-01

    Fusion-based nuclear propulsion has the potential to enable fast interplanetary transportation. Due to the great distances between the planets of our solar system and the harmful radiation environment of interplanetary space, high specific impulse (Isp) propulsion in vehicles with high payload mass fractions must be developed to provide practical and safe vehicles for human space flight missions. The Z-Pinch dense plasma focus method is a Magneto-Inertial Fusion (MIF) approach that may potentially lead to a small, low cost fusion reactor/engine assembly [1]. Recent advancements in experimental and theoretical understanding of this concept suggest favorable scaling of fusion power output yield [2]. The magnetic field resulting from the large current compresses the plasma to fusion conditions, and this process can be pulsed over short timescales (10-6 s). This type of plasma formation is widely used in the field of Nuclear Weapons Effects testing in the defense industry, as well as in fusion energy research. A Z-Pinch propulsion concept was designed for a vehicle based on a previous fusion vehicle study called "Human Outer Planet Exploration" (HOPE), which used Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) [3] propulsion. The reference mission is the transport of crew and cargo to Mars and back, with a reusable vehicle. The analysis of the Z-Pinch MIF propulsion system concludes that a 40-fold increase of Isp over chemical propulsion is predicted. An Isp of 19,436 s and thrust of 3812 N s/pulse, along with nearly doubling the predicted payload mass fraction, warrants further development of enabling technologies.

  3. Advanced Concepts: Aneutronic Fusion Power and Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chapman, John J.

    2012-01-01

    Aneutronic Fusion for In-Space thrust, power. Clean energy & potential nuclear gains. Fusion plant concepts, potential to use advanced fuels. Methods to harness ionic momentum for high Isp thrust plus direct power conversion into electricity will be presented.

  4. 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.

  5. Shielding Development for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caffrey, Jarvis A.; Gomez, Carlos F.; Scharber, Luke L.

    2015-01-01

    Radiation shielding analysis and development for the Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) effort is currently in progress and preliminary results have enabled consideration for critical interfaces in the reactor and propulsion stage systems. Early analyses have highlighted a number of engineering constraints, challenges, and possible mitigating solutions. Performance constraints include permissible crew dose rates (shared with expected cosmic ray dose), radiation heating flux into cryogenic propellant, and material radiation damage in critical components. Design strategies in staging can serve to reduce radiation scatter and enhance the effectiveness of inherent shielding within the spacecraft while minimizing the required mass of shielding in the reactor system. Within the reactor system, shield design is further constrained by the need for active cooling with minimal radiation streaming through flow channels. Material selection and thermal design must maximize the reliability of the shield to survive the extreme environment through a long duration mission with multiple engine restarts. A discussion of these challenges and relevant design strategies are provided for the mitigation of radiation in nuclear thermal propulsion.

  6. 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.

  7. Green Propulsion Technologies for Advanced Air Transports

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Del Rosario, Ruben

    2015-01-01

    Air transportation is critical to U.S. and Global economic vitality. However, energy and climate issues challenge aviations ability to be sustainable in the long term. Aviation must dramatically reduce fuel use and related emissions. Energy costs to U.S. airlines nearly tripled between 1995 and 2011, and continue to be the highest percentage of operating costs. The NASA Advanced Air Transports Technology Project addresses the comprehensive challenge of enabling revolutionary energy efficiency improvements in subsonic transport aircraft combined with dramatic reductions in harmful emissions and perceived noise to facilitate sustained growth of the air transportation system. Advanced technologies and the development of unconventional aircraft systems offer the potential to achieve these improvements. The presentation will highlight the NASA vision of revolutionary systems and propulsion technologies needed to achieve these challenging goals. Specifically, the primary focus is on the N+3 generation; that is, vehicles that are three generations beyond the current state of the art, requiring mature technology solutions in the 2025-30 timeframe, which are envisioned as being powered by Hybrid Electric Propulsion Systems.

  8. Current Development of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion technologies at the Center for Space Nuclear Research

    SciTech Connect

    Robert C. O'Brien; Steven K. Cook; Nathan D. Jerred; Steven D. Howe; Ronald Samborsky; Daniel Brasuell

    2012-09-01

    Nuclear power and propulsion has been considered for space applications since the 1950s. Between 1955 and 1972 the US built and tested over twenty nuclear reactors / rocket engines in the Rover/NERVA programs1. The Aerojet Corporation was the prime contractor for the NERVA program. Modern changes in environmental laws present challenges for the redevelopment of the nuclear rocket. Recent advances in fuel fabrication and testing options indicate that a nuclear rocket with a fuel composition that is significantly different from those of the NERVA project can be engineered; this may be needed to ensure public support and compliance with safety requirements. The Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) is pursuing a number of technologies, modeling and testing processes to further the development of safe, practical and affordable nuclear thermal propulsion systems.

  9. Space Nuclear Propulsion Systems and Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schwenk, F. C.

    1972-01-01

    The basic principles of the operation of a nuclear rocket engine are reviewed along with a summary of the early history. In addition, the technology status in the nuclear rocket program for development of the flight-rated NERVA engine is described, and applications for this 75,000-pound thrust engine and the results of nuclear stage studies are presented. Advanced research and supporting technology activities in the nuclear rocket program are also summarized.

  10. Contributions Regarding the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Mitrica, Bogdan; Petre, Marian; Dima, Mihai Octavian; Stanciu, Virgil; Petre, Carmelia; Precup, Irinel

    2010-01-21

    The possibility to use a nuclear reactor for airplanes propulsion was investigated taking in to account 2 possible solutions: the direct cycle (where the fluid pass through the reactor's core) and the indirect cycle (where the fluid is passing through a heat exchanger). Taking in to account the radioprotection problems, the only realistic solution seems to be the indirect cycle, where the energy transfer should be performed by a heat exchanger that must work at very high speed of the fluid. The heat exchanger will replace the classical burning room. We had performed a more precise theoretical study for the nuclear jet engine regarding the performances of the nuclear reactor, of the heat exchanger and of the jet engine. It was taken in to account that in the moment when the burning room is replaced by a heat exchanger, a new model for gasodynamic process from the engine must be performed. Studies regarding the high flow speed heat transfer were performed.

  11. Nuclear propulsion apparatus with alternate reactor segments

    DOEpatents

    Szekely, Thomas

    1979-04-03

    1. Nuclear propulsion apparatus comprising: A. means for compressing incoming air; B. nuclear fission reactor means for heating said air; C. means for expanding a portion of the heated air to drive said compressing means; D. said nuclear fission reactor means being divided into a plurality of radially extending segments; E. means for directing a portion of the compressed air for heating through alternate segments of said reactor means and another portion of the compressed air for heating through the remaining segments of said reactor means; and F. means for further expanding the heated air from said drive means and the remaining heated air from said reactor means through nozzle means to effect reactive thrust on said apparatus.

  12. Nuclear pulse propulsion for interplanetary travel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassenti, Brice N.

    2001-02-01

    Over the last forty years there has been continuous interest in both internal and external pulse propulsion systems. The nuclear devices being considered are now considerably smaller than those initially examined. Pellets are normally in the range from 15 cm down to 2 cm in diameter, and fusion is generally preferred. Detonation can occur using high energy density triggers such as lasers, particle beams or antiprotons. In inertial confinement fusion the energy can be provided using laser beams or particle beams. When antiprotons are considered it is more efficient to annihilate the antiprotons in a fissionable material, and then use the energy from the fission reaction to drive the fusion reaction in the pellet. Finally, it is also possible to include fissionable material that can boost the performance of a fusion system. The early concepts, which used critical mass devices, do not satisfy the ban on nuclear weapons in space, and are only rarely considered today. Concepts based on inertial confinement fusion are heavier than those that use antiprotons for the trigger due to the mass associated with the lasers, or particle beams and their power supplies. Hence, from a performance, and political, point of view the antiproton triggered approach is the most desirable, but it also requires more development. Propulsion systems based on critical mass devices are clearly feasible, so the primary problem is to reduce the size of the explosive devices so that a critical mass is not required. If pulse nuclear fusion propulsion can become a reality then the performance is enough to complete manned missions to the inner planets in weeks and the outer planets in months. .

  13. Advanced hybrid vehicle propulsion system study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schwarz, R.

    1982-01-01

    Results are presented of a study of an advanced heat engine/electric automotive hybrid propulsion system. The system uses a rotary stratified charge engine and ac motor/controller in a parallel hybrid configuration. The three tasks of the study were (1) parametric studies involving five different vehicle types, (2) design trade-off studies to determine the influence of various vehicle and propulsion system paramaters on system performance fuel economy and cost, and (3) a conceptual design establishing feasibility at the selected approach. Energy consumption for the selected system was .034 1/km (61.3 mpg) for the heat engine and .221 kWh/km (.356 kWh/mi) for the electric power system over a modified J227 a schedule D driving cycle. Life cycle costs were 7.13 cents/km (11.5 cents/mi) at $2/gal gasoline and 7 cents/kWh electricity for 160,000 km (100,000 mi) life.

  14. Benefits of Nuclear Electric Propulsion for Outer Planet Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2002-01-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) offers significant benefits to missions for outer planet exploration. Reaching outer planet destinations, especially beyond Jupiter, is a struggle against time and distance. For relatively near missions, such as a Europa lander, conventional chemical propulsion and NEP offer similar performance and capabilities. For challenging missions such as a Pluto orbiter, neither chemical nor solar electric propulsion are capable while NEP offers acceptable performance. Three missions are compared in this paper: Europa lander, Pluto orbiter, and Titan sample return, illustrating how performance of conventional and advanced propulsion systems vary with increasing difficulty. The paper presents parametric trajectory performance data for NEP. Preliminary mass/performance estimates are provided for a Europa lander and a Titan sample return system, to derive net payloads for NEP. The NEP system delivers payloads and ascent/descent spacecraft to orbit around the target body, and for sample return, delivers the sample carrier system from Titan orbit to an Earth transfer trajectory. A representative scientific payload 500 kg was assumed, typical for a robotic mission. The resulting NEP systems are 100-kWe class, with specific impulse from 6000 to 9000 seconds.

  15. 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.

  16. Medusa: Nuclear explosive propulsion for interplanetary travel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solem, Johndale C.

    1993-01-01

    Because of the deleterious effects of galactic cosmic radiation, solar flares, zero gravity and psychological stress, there is strong motivation to develop high-specific-impulse and high-thrust spacecraft for rapid transport of astronauts between planets. A novel spacecraft design is presented using a large lightweight sail (spinnaker) driven by pressure pulses from a series of nuclear explosions. The spacecraft appears to be a singularly competent and economical vehicle for high-speed interplanetary travel. The mass of the spinnaker is theoretically independent of the size of its canopy or the length of its tethers. Consequently, the canopy can be made very large to minimize radiation damage from the nuclear explosions and the tethers can be made very long to mitigate radiation hazard to the crew. The pressure from the nuclear explosion imparts a large impulsive acceleration to the lightweight spinnaker, which must be translated to a small smooth acceleration of the space capsule either by using the elasticity of the tethers or a servo winch in the space capsule, or a combination of the two. If elasticity alone is used, the maximum acceleration suffered by the space capsule is inversely propotional to the tether length. The use of very long tethers allows the spacecraft to achieve high velocities without using an exceedingly large number of bombs, a feature unavailable to previous forms of nuclear-explosive propulsion. Should the political questions connected with an unconventional use of nuclear explosives be favorably resolved, the proposal will be a good candidate for propulsion in the Mars mission.

  17. 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.

  18. Small low mass advanced PBR's for propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, J. R.; Todosow, M.; Ludewig, H.

    1993-10-01

    The advanced Particle Bed Reactor (PBR) to be described in this paper is characterized by relatively low power, and low cost, while still maintaining competition values for thrust/weight, specific impulse and operating times. In order to retain competitive values for the thrust/weight ratio while reducing the reactor size, it is necessary to change the basic reactor layout, by incorporating new concepts. The new reactor design concept is termed SIRIUS (Small Lightweight Reactor Integral Propulsion System). The following modifications are proposed for the reactor design to be discussed in this paper: Pre-heater (U-235 included in Moderator); Hy-C (Hydride/De-hydride for Reactor Control); Afterburner (U-235 impregnated into Hot Frit); and Hy-S (Hydride Spike Inside Hot Frit). Each of the modifications will be briefly discussed below, with benefits, technical issues, design approach, and risk levels addressed. The paper discusses conceptual assumptions, feasibility analysis, mass estimates, and information needs.

  19. Advanced NSTS propulsion system verification study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, Charles

    1989-01-01

    The merits of propulsion system development testing are discussed. The existing data base of technical reports and specialists is utilized in this investigation. The study encompassed a review of all available test reports of propulsion system development testing for the Saturn stages, the Titan stages, and the Space Shuttle main propulsion system. The knowledge on propulsion system development and system testing available from specialists and managers was also 'tapped' for inclusion.

  20. Ultrahigh Specific Impulse Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Anne Charmeau; Brandon Cunningham; Samim Anghaie

    2009-02-09

    Research on nuclear thermal propulsion systems (NTP) have been in forefront of the space nuclear power and propulsion due to their design simplicity and their promise for providing very high thrust at reasonably high specific impulse. During NERVA-ROVER program in late 1950's till early 1970's, the United States developed and ground tested about 18 NTP systems without ever deploying them into space. The NERVA-ROVER program included development and testing of NTP systems with very high thrust (~250,000 lbf) and relatively high specific impulse (~850 s). High thrust to weight ratio in NTP systems is an indicator of high acceleration that could be achieved with these systems. The specific impulse in the lowest mass propellant, hydrogen, is a function of square root of absolute temperature in the NTP thrust chamber. Therefor optimizing design performance of NTP systems would require achieving the highest possible hydrogen temperature at reasonably high thrust to weight ratio. High hydrogen exit temperature produces high specific impulse that is a diret measure of propellant usage efficiency.

  1. Nuclear Pulse Propulsion: Orion and Beyond

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmidt, George R.; Bonometti, J. A.; Morton, P. J.

    2000-01-01

    The race to the Moon dominated manned space Fight during the 1960's. and culminated in Project Apollo. which placed 12 humans on the Moon Unbeknownst to the public at that time, several U.S. Government agencies sponsored a project that could have conceivably, placed 150 people on the Moon and eventually sent crewed expeditions to Mars and the outer Planets. These feats could have possibly been accomplished during, the same period of time as Apollo. and for approximately the same cost. The project. code-named Orion. featured an extraordinary propulsion method known n as Nuclear Pulse The concept is probably as radical today as t was at the down of the space age. However its development appeared to he so promising that it was only by Political and non-technical considerations that it was not used to extend humanity reach throughout the solar system and quite possible to the stars. This paper discusses the rationale for nuclear pulse propulsion and presents a general history of the concept. focusing particularly on Project Orion. It describes some of the reexaminations being done in this area and discusses some of the new ideas that could mitigate many of the political and environmental issues associated with the concept.

  2. Radiation Shielding for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caffrey, Jarvis A.

    2016-01-01

    Design and analysis of radiation shielding for nuclear thermal propulsion has continued at Marshall Space Flight Center. A set of optimization tools are in development, and strategies for shielding optimization will be discussed. Considerations for the concurrent design of internal and external shielding are likely required for a mass optimal shield design. The task of reducing radiation dose to crew from a nuclear engine is considered to be less challenging than the task of thermal mitigation for cryogenic propellant, especially considering the likely implementation of additional crew shielding for protection from solar particles and cosmic rays. Further consideration is thus made for the thermal effects of radiation absorption in cryogenic propellant. Materials challenges and possible methods of manufacturing are also discussed.

  3. 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.

  4. Nuclear modules for space electric propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Difilippo, F.C.

    1998-12-31

    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. 10 refs., 1 tab.

  5. Green Propulsion Technologies for Advanced Air Transports

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Del Rosario, Ruben

    2015-01-01

    Air transportation is critical to U.S. and Global economic vitality. However, energy and climate issues challenge aviation's ability to be sustainable in the long term. Aviation must dramatically reduce fuel use and related emissions. Energy costs to U.S. airlines nearly tripled between 1995 and 2011, and continue to be the highest percentage of operating costs. The NASA Advanced Air Transports Technology Project addresses the comprehensive challenge of enabling revolutionary energy efficiency improvements in subsonic transport aircraft combined with dramatic reductions in harmful emissions and perceived noise to facilitate sustained growth of the air transportation system. Advanced technologies and the development of unconventional aircraft systems offer the potential to achieve these improvements. The presentation will highlight the NASA vision of revolutionary systems and propulsion technologies needed to achieve these challenging goals. Specifically, the primary focus is on the N+3 generation; that is, vehicles that are three generations beyond the current state of the art, requiring mature technology solutions in the 2025-30 timeframe.

  6. Advanced supersonic technology propulsion system study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Szeliga, R.; Allan, R. D.

    1974-01-01

    This study had the objectives of determining the most promising conventional and variable cycle engine types; the effect of design cruise Mach number (2.2, 2.7 and 3.2) on a commercial supersonic transport; effect of advanced engine technology on the choice of engine cycle; and effect of utilizing hydrogen as the engine fuel. The technology required for the engines was defined, and the levels of development to ensure availability of this technology in advanced aircraft propulsion systems were assessed. No clearcut best conventional or variable cycle engine was identified. The dry bypass turbojet and the duct burning turbofans were initially selected as the best conventional engines, but later results, utilizing augmentation at takeoff, added the mixed-flow augmented turbofan as a promising contender. The modulating air flow, three-rotor variable cycle engine identified the performance features desired from VCE concepts (elimination of inlet drag and reduction in afterbody drag), but was a very heavy and complex engine.

  7. 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).

  8. Advanced beamed-energy and field propulsion concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myrabo, L. N.

    1983-01-01

    Specific phenomena which might lead to major advances in payload, range and terminal velocity of very advanced vehicle propulsion are studied. The effort focuses heavily on advanced propulsion spinoffs enabled by current government-funded investigations in directed-energy technology: i.e., laser, microwave, and relativistic charged particle beams. Futuristic (post-year 2000) beamed-energy propulsion concepts which indicate exceptional promise are identified and analytically investigated. The concepts must be sufficiently developed to permit technical understanding of the physical processes involved, assessment of the enabling technologies, and evaluation of their merits over conventional systems. Propulsion concepts that can be used for manned and/or unmanned missions for purposes of solar system exploration, planetary landing, suborbital flight, transport to orbit, and escape are presented. Speculations are made on the chronology of milestones in beamed-energy propulsion development, such as in systems applications of defense, satellite orbit-raising, global aerospace transportation, and manned interplanetary carriers.

  9. System model development for nuclear thermal propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Hannan, N.A.; Worley, B.A.; Walton, J.T.; Perkins, K.R.; Buksa, J.J.; Dobranich, D.

    1992-11-01

    A critical enabling technology in the evolutionary development of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) is the ability to predict the system performance under a variety of operating conditions. This is crucial for mission analysis and for control subsystem testing as well as for the modeling of various failure modes. Performance must be accurately predicted during steady-state and transient operation, including startup, shutdown and post operation cooling. The development and application of verified and validated system models has the potential to reduce the design, testing, cost and time required for the technology to reach flight-ready status. Since October 1991, the US Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA have initiated critical technology development efforts for NTP systems to be used on Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) missions to the Moon and Mars. This paper presents the strategy and progress of an interagency NASA/DOE/DOD team for NTP system modeling.

  10. System model development for nuclear thermal propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Walton, J.T.; Hannan, N.A.; Perkins, K.R.; Buksa, J.J.; Worley, B.A.; Dobranich, D.

    1992-10-01

    A critical enabling technology in the evolutionary development of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) is the ability to predict the system performance under a variety of operating conditions. Since October 1991, US (DOE), (DOD) and NASA have initiated critical technology development efforts for NTP systems to be used on Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) missions to the Moon and Mars. This paper presents the strategy and progress of an interagency NASA/DOE/DOD team for NTP system modeling. It is the intent of the interagency team to develop several levels of computer programs to simulate various NTP systems. An interagency team was formed for this task to use the best capabilities available and to assure appropriate peer review. The vision and strategy of the interagency team for developing NTP system models will be discussed in this paper. A review of the progress on the Level 1 interagency model is also presented.

  11. Innovation Approaches to Development and Ground Testing of Advanced Bimodal Space Power and Propulsion Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Hill, T.; Noble, C.; Martinell, J.; Borowski, S.

    2000-07-14

    The last major development effort for nuclear power and propulsion systems ended in 1993. Currently, there is not an initiative at either the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) or the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that requires the development of new nuclear power and propulsion systems. Studies continue to show nuclear technology as a strong technical candidate to lead the way toward human exploration of adjacent planets or provide power for deep space missions, particularly a 15,000 lbf bimodal nuclear system with 115 kW power capability. The development of nuclear technology for space applications would require technology development in some areas and a major flight qualification program. The last major ground test facility considered for nuclear propulsion qualification was the U.S. Air Force/DOE Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Project. Seven years have passed since that effort, and the questions remain the same, how to qualify nuclear power and propulsion systems for future space flight. It can be reasonably assumed that much of the nuclear testing required to qualify a nuclear system for space application will be performed at DOE facilities as demonstrated by the Nuclear Rocket Engine Reactor Experiment (NERVA) and Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) programs. The nuclear infrastructure to support testing in this country is aging and getting smaller, though facilities still exist to support many of the technology development needs. By renewing efforts, an innovative approach to qualifying these systems through the use of existing facilities either in the U.S. (DOE's Advance Test Reactor, High Flux Irradiation Facility and the Contained Test Facility) or overseas should be possible.

  12. Innovative Approaches to Development and Ground Testing of Advanced Bimodal Space Power and Propulsion Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Hill, Thomas Johnathan; Noble, Cheryl Ann; Noble, C.; Martinell, John Stephen; Borowski, S.

    2000-07-01

    The last major development effort for nuclear power and propulsion systems ended in 1993. Currently, there is not an initiative at either the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) or the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that requires the development of new nuclear power and propulsion systems. Studies continue to show nuclear technology as a strong technical candidate to lead the way toward human exploration of adjacent planets or provide power for deep space missions, particularly a 15,000 lbf bimodal nuclear system with 115 kW power capability. The development of nuclear technology for space applications would require technology development in some areas and a major flight qualification program. The last major ground test facility considered for nuclear propulsion qualification was the U.S. Air Force/DOE Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Project. Seven years have passed since that effort, and the questions remain the same, how to qualify nuclear power and propulsion systems for future space flight. It can be reasonable assumed that much of the nuclear testing required to qualify a nuclear system for space application will be performed at DOE facilities as demonstrated by the Nuclear Rocket Engine Reactor Experiment (NERVA) and Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) programs. The nuclear infrastructure to support testing in this country is aging and getting smaller, though facilities still exist to support many of the technology development needs. By renewing efforts, an innovative approach to qualifying these systems through the use of existing facilities either in the U.S. (DOE's Advance Test Reactor, High Flux Irradiation Facility and the Contained Test Facility) or overseas should be possible.

  13. Advancements Toward Oil-Free Rotorcraft Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howard, Samuel A.; Bruckner, Robert J.; Radil, Kevin C.

    2010-01-01

    NASA and the Army have been working for over a decade to advance the state-of-the-art (SOA) in Oil-Free Turbomachinery with an eye toward reduced emissions and maintenance, and increased performance and efficiency among other benefits. Oil-Free Turbomachinery is enabled by oil-free gas foil bearing technology and relatively new high-temperature tribological coatings. Rotorcraft propulsion is a likely candidate to apply oil-free bearing technology because the engine size class matches current SOA for foil bearings and because foil bearings offer the opportunity for higher speeds and temperatures and lower weight, all critical issues for rotorcraft engines. This paper describes an effort to demonstrate gas foil journal bearing use in the hot section of a full-scale helicopter engine core. A production engine hot-core location is selected as the candidate foil bearing application. Rotordynamic feasibility, bearing sizing, and load capability are assessed. The results of the program will help guide future analysis and design in this area by documenting the steps required and the process utilized for successful application of oil-free technology to a full-scale engine.

  14. Nuclear rockets: High-performance propulsion for Mars

    SciTech Connect

    Watson, C.W.

    1994-05-01

    A new impetus to manned Mars exploration was introduced by President Bush in his Space Exploration Initiative. This has led, in turn, to a renewed interest in high-thrust nuclear thermal rocket propulsion (NTP). The purpose of this report is to give a brief tutorial introduction to NTP and provide a basic understanding of some of the technical issues in the realization of an operational NTP engine. Fundamental physical principles are outlined from which a variety of qualitative advantages of NTP over chemical propulsion systems derive, and quantitative performance comparisons are presented for illustrative Mars missions. Key technologies are described for a representative solid-core heat-exchanger class of engine, based on the extensive development work in the Rover and NERVA nuclear rocket programs (1955 to 1973). The most driving technology, fuel development, is discussed in some detail for these systems. Essential highlights are presented for the 19 full-scale reactor and engine tests performed in these programs. On the basis of these tests, the practicality of graphite-based nuclear rocket engines was established. Finally, several higher-performance advanced concepts are discussed. These have received considerable attention, but have not, as yet, developed enough credibility to receive large-scale development.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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".

  18. 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.

  19. Updated solid-core nuclear thermal propulsion engine trades

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pelaccio, Dennis G.; Scheil, Christine M.; Livingston, Julie M.

    1991-01-01

    This study examined the application of state-of-the-art propulsion and reactor technologies to a near-term solid-core NERVA-based nuclear thermal propulsion system. Updated reactor performance and weight scaling laws were initially derived and input into a nuclear rocket engine system cycle design analysis code. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine system weight, size, and performance are presented here for a large range of chamber pressures, nozzle area ratios, and thrust levels for three reactor fuel types operating at their corresponding temperatures. Operational characteristics and design features of representative NTP engine concepts are also presented.

  20. Test facilities for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion systems

    SciTech Connect

    Beck, D.F.; Allen, G.C.; Shipers, L.R.; Dobranich, D.; Ottinger, C.A.; Harmon, C.D.; Fan, W.C. ); Todosow, M. )

    1992-09-22

    Interagency panels evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) development options have consistently recognized the need for constructing a major new ground test facility to support fuel element and engine testing. This paper summarizes the requirements, configuration, and baseline performance of some of the major subsystems designed to support a proposed ground test complex for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion fuel elements and engines being developed for the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program. Some preliminary results of evaluating this facility for use in testing other NTP concepts are also summarized.

  1. 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.

  2. Cryogenic Fluid Management Technology Development for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, B. D.; Caffrey, J.; Hedayat, A.; Stephens, J.; Polsgrove, R.

    2015-01-01

    Cryogenic fluid management technology is critical to the success of future nuclear thermal propulsion powered vehicles and long duration missions. This paper discusses current capabilities in key technologies and their development path. The thermal environment, complicated from the radiation escaping a reactor of a nuclear thermal propulsion system, is examined and analysis presented. The technology development path required for maintaining cryogenic propellants in this environment is reviewed. This paper is intended to encourage and bring attention to the cryogenic fluid management technologies needed to enable nuclear thermal propulsion powered deep space missions.

  3. Use of cermet fueled nuclear reactors for direct nuclear propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Bhattacharyya, S.K.; Carlson, L.W.; Kuczen, K.D.; Hanan, N.A.; Palmer, R.G.; Von Hoomissen, J.; Chiu, W.; Haaland, R.

    1988-07-01

    There has been a renewal of interest in Direct Nuclear Propulsion (DNP) because of the Air Force Forecast II recommendation for the development of the technology. Several nuclear concepts have been proposed to meet the Direct Nuclear Propulsion challenge. In this paper we will present results of an initial study of the potential of a cermet fueled nuclear system in providing the desired DNP capabilities and featuring a set of unique safety characteristics. The concept of cermet fuel for DNP applications was first developed by ANL and GE working independently more than 20 years ago. The two organizations came to several remarkably consistent conclusions. The present work has consisted of collecting a unified set of design parameters from the set of design results produced in the earlier work. The conclusion of this exercise was that a cermet-fueled DNP design looked extremely promising from performance and safety considerations and that it deserves serious consideration when the decision to develop one or more concepts for DNP is made.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Ground-to-orbit laser propulsion: Advanced applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kare, Jordin T.

    1990-01-01

    Laser propulsion uses a large fixed laser to supply energy to heat an inert propellant in a rocket thruster. Such a system has two potential advantages: extreme simplicity of the thruster, and potentially high performance, particularly high exhaust velocity. By taking advantage of the simplicity of the thruster, it should be possible to launch small (10 to 1000 kg) payloads to orbit using roughly 1 MW of average laser power per kg of payload. The incremental cost of such launches would be of an order of $200/kg for the smallest systems, decreasing to essentially the cost of electricity to run the laser (a few times $10/kg) for larger systems. Although the individual payload size would be smaller, a laser launch system would be inherently high-volume, with the capacity to launch tens of thousands of payloads per year. Also, with high exhaust velocity, a laser launch system could launch payloads to high velocities - geosynchronous transfer, Earth escape, or beyond - at a relatively small premium over launches to LEO. The status of pulsed laser propulsion is briefly reviewed including proposals for advanced vehicles. Several applications appropriate to the early part of the next century and perhaps valuable well into the next millennium are discussed qualitatively: space habitat supply, deep space mission supply, nuclear waste disposal, and manned vehicle launching.

  7. Ground-to-orbit laser propulsion: Advanced applications

    SciTech Connect

    Kare, J.T.

    1990-01-01

    Laser propulsion uses a large fixed laser to supply energy to heat an inert propellant in a rocket thruster. Such a system has two potential advantages: extreme simplicity of the thruster, and potentially high performance -- particularly high exhaust velocity. By taking advantage of the simplicity of the thruster, it should be possible to launch small (10--1000 kg) payloads to orbit using roughly 1 MW of average laser power per kg of payload. The incremental cost of such launches would be of order $200/kg for the smallest systems, decreasing to essentially the cost of electricity to run the laser (a few times $10/kg) for large systems. Although the individual payload size would be small, a laser launch system would be inherently high-volume, with the capacity to launch tens of thousands of payloads per year. Also, with high exhaust velocity, a laser launch system could launch payloads to high velocities -- geosynchronous transfer, Earth escape, or beyond -- at a relatively small premium over launches to LEO. In this paper, we briefly review the status of pulsed laser propulsion, including proposals for advanced vehicles. We then discuss qualitatively several unique applications appropriate to the early part of the next century, and perhaps valuable well into the next millenium: space habitat supply, deep space mission supply, nuclear waste disposal, and manned vehicle launching.

  8. Advanced propulsion for LEO-Moon transport. 1: A method for evaluating advanced propulsion performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, Martin O.

    1992-01-01

    This report describes a study to evaluate the benefits of advanced propulsion technologies for transporting materials between low Earth orbit and the Moon. A relatively conventional reference transportation system, and several other systems, each of which includes one advanced technology component, are compared in terms of how well they perform a chosen mission objective. The evaluation method is based on a pairwise life-cycle cost comparison of each of the advanced systems with the reference system. Somewhat novel and economically important features of the procedure are the inclusion not only of mass payback ratios based on Earth launch costs, but also of repair and capital acquisition costs, and of adjustments in the latter to reflect the technological maturity of the advanced technologies. The required input information is developed by panels of experts. The overall scope and approach of the study are presented in the introduction. The bulk of the paper describes the evaluation method; the reference system and an advanced transportation system, including a spinning tether in an eccentric Earth orbit, are used to illustrate it.

  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. System model development for nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walton, James T.; Hannan, Nelson A.; Perkins, Ken R.; Buksa, John H.; Worley, Brian A.; Dobranich, Dean

    1992-01-01

    A critical enabling technology in the evolutionary development of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) is the ability to predict the system performance under a variety of operating conditions. This is crucial for mission analysis and for control subsystem testing as well as for the modeling of various failure modes. Performance must be accurately predicted during steady-state and transient operation, including startup, shutdown, and post operation cooling. The development and application of verified and validated system models has the potential to reduce the design, testing, and cost and time required for the technology to reach flight-ready status. Since Oct. 1991, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD), and NASA have initiated critical technology development efforts for NTP systems to be used on Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) missions to the Moon and Mars. This paper presents the strategy and progress of an interagency NASA/DOE/DOD team for NTP system modeling. It is the intent of the interagency team to develop several levels of computer programs to simulate various NTP systems. The first level will provide rapid, parameterized calculations of overall system performance. Succeeding computer programs will provide analysis of each component in sufficient detail to guide the design teams and experimental efforts. The computer programs will allow simulation of the entire system to allow prediction of the integrated performance. An interagency team was formed for this task to use the best capabilities available and to assure appropriate peer review.

  11. A cermet fuel reactor for nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kruger, Gordon

    1991-01-01

    Work on the cermet fuel reactor done in the 1960's by General Electric (GE) and the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) that had as its goal the development of systems that could be used for nuclear rocket propulsion as well as closed cycle propulsion system designs for ship propulsion, space nuclear propulsion, and other propulsion systems is reviewed. It is concluded that the work done in the 1960's has demonstrated that we can have excellent thermal and mechanical performance with cermet fuel. Thousands of hours of testing were performed on the cermet fuel at both GE and AGL, including very rapid transients and some radiation performance history. We conclude that there are no feasibility issues with cermet fuel. What is needed is reactivation of existing technology and qualification testing of a specific fuel form. We believe this can be done with a minimum development risk.

  12. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Mars Mission Systems Analysis and Requirements Definition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mulqueen, Jack; Chiroux, Robert C.; Thomas, Dan; Crane, Tracie

    2007-01-01

    This paper describes the Mars transportation vehicle design concepts developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Advanced Concepts Office. These vehicle design concepts provide an indication of the most demanding and least demanding potential requirements for nuclear thermal propulsion systems for human Mars exploration missions from years 2025 to 2035. Vehicle concept options vary from large "all-up" vehicle configurations that would transport all of the elements for a Mars mission on one vehicle. to "split" mission vehicle configurations that would consist of separate smaller vehicles that would transport cargo elements and human crew elements to Mars separately. Parametric trades and sensitivity studies show NTP stage and engine design options that provide the best balanced set of metrics based on safety, reliability, performance, cost and mission objectives. Trade studies include the sensitivity of vehicle performance to nuclear engine characteristics such as thrust, specific impulse and nuclear reactor type. Tbe associated system requirements are aligned with the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) Reference Mars mission as described in the Explorations Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) report. The focused trade studies include a detailed analysis of nuclear engine radiation shield requirements for human missions and analysis of nuclear thermal engine design options for the ESAS reference mission.

  13. 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.

  14. Advanced propulsion system for hybrid vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norrup, L. V.; Lintz, A. T.

    1980-01-01

    A number of hybrid propulsion systems were evaluated for application in several different vehicle sizes. A conceptual design was prepared for the most promising configuration. Various system configurations were parametrically evaluated and compared, design tradeoffs performed, and a conceptual design produced. Fifteen vehicle/propulsion systems concepts were parametrically evaluated to select two systems and one vehicle for detailed design tradeoff studies. A single hybrid propulsion system concept and vehicle (five passenger family sedan)were selected for optimization based on the results of the tradeoff studies. The final propulsion system consists of a 65 kW spark-ignition heat engine, a mechanical continuously variable traction transmission, a 20 kW permanent magnet axial-gap traction motor, a variable frequency inverter, a 386 kg lead-acid improved state-of-the-art battery, and a transaxle. The system was configured with a parallel power path between the heat engine and battery. It has two automatic operational modes: electric mode and heat engine mode. Power is always shared between the heat engine and battery during acceleration periods. In both modes, regenerative braking energy is absorbed by the battery.

  15. 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.

  16. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Ground Test History

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harold P.

    2014-01-01

    Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) was started in 1955 under the Atomic Energy Commission as project Rover and was assigned to Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Nevada Test Site was selected in 1956 and facility construction began in 1957. The KIWI-A was tested on July 1, 1959 for 5 minutes at 70MW. KIWI-A1 was tested on July 8, 1960 for 6 minutes at 85MW. KIWI-A3 was tested on October 10, 1960 for 5 minutes at 100MW. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed in 1958. On August 31, 1960 the AEC and NASA established the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office and named Harold Finger as Director. Immediately following the formation of SNPO, contracts were awarded for the Reactor In Flight Test (RIFT), master plan for the Nuclear Rocket Engine Development Station (NRDS), and the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA). From December 7, 1961 to November 30, 1962, the KIWI-B1A, KIWI-B1B, and KIWI-B4A were tested at test cell A. The last two engines were only tested for several seconds before noticeable failure of the fuel elements. Harold Finger called a stop to any further hot fire testing until the problem was well understood. The KIWI-B4A cold flow test showed the problem to be related to fluid dynamics of hydrogen interstitial flow causing fuel element vibrations. President Kennedy visited the NTS one week after the KIWI-B4A failure and got to see the engine starting to be disassembled in the maintenance facility. The KIWI-B4D and KIWI-B4E were modified to not have the vibration problems and were tested in test cell C. The NERVA NRX program started testing in early 1964 with NRX-A1 cold flow test series (unfueled graphite core), NRX-A2 and NRX-A3 power test series up to 1122 MW for 13 minutes. In March 1966, the NRX-EST (Engine System Test) was the first breadboard using flight functional relationship and total operating time of 116 minutes. The NRX-EST demonstrated the feasibility of a hot bleed cycle. The NRX-A5 had multiple start

  17. A Critical Review of Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion 1984-1993

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    Market: Researchers in nuclear power, physicists, chemical and nuclear engineers, students, and policy makers. The papers in this volume summarize key technological advancements that occurred during the ten years from 1984 to 1993 in such areas as heat pipe technology, fuels, space nuclear safety, dynamic power conversion systems, and advanced radiator technologies for spacecraft power systems. In light of new industry initiatives to form a consortia and the possibility of bi-modal space nuclear power and propulsion systems, this informative volume will be an invaluable reference source.

  18. 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.

  19. Advancing Sensor Technology for Aerospace Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Figueroa, Fernando; Mercer, Carolyn R.

    2002-01-01

    NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC) and Glenn Research Center (GRC) participate in the development of technologies for propulsion testing and propulsion applications in air and space transportation. Future transportation systems and the test facilities needed to develop and sustain them are becoming increasingly complex. Sensor technology is a fundamental pillar that makes possible development of complex systems that must operate in automatic mode (closed loop systems), or even in assisted-autonomous mode (highly self-sufficient systems such as planetary exploration spacecraft). Hence, a great deal of effort is dedicated to develop new sensors and related technologies to be used in research facilities, test facilities, and in vehicles and equipment. This paper describes sensor technologies being developed and in use at SSC and GRC, including new technologies in integrated health management involving sensors, components, processes, and vehicles.

  20. Advanced gel propulsion controls for kill vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yasuhara, W. K.; Olson, A.; Finato, S.

    1993-06-01

    A gel propulsion control concept for tactical applications is reviewed, and the status of the individual component technologies currently under development at the Aerojet Propulsion Division is discussed. It is concluded that a gel propellant Divert and Attitude Control Subsystem (DACS) provides a safe, insensitive munitions compliant alternative to current liquid Theater Missile Defense (TMD) DACS approaches. The gel kill vehicle (KV) control system packages a total impulse typical of a tactical weapon interceptor for the ground- or sea-based TMD systems. High density packaging makes it possible to increase firepower and to eliminate long-term high pressure gas storage associated with bipropellant systems. The integrated control subsystem technologies encompass solid propellant gas generators, insulated composite overwrapped propellant tanks, lightweight endoatmospheric thrusters, and insensitive munition gel propellants, which meet the requirements of a deployable, operationally safe KV.

  1. Advanced Compatibility Characterization Of AF-M315E With Spacecraft Propulsion System Materials Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McClure, Mark B.; Greene, Benjamin

    2014-01-01

    All spacecraft require propulsion systems for thrust and maneuvering. Propulsion systems can be chemical, nuclear, electrical, cold gas or combinations thereof. Chemical propulsion has proven to be the most reliable technology since the deployment of launch vehicles. Performance, storability, and handling are three important aspects of liquid chemical propulsion. Bipropellant systems require a fuel and an oxidizer for propulsion, but monopropellants only require a fuel and a catalyst for propulsion and are therefore simpler and lighter. Hydrazine is the state of the art propellant for monopropellant systems, but has drawbacks because it is highly hazardous to human health, which requires extensive care in handling, complex ground ops due to safety and environmental considerations, and lengthy turnaround times for reusable spacecraft. All users of hydrazine monopropellant must contend with these issues and their associated costs. The development of a new monopropellant, intended to replace hydrazine, has been in progress for years. This project will apply advanced techniques to characterize the engineering properties of materials used in AF-M315E propulsion systems after propellant exposure. AF-M315E monopropellant has been selected HQ's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) to replace toxic hydrazine for improved performance and reduce safety and health issues that will shorten reusable spacecraft turn-around time. In addition, this project will fundamentally strengthen JSC's core competency to evaluate, use and infuse liquid propellant systems.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. A review of nuclear electric propulsion spacecraft system concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deininger, W. D.; Nock, K. T.

    1990-01-01

    The last 25-30 years of system concepts and design philosophies for spacecraft employing nuclear-electric propulsion (NEP) are reviewed. NEP spacecraft-system design constraints and criteria are identified, including radiation exposure of humans and electronics, thermal control requirements, effluent contamination of spacecraft surfaces, surface erosion, launch-vehicle integration, operations and safety requirements, attitude control, EM interference, and power control and distribution. The impact on spacecraft design philosophy of these constraints and criteria is explored. Several NEP spacecraft are characterized and discussed with respect to the propulsion system used. The electric propulsion system catagories are electrothermal (arcjet), EM (magnetoplasmadynamic and pulsed-inductive thruster) and electrostatic (ion engine). A brief summary of the mission, nuclear power source, electric propulsion system, and spacecraft configuration are provided for each NEP spacecraft concept.

  5. 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.

  6. Nuclear thermal propulsion test facility requirements and development strategy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, George C.; Warren, John; Clark, J. S.

    1991-01-01

    The Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) subpanel of the Space Nuclear Propulsion Test Facilities Panel evaluated facility requirements and strategies for nuclear thermal propulsion systems development. High pressure, solid core concepts were considered as the baseline for the evaluation, with low pressure concepts an alternative. The work of the NTP subpanel revealed that a wealth of facilities already exists to support NTP development, and that only a few new facilities must be constructed. Some modifications to existing facilities will be required. Present funding emphasis should be on long-lead-time items for the major new ground test facility complex and on facilities supporting nuclear fuel development, hot hydrogen flow test facilities, and low power critical facilities.

  7. Tutorial on nuclear thermal propulsion safety for Mars

    SciTech Connect

    Buden, D.

    1992-01-01

    Safety is the prime design requirement for nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP). It must be built in at the initiation of the design process. An understanding of safety concerns is fundamental to the development of nuclear rockets for manned missions to Mars and many other applications that will be enabled or greatly enhanced by the use of nuclear propulsion. To provide an understanding of the basic issues, a tutorial has been prepared. This tutorial covers a range of topics including safety requirements and approaches to meet these requirements, risk and safety analysis methodology, NERVA reliability and safety approach, and life cycle risk assessments.

  8. Tutorial on nuclear thermal propulsion safety for Mars

    SciTech Connect

    Buden, D.

    1992-08-01

    Safety is the prime design requirement for nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP). It must be built in at the initiation of the design process. An understanding of safety concerns is fundamental to the development of nuclear rockets for manned missions to Mars and many other applications that will be enabled or greatly enhanced by the use of nuclear propulsion. To provide an understanding of the basic issues, a tutorial has been prepared. This tutorial covers a range of topics including safety requirements and approaches to meet these requirements, risk and safety analysis methodology, NERVA reliability and safety approach, and life cycle risk assessments.

  9. NASA/DOE/DOD nuclear propulsion technology planning: Summary of FY 1991 interagency panel results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.; Wickenheiser, Timothy J.; Doherty, Michael P.; Marshall, Albert; Bhattacharryya, Samit K.; Warren, John

    1992-01-01

    Interagency (NASA/DOE/DOD) technical panels worked in 1991 to evaluate critical nuclear propulsion issues, compare nuclear propulsion concepts for a manned Mars mission on a consistent basis, and to continue planning a technology development project for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). Panels were formed to address mission analysis, nuclear facilities, safety policy, nuclear fuels and materials, nuclear electric propulsion technology, and nuclear thermal propulsion technology. A summary of the results and recommendations of the panels is presented.

  10. Magnetized Target Fusion in Advanced Propulsion Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cylar, Rashad

    2003-01-01

    The Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) Propulsion lab at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama has a program in place that has adopted to attempt to create a faster, lower cost and more reliable deep space transportation system. In this deep space travel the physics and development of high velocity plasma jets must be understood. The MTF Propulsion lab is also in attempt to open up the solar system for human exploration and commercial use. Fusion, as compared to fission, is just the opposite. Fusion involves the light atomic nuclei combination to produce denser nuclei. In the process, the energy is created by destroying the mass according to the distinguished equation: E = mc2 . Fusion energy development is being pursued worldwide as a very sustainable form of energy that is environmentally friendly. For the purposes of space exploration fusion reactions considered include the isotopes of hydrogen-deuterium (D2) and tritium (T3). Nuclei have an electrostatic repulsion between them and in order for the nuclei to fuse this repulsion must be overcome. One technique to bypass repulsion is to heat the nuclei to very high temperatures. The temperatures vary according to the type of reactions. For D-D reactions, one billion degrees Celsius is required, and for D-T reactions, one hundred million degrees is sufficient. There has to be energy input for useful output to be obtained form the fusion To make fusion propulsion practical, the mass, the volume, and the cost of the equipment to produce the reactions (generally called the reactor) need to be reduced by an order of magnitude or two from the state-of-the-art fusion machines. Innovations in fusion schemes are therefore required, especially for obtaining thrust for propulsive applications. Magnetized target fusion (MTF) is one of the innovative fusion concepts that have emerged over the last several years. MSFC is working with Los Alamos National Laboratory and other research groups in studying the

  11. Advanced propulsion system concept for hybrid vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bhate, S.; Chen, H.; Dochat, G.

    1980-01-01

    A series hybrid system, utilizing a free piston Stirling engine with a linear alternator, and a parallel hybrid system, incorporating a kinematic Stirling engine, are analyzed for various specified reference missions/vehicles ranging from a small two passenger commuter vehicle to a van. Parametric studies for each configuration, detail tradeoff studies to determine engine, battery and system definition, short term energy storage evaluation, and detail life cycle cost studies were performed. Results indicate that the selection of a parallel Stirling engine/electric, hybrid propulsion system can significantly reduce petroleum consumption by 70 percent over present conventional vehicles.

  12. 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.

  13. Space exploration initiative candidate nuclear propulsion test facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baldwin, Darrell; Clark, John S.

    1993-01-01

    One-page descriptions for approximately 200 existing government, university, and industry facilities which may be available in the future to support SEI nuclear propulsion technology development and test program requirements are provided. To facilitate use of the information, the candidate facilities are listed both by location (Index L) and by Facility Type (Index FT). The included one-page descriptions provide a brief narrative description of facility capability, suggest potential uses for each facility, and designate a point of contact for additional information that may be needed in the future. The Nuclear Propulsion Office at NASA Lewis presently plans to maintain, expand, and update this information periodically for use by NASA, DOE, and DOD personnel involved in planning various phases of the SEI Nuclear Propulsion Project.

  14. Raising Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) Technology Readiness Above 3

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harold P., Jr.

    2014-01-01

    NTP development is currently supported by the NASA program office "Advanced Exploration Systems". The concept is a main propulsion option being considered for human missions to Mars in the 2030's. Major NTP development took place in the 1960's and 1970's under the Rover/NERVA program. The technology had matured to TRL 6 and was preparing to go to TRL 7 with a prototype flight engine before the program was cancelled. Over the last 40 years, a variety of continuations started, but only lasted a few years each. The Rover/NERVA infrastructure is almost all gone. The only remains are a few pieces of hardware, final reports and a few who worked the Rover/NERVA. Two types of nuclear fuel are being investigated to meet the current engine design specific impulse of 900 seconds compared to approximately 850 seconds demonstrated during Rover/NERVA. One is a continuation of composite fuel with new coatings to better control mid-band corrosion. The other type is a CERMET fuel made of Tungsten and UO2. Both fuels are being made from Rover/NERVA lessons learned, but with slightly different recipes to increase fuel endurance at higher operating temperatures. The technology readiness level (TRL) of these current modified reactor fuels is approximately TRL 3. To keep the development cost low and help mature the TRL level past 4 quickly, a few special non-nuclear test facilities have been made to test surrogate fuel, with depleted uranium, as coupons and full length elements. Both facilities utilize inductive heating and are licensed to handle depleted uranium. TRL 5 requires exposing the fuel to a nuclear environment and TRL 6 requires a prototype ground or flight engine system test. Currently, three different NTP ground test facility options are being investigated: exhaust scrubber, bore hole, and total exhaust containment. In parallel, a prototype flight demonstration test is also being studied. The first human mission to Mars in the 2030's is currently 2033. For an advanced

  15. Handling effluent from nuclear thermal propulsion system ground tests

    SciTech Connect

    Shipers, L.R.; Allen, G.C.

    1992-09-09

    A variety of approaches for handling effluent from nuclear thermal propulsion system ground tests in an environmentally acceptable manner are discussed. The functional requirements of effluent treatment are defined and concept options are presented within the framework of these requirements. System concepts differ primarily in the choice of fission-product retention and waste handling concepts. The concept options considered range from closed cycle (venting the exhaust to a closed volume or recirculating the hydrogen in a closed loop) to open cycle (real time processing and venting of the effluent). This paper reviews the different methods to handle effluent from nuclear thermal propulsion system ground tests.

  16. 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.

  17. Effluent treatment options for nuclear thermal propulsion system ground tests

    SciTech Connect

    Shipers, L.R.; Brockmann, J.E.

    1992-10-16

    A variety of approaches for handling effluent from nuclear thermal propulsion system ground tests in an environmentally acceptable manner are discussed. The functional requirements of effluent treatment are defined and concept options are presented within the framework of these requirements. System concepts differ primarily in the choice of fission-product retention and waste handling concepts. The concept options considered range from closed cycle (venting the exhaust to a closed volume or recirculating the hydrogen in a closed loop) to open cycle (real time processing and venting of the effluent). This paper reviews the strengths and weaknesses of different methods to handle effluent from nuclear thermal propulsion system ground tests.

  18. 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.

  19. Engine cycle design considerations for nuclear thermal propulsion systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelaccio, Dennis G.; Scheil, Christine M.; Collins, John T.

    1993-01-01

    A top-level study was performed which addresses nuclear thermal propulsion system engine cycle options and their applicability to support future Space Exploration Initiative manned lunar and Mars missions. Technical and development issues associated with expander, gas generator, and bleed cycle near-term, solid core nuclear thermal propulsion engines are identified and examined. In addition to performance and weight the influence of the engine cycle type on key design selection parameters such as design complexity, reliability, development time, and cost are discussed. Representative engine designs are presented and compared. Their applicability and performance impact on typical near-term lunar and Mars missions are shown.

  20. 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.

  1. Space Exploration Initiative Fuels, Materials and Related Nuclear Propulsion Technologies Panel

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bhattacharyya, S. K.; Olsen, C.; Cooper, R.; Matthews, R. B.; Walter, C.; Titran, R. J.

    1993-01-01

    This report was prepared by members of the Fuels, Materials and Related Technologies Panel, with assistance from a number of industry observers as well as laboratory colleagues of the panel members. It represents a consensus view of the panel members. This report was not subjected to a thorough review by DOE, NASA or DoD, and the opinions expressed should not be construed to represent the official position of these organizations, individually or jointly. Topics addressed include: requirement for fuels and materials development for nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP); overview of proposed concepts; fuels technology development plan; materials technology development plan; other reactor technology development; and fuels and materials requirements for advanced propulsion concepts.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Small Reactor Designs Suitable for Direct Nuclear Thermal Propulsion: Interim Report

    SciTech Connect

    Bruce G. Schnitzler

    2012-01-01

    Advancement of U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests requires high performance propulsion systems to support missions beyond low Earth orbit. A robust space exploration program will include robotic outer planet and crewed missions to a variety of destinations including the moon, near Earth objects, and eventually Mars. Past studies, in particular those in support of both the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), have shown nuclear thermal propulsion systems provide superior performance for high mass high propulsive delta-V missions. In NASA's recent Mars Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 study, nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) was again selected over chemical propulsion as the preferred in-space transportation system option for the human exploration of Mars because of its high thrust and high specific impulse ({approx}900 s) capability, increased tolerance to payload mass growth and architecture changes, and lower total initial mass in low Earth orbit. The recently announced national space policy2 supports the development and use of space nuclear power systems where such systems safely enable or significantly enhance space exploration or operational capabilities. An extensive nuclear thermal rocket technology development effort was conducted under the Rover/NERVA, GE-710 and ANL nuclear rocket programs (1955-1973). Both graphite and refractory metal alloy fuel types were pursued. The primary and significantly larger Rover/NERVA program focused on graphite type fuels. Research, development, and testing of high temperature graphite fuels was conducted. Reactors and engines employing these fuels were designed, built, and ground tested. The GE-710 and ANL programs focused on an alternative ceramic-metallic 'cermet' fuel type consisting of UO2 (or UN) fuel embedded in a refractory metal matrix such as tungsten. The General Electric program examined closed loop concepts for space or terrestrial applications as

  5. Liquid Oxygen/Liquid Methane Propulsion and Cryogenic Advanced Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klem, Mark D.; Smith, Timothy D.; Wadel, Mary F.; Meyer, Michael L.; Free, James M.; Cikanek, Harry A., III

    2011-01-01

    Exploration Systems Architecture Study conducted by NASA in 2005 identified the liquid oxygen (LOx)/liquid methane (LCH4) propellant combination as a prime candidate for the Crew Exploration Vehicle Service Module propulsion and for later use for ascent stage propulsion of the lunar lander. Both the Crew Exploration Vehicle and Lunar Lander were part the Constellation architecture, which had the objective to provide global sustained lunar human exploration capability. From late 2005 through the end of 2010, NASA and industry matured advanced development designs for many components that could be employed in relatively high thrust, high delta velocity, pressure fed propulsion systems for these two applications. The major investments were in main engines, reaction control engines, and the devices needed for cryogenic fluid management such as screens, propellant management devices, thermodynamic vents, and mass gauges. Engine and thruster developments also included advanced high reliability low mass igniters. Extensive tests were successfully conducted for all of these elements. For the thrusters and engines, testing included sea level and altitude conditions. This advanced development provides a mature technology base for future liquid oxygen/liquid methane pressure fed space propulsion systems. This paper documents the design and test efforts along with resulting hardware and test results.

  6. Advanced Space Propulsion System Flowfield Modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, Sheldon

    1998-01-01

    Solar thermal upper stage propulsion systems currently under development utilize small low chamber pressure/high area ratio nozzles. Consequently, the resulting flow in the nozzle is highly viscous, with the boundary layer flow comprising a significant fraction of the total nozzle flow area. Conventional uncoupled flow methods which treat the nozzle boundary layer and inviscid flowfield separately by combining the two calculations via the influence of the boundary layer displacement thickness on the inviscid flowfield are not accurate enough to adequately treat highly viscous nozzles. Navier Stokes models such as VNAP2 can treat these flowfields but cannot perform a vacuum plume expansion for applications where the exhaust plume produces induced environments on adjacent structures. This study is built upon recently developed artificial intelligence methods and user interface methodologies to couple the VNAP2 model for treating viscous nozzle flowfields with a vacuum plume flowfield model (RAMP2) that is currently a part of the Plume Environment Prediction (PEP) Model. This study integrated the VNAP2 code into the PEP model to produce an accurate, practical and user friendly tool for calculating highly viscous nozzle and exhaust plume flowfields.

  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. Advanced Power and Propulsion: 2000-2004

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This custom bibliography from the NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program lists a sampling of records found in the NASA Aeronautics and Space Database. The scope of this topic includes primarily nuclear thermal and nuclear electric technologies, to enable spacecraft and instrument operation and communications, particularly in the outer solar system, where sunlight can no longer be exploited by solar panels. This area of focus is one of the enabling technologies as defined by NASA s Report of the President s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, published in June 2004.

  9. Development of Metal Matrix Composites for NASA'S Advanced Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Jonathan A.

    2000-01-01

    The state-of-the-art development of several aluminum and copper based Metal Matrix Composites (MMC) for NASA's advanced propulsion systems will be presented. The presentation's goal is to provide an overview of NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center's planned and on-going activities in MMC for advanced liquid rocket engines such as the X-33 vehicle's Aerospike and X-34 Fastrac engine. The focus will be on lightweight and environmental compatibility with oxygen and hydrogen of key MMC materials, within each NASA's new propulsion application, that will provide a high payoff for NASA's reusable launch vehicle systems and space access vehicles. Advanced MMC processing techniques such as plasma spray, centrifugal casting, pressure infiltration casting will be discussed. Development of a novel 3D printing method for low cost production of composite preform, and functional gradient MMC to enhanced rocket engine's dimensional stability will be presented.

  10. Magnetic Flux Compression Concept for Nuclear Pulse Propulsion and Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Litchford, Ronald J.

    2000-01-01

    The desire for fast, efficient interplanetary transport requires propulsion systems having short acceleration times and very high specific impulse attributes. Unfortunately, most highly efficient propulsion systems which are within the capabilities of present day technologies are either very heavy or yield very low impulse such that the acceleration time to final velocity is too long to be of lasting interest, One exception, the nuclear thermal thruster, could achieve the desired acceleration but it would require inordinately large mass ratios to reach the range of desired final velocities. An alternative approach, among several competing concepts that are beyond our modern technical capabilities, is a pulsed thermonuclear device utilizing microfusion detonations. In this paper, we examine the feasibility of an innovative magnetic flux compression concept for utilizing microfusion detonations, assuming that such low yield nuclear bursts can be realized in practice. In this concept, a magnetic field is compressed between an expanding detonation driven diamagnetic plasma and a stationary structure formed from a high temperature superconductor (HTSC). In general, we are interested in accomplishing two important functions: (1) collimation of a hot diamagnetic plasma for direct thrust production; and (2) pulse power generation for dense plasma ignition. For the purposes of this research, it is assumed that rnicrofusion detonation technology may become available within a few decades, and that this approach could capitalize on recent advances in inertial confinement fusion ICF) technologies including magnetized target concepts and antimatter initiated nuclear detonations. The charged particle expansion velocity in these detonations can be on the order of 10 (exp 6)- 10 (exp 7) meters per second, and, if effectively collimated by a magnetic nozzle, can yield the Isp and the acceleration levels needed for practical interplanetary spaceflight. The ability to ignite pure

  11. 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.

  12. Reliability comparison of various nuclear propulsion configurations for Mars mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Segna, Donald R.; Dagle, Jeffrey E.; Lyon, William F.

    1992-01-01

    Currently, trade-offs are being made among the various propulsion systems being considered for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) missions. It is necessary to investigate the reliability aspects as well as the efficiency, mass savings and experience characteristics of the various configurations. Reliability is a very important factor for the SEI missions because of the long duration and because problems will be fixed onboard. The propulsion options that were reviewed consist of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and various configurations of each system. There were four configurations developed for comparison with the NTP as baselined in the Synthesis (1991): 1) NEP, 2) hybrid NEP/NTP, 3) hybrid with power beaming, and 4) NTP upper stage on the heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV). The comparisons were based more or less on a qualitative review of complexity, stress levels and operations for each of the four configurations. Each configuration included a pressurized NEP and an NTP ascent stage propulsion system for the Mars mission.

  13. Reliability comparison of various nuclear propulsion configurations for Mars mission

    SciTech Connect

    Segna, D.R.; Dagle, J.E.; Lyon, W.F. III

    1992-01-01

    Currently, trade-offs are being made among the various propulsion systems being considered for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) missions. It is necessary to investigate the reliability aspects as well as the efficiency, mass savings, and experience characteristics of the various configurations. Reliability is a very important factor for the SEI missions because of the long duration and because problems will be fixed onboard. The propulsion options that were reviewed consist of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and various configurations of each system. There were four configurations developed for comparison with the NTP as baselined in the Synthesis (1991): (1) NEP, (2) hybrid NEP/NTP, (3) hybrid with power beaming, and (4) NTP upper stage on the heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV). The comparisons were based more or less on a qualitative review of complexity, stress levels and operations for each of the four configurations. Each configuration included a pressurized NEP and an NTP ascent stage propulsion system for the Mars mission.

  14. 15 CFR 744.5 - Restrictions on certain maritime nuclear propulsion end-uses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ... nuclear propulsion end-uses. 744.5 Section 744.5 Commerce and Foreign Trade Regulations Relating to... nuclear propulsion end-uses. (a) General prohibition. In addition to the license requirements for items... item is for use in connection with a foreign maritime nuclear propulsion project. This...

  15. 15 CFR 744.5 - Restrictions on certain maritime nuclear propulsion end-uses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... nuclear propulsion end-uses. 744.5 Section 744.5 Commerce and Foreign Trade Regulations Relating to... nuclear propulsion end-uses. (a) General prohibition. In addition to the license requirements for items... item is for use in connection with a foreign maritime nuclear propulsion project. This...

  16. 15 CFR 744.5 - Restrictions on certain maritime nuclear propulsion end-uses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... nuclear propulsion end-uses. 744.5 Section 744.5 Commerce and Foreign Trade Regulations Relating to... nuclear propulsion end-uses. (a) General prohibition. In addition to the license requirements for items... item is for use in connection with a foreign maritime nuclear propulsion project. This...

  17. 15 CFR 744.5 - Restrictions on certain maritime nuclear propulsion end-uses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... nuclear propulsion end-uses. 744.5 Section 744.5 Commerce and Foreign Trade Regulations Relating to... nuclear propulsion end-uses. (a) General prohibition. In addition to the license requirements for items... item is for use in connection with a foreign maritime nuclear propulsion project. This...

  18. 15 CFR 744.5 - Restrictions on certain maritime nuclear propulsion end-uses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... nuclear propulsion end-uses. 744.5 Section 744.5 Commerce and Foreign Trade Regulations Relating to... nuclear propulsion end-uses. (a) General prohibition. In addition to the license requirements for items... item is for use in connection with a foreign maritime nuclear propulsion project. This...

  19. Ground test facilities for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion engines and fuel elements

    SciTech Connect

    Allen, G.C.; Beck, D.F.; Harmon, C.D.; Shipers, L.R.

    1992-08-01

    Interagency panels evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion development options have consistently recognized the need for constructing a major new ground test facility to support fuel element and engine testing. This paper summarizes the requirements, configuration, and design issues of a proposed ground test complex for evaluating nuclear thermal propulsion engines and fuel elements being developed for the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program. 2 refs.

  20. Scoping calculations of power sources for nuclear electric propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Difilippo, F.C.

    1994-05-01

    This technical memorandum describes models and calculational procedures to fully characterize the nuclear island of power sources for nuclear electric propulsion. Two computer codes were written: one for the gas-cooled NERVA derivative reactor and the other for liquid metal-cooled fuel pin reactors. These codes are going to be interfaced by NASA with the balance of plant in order to making scoping calculations for mission analysis.

  1. Scoping Calculations of Power Sources for Nuclear Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Difilippo, F. C.

    1994-01-01

    This technical memorandum describes models and calculational procedures to fully characterize the nuclear island of power sources for nuclear electric propulsion. Two computer codes were written: one for the gas-cooled NERVA derivative reactor and the other for liquid metal-cooled fuel pin reactors. These codes are going to be interfaced by NASA with the balance of plant in order to make scoping calculations for mission analysis.

  2. Nuclear rocket propulsion. NASA plans and progress, FY 1991

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.; Miller, Thomas J.

    1991-01-01

    NASA has initiated planning for a technology development project for nuclear rocket propulsion systems for space explorer initiative (SEI) human and robotic missions to the moon and Mars. An interagency project is underway that includes the Department of Energy National Laboratories for nuclear technology development. The activities of the project planning team in FY 1990 and 1991 are summarized. The progress to date is discussed, and the project plan is reviewed. Critical technology issues were identified and include: (1) nuclear fuel temperature, life, and reliability; (2) nuclear system ground test; (3) safety; (4) autonomous system operation and health monitoring; and (5) minimum mass and high specific impulse.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Evaluation of advanced propulsion options for the next manned transportation system: Propulsion evolution study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spears, L. T.; Kramer, R. D.

    1990-01-01

    The objectives were to examine launch vehicle applications and propulsion requirements for potential future manned space transportation systems and to support planning toward the evolution of Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) and Space Transportation Main Engine (STME) engines beyond their current or initial launch vehicle applications. As a basis for examinations of potential future manned launch vehicle applications, we used three classes of manned space transportation concepts currently under study: Space Transportation System Evolution, Personal Launch System (PLS), and Advanced Manned Launch System (AMLS). Tasks included studies of launch vehicle applications and requirements for hydrogen-oxygen rocket engines; the development of suggestions for STME engine evolution beyond the mid-1990's; the development of suggestions for STME evolution beyond the Advanced Launch System (ALS) application; the study of booster propulsion options, including LOX-Hydrocarbon options; the analysis of the prospects and requirements for utilization of a single engine configuration over the full range of vehicle applications, including manned vehicles plus ALS and Shuttle C; and a brief review of on-going and planned LOX-Hydrogen propulsion technology activities.

  6. Small Low Mass Advanced PBR's for Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, J. R.; Todosow, M.; Ludewig, H.

    1994-07-01

    The advanced Particle Bed Reactor (PBR) to be described in this paper is characterized by relatively low power, and low cost, while still maintaining competition values for thrust/weight, specific impulse and operating times. The mission parameter which this reactor attempts to satisfy are: Thrust (N) = 6.8 (4); Specific Impulse (S) = 875; Total Full Thrust Time (S) = 1500; Thrust/Weight (unshielded) = 20 These requirements imply the following reactor design goals: Power (MW) = 400; Mixed Mean Outlet Temperature (K) = 3000; Chamber Pressure (Mpa) = 7 The following discussion will cover concept feasibility analyses, mass estimates, and a conclusion.

  7. Fabrication of High Temperature Cermet Materials for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hickman, Robert; Panda, Binayak; Shah, Sandeep

    2005-01-01

    Processing techniques are being developed to fabricate refractory metal and ceramic cermet materials for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). Significant advances have been made in the area of high-temperature cermet fuel processing since RoverNERVA. Cermet materials offer several advantages such as retention of fission products and fuels, thermal shock resistance, hydrogen compatibility, high conductivity, and high strength. Recent NASA h d e d research has demonstrated the net shape fabrication of W-Re-HfC and other refractory metal and ceramic components that are similar to UN/W-Re cermet fuels. This effort is focused on basic research and characterization to identify the most promising compositions and processing techniques. A particular emphasis is being placed on low cost processes to fabricate near net shape parts of practical size. Several processing methods including Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) and conventional PM processes are being evaluated to fabricate material property samples and components. Surrogate W-Re/ZrN cermet fuel materials are being used to develop processing techniques for both coated and uncoated ceramic particles. After process optimization, depleted uranium-based cermets will be fabricated and tested to evaluate mechanical, thermal, and hot H2 erosion properties. This paper provides details on the current results of the project.

  8. Development of Metal Matrix Composites for NASA's Advanced Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, J.; Elam, S.

    2001-01-01

    The state-of-the-art development of several Metal Matrix Composites (MMC) for NASA's advanced propulsion systems will be presented. The goal is to provide an overview of NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center's on-going activities in MMC components for advanced liquid rocket engines such as the X-33 vehicle's Aerospike engine and X-34's Fastrac engine. The focus will be on lightweight, low cost, and environmental compatibility with oxygen and hydrogen of key MMC materials, within each of NASA's new propulsion application, that will provide a high payoff for NASA's Reusable Launch Vehicles and space access vehicles. In order to fabricate structures from MMC, effective joining methods must be developed to join MMC to the same or to different monolithic alloys. Therefore, a qualitative assessment of MMC's welding and joining techniques will be outlined.

  9. Development of sensors for ceramic components in advanced propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Atkinson, William H.; Cyr, M. A.; Strange, R. R.

    1994-01-01

    The 'Development of Sensors for Ceramics Components in Advanced Propulsion Systems' program was divided into two phases. The objectives of Phase 1 were to analyze, evaluate and recommend sensor concepts for the measurement of surface temperature, strain and heat flux on ceramic components for advanced propulsion systems. The results of this effort were previously published in NASA CR-182111. As a result of Phase 1, three approaches were recommended for further development: pyrometry, thin-film sensors, and thermographic phosphors. The objectives of Phase 2 were to fabricate and conduct laboratory demonstration tests of these systems. A summary report of the Phase 2 effort, together with conclusions and recommendations for each of the categories evaluated, has been submitted to NASA. Emittance tests were performed on six materials furnished by NASA Lewis Research Center. Measurements were made of various surfaces at high temperature using a Thermogage emissometer. This report describes the emittance test program and presents a summary of the results.

  10. SSTAC/ARTS Review of the Draft Integrated Technology Plan (ITP). Volume 2: Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    The topics addressed are: (1) space propulsion technology program overview; (2) space propulsion technology program fact sheet; (3) low thrust propulsion; (4) advanced propulsion concepts; (5) high-thrust chemical propulsion; (6) cryogenic fluid management; (7) NASA CSTI earth-to-orbit propulsion; (8) advanced main combustion chamber program; (9) earth-to-orbit propulsion turbomachinery; (10) transportation technology; (11) space chemical engines technology; (12) nuclear propulsion; (13) spacecraft on-board propulsion; and (14) low-cost commercial transport.

  11. Design considerations for Mars transfer vehicles using nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emrich, William J.

    1995-01-01

    The design of a Mars Transfer Vehicle (MTV) utilizing nuclear propulsion will require that careful consideration be given to the nuclear radiation environment in which it will operate. The extremely high neutron and gamma fluxes characteristic of nuclear thermal propulsion systems will cause significant heating of the fluid systems in close proximity to the reactor, especially in the lower propellant tanks. Crew radiation doses are also a concern particularly late in a mission when there is less shielding from the propellant tanks. In this study, various vehicle configuration and shielding strategies were examined and the resulting time dependent radiation fields evaluated. A common cluster of three particle bed reactor (PBR) engines were used in all configurations examined. In general, it appears that long, relatively narrow vehicles perform the best from a radiation standpoint, however, good shield optimization will be critical in maintaining a low radiation environment while minimizing the shield weight penalty.

  12. Assessment of Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Facility and Capability Needs

    SciTech Connect

    James Werner

    2014-07-01

    The development of a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) system rests heavily upon being able to fabricate and demonstrate the performance of a high temperature nuclear fuel as well as demonstrating an integrated system prior to launch. A number of studies have been performed in the past which identified the facilities needed and the capabilities available to meet the needs and requirements identified at that time. Since that time, many facilities and capabilities within the Department of Energy have been removed or decommissioned. This paper provides a brief overview of the anticipated facility needs and identifies some promising concepts to be considered which could support the development of a nuclear thermal propulsion system. Detailed trade studies will need to be performed to support the decision making process.

  13. Nuclear Naval Propulsion: A Feasible Proliferation Pathway?

    SciTech Connect

    Swift, Alicia L.

    2014-01-31

    There is no better time than now to close the loophole in Article IV of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) that excludes military uses of fissile material from nuclear safeguards. Several countries have declared their intention to pursue and develop naval reactor technology, including Argentina, Brazil, Iran, and Pakistan, while other countries such as China, India, Russia, and the United States are expanding their capabilities. With only a minority of countries using low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel in their naval reactors, it is possible that a state could produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) under the guise of a nuclear navy while actually stockpiling the material for a nuclear weapon program. This paper examines the likelihood that non-nuclear weapon states exploit the loophole to break out from the NPT and also the regional ramifications of deterrence and regional stability of expanding naval forces. Possible solutions to close the loophole are discussed, including expanding the scope of the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, employing LEU fuel instead of HEU fuel in naval reactors, amending the NPT, creating an export control regime for naval nuclear reactors, and forming individual naval reactor safeguards agreements.

  14. 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.

  15. An Overview of Facilities and Capabilities to Support the Development of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    James Werner; Sam Bhattacharyya; Mike Houts

    2011-02-01

    Abstract. The future of American space exploration depends on the ability to rapidly and economically access locations of interest throughout the solar system. There is a large body of work (both in the US and the Former Soviet Union) that show that Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is the most technically mature, advanced propulsion system that can enable this rapid and economical access by its ability to provide a step increase above what is a feasible using a traditional chemical rocket system. For an NTP system to be deployed, the earlier measurements and recent predictions of the performance of the fuel and the reactor system need to be confirmed experimentally prior to launch. Major fuel and reactor system issues to be addressed include fuel performance at temperature, hydrogen compatibility, fission product retention, and restart capability. The prime issue to be addressed for reactor system performance testing involves finding an affordable and environmentally acceptable method to test a range of engine sizes using a combination of nuclear and non-nuclear test facilities. This paper provides an assessment of some of the capabilities and facilities that are available or will be needed to develop and test the nuclear fuel, and reactor components. It will also address briefly options to take advantage of the greatly improvement in computation/simulation and materials processing capabilities that would contribute to making the development of an NTP system more affordable. Keywords: Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), Fuel fabrication, nuclear testing, test facilities.

  16. Advanced ignition and propulsion technology program

    SciTech Connect

    Oldenborg, R.; Early, J.; Lester, C.

    1998-11-01

    This is the final report of a three-year, Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Reliable engine re-ignition plays a crucial role in enabling commercial and military aircraft to fly safely at high altitudes. This project addressed research elements critical to the optimization of laser-based igniter. The effort initially involved a collaborative research and development agreement with B.F. Goodrich Aerospace and Laser Fare, Inc. The work involved integrated experiments with theoretical modeling to provide a basic understanding of the chemistry and physics controlling the laser-induced ignition of fuel aerosols produced by turbojet engine injectors. In addition, the authors defined advanced laser igniter configurations that minimize laser packaging size, weight, complexity and power consumption. These innovative ignition concepts were shown to reliably ignite jet fuel aerosols over a broad range of fuel/air mixture and a t fuel temperatures as low as -40 deg F. The demonstrated fuel ignition performance was highly superior to that obtained by the state-of-the-art, laser-spark ignition method utilizing comparable laser energy. The authors also developed a laser-based method that effectively removes optically opaque deposits of fuel hydrocarbon combustion residues from laser window surfaces. Seven patents have been either issued or are pending that resulted from the technology developments within this project.

  17. Recapturing NERVA-Derived Fuels for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Qualls, A L; Hancock, Emily F

    2011-01-01

    The Department of Energy is working with NASA to examine fuel options for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion applications. Extensive development and testing was performed on graphite-based fuels during the Nuclear Engineer Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) and Rover programs through the early 1970s. This paper explores the possibility of recapturing the technology and the issues associated with using it for the next generation of nuclear thermal rockets. The issues discussed include a comparison of today's testing capabilities, analysis techniques and methods, and knowledge to that of previous development programs and presents a plan to recapture the technology for a flight program.

  18. Towards Run-time Assurance of Advanced Propulsion Algorithms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wong, Edmond; Schierman, John D.; Schlapkohl, Thomas; Chicatelli, Amy

    2014-01-01

    This paper covers the motivation and rationale for investigating the application of run-time assurance methods as a potential means of providing safety assurance for advanced propulsion control systems. Certification is becoming increasingly infeasible for such systems using current verification practices. Run-time assurance systems hold the promise of certifying these advanced systems by continuously monitoring the state of the feedback system during operation and reverting to a simpler, certified system if anomalous behavior is detected. The discussion will also cover initial efforts underway to apply a run-time assurance framework to NASA's model-based engine control approach. Preliminary experimental results are presented and discussed.

  19. Advances in Nuclear Energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frois, B.

    2005-04-01

    This paper briefly reviews the next generations of nuclear reactors and the perspectives of development of nuclear energy. Advanced reactors will progressively replace the existing ones during the next two decades. Future systems of the fourth generation are planned to be built beyond 2030. These systems have been studied in the framework of the "Generation IV" International Forum. The goals of these systems is to have a considerable increase in safety, be economically competitive and produce a significantly reduced volume of nuclear wastes. The closed fuel cycle is preferred.

  20. Mars mission performance enhancement with hybrid nuclear propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Dagle, J.E.; Noffsinger, K.E.; Segna, D.R.

    1992-01-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), compared with chemical and nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), can effectively deliver the same mass to Mars using much less propellant, consequently requiring less mass delivered to Earth orbit. The lower thrust of NEP requires a spiral trajectory near planetary bodies, which significantly increases the travel time. Although the total travel time is long, the portion of the flight time spent during interplanetary transfer is shorter, because the vehicle is thrusting for much longer periods of time. This has led to the supposition that NEP, although very attractive for cargo missions, is not suitable for piloted missions to Mars. However, with the application of a hybrid application of a hybrid approach to propulsion, the benefits of NEP can be utilized while drastically reducing the overall travel time required. Development of a dual-mode system, which utilizes high-thrust NTP to propel the spacecraft from the planetary gravitational influence and low-thrust NEP to accelerate in interplanetary space, eliminates the spiral trajectory and results in a much faster transit time than could be obtained by either NEP or NTP alone. This results in a mission profile with a lower initial mass in low Earth orbit. In addition, the propulsion system would have the capability to provide electrical power for mission applications.

  1. Propulsion

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Air and Space, 1978

    1978-01-01

    An introductory discussion of aircraft propulsion is included along with diagrams and pictures of piston, turbojet, turboprop, turbofan, and jet engines. Also, a table on chemical propulsion is included. (MDR)

  2. Space nuclear power, propulsion, and related technologies

    SciTech Connect

    Berman, M.; Stikar, J.A.

    1992-01-01

    Sandia National Laboratories is one of the nation's largest research and development (R and D) facilities and is responsible for national security programs in defense and energy with a primary emphasis on nuclear weapon R and D. However, Sandia also supports a wide variety of projects ranging from basic materials research to the design of specialized parachutes. As a multiprogram national laboratory, Sandia has much to offer both industrial and government customers in pursuing space nuclear technologies. A brief summary of Sandia's technical capabilities, test facilities, and example programs that relate to military and civilian objectives in space is presented.

  3. Space nuclear power, propulsion, and related technologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berman, Marshall

    1992-01-01

    Sandia National Laboratories is one of the nation's largest research and development (R&D) facilities and is responsible for national security programs in defense and energy with a primary emphasis on nuclear weapon R&D. However, Sandia also supports a wide variety of projects ranging from basic materials research to the design of specialized parachutes. As a multiprogram national laboratory, Sandia has much to offer both industrial and government customers in pursuing space nuclear technologies. A brief summary of Sandia's technical capabilities, test facilities, and example programs that relate to military and civilian objectives in space is presented.

  4. Airbreathing nuclear propulsion: A new look

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rom, F. E.

    1971-01-01

    Nuclear-powered air-cushion vehicles using lightweight aircraft-type nuclear powerplants show promise of carrying transoceanic cargo at cost-per-metric-ton-kilometer (cost-per-ton-n mi) rates comparable to railroad rates. These rates are independent of the distance traveled. Cargo rates for nonstop distances of 4000 n mi are expected to be less than one-half those for similar fossil-fueled air-cushion vehicles. For 6000-n mi nonstop distances, the rates are expected to be less than one-sixth as much. There are no fundamental technical reasons why subsonic nuclear aircraft cannot be made to fly successfully if the gross weight is over 1 million lb. Public safety of airborne nuclear powerplants is receiving the greatest attention in low-level experimental and analytical investigations. Idealized model containment vessels which have been impacted on reinforced concrete showed no leaks after impact at velocities to 400 mph. The experiments indicate feasibility of impacting at speeds over 600 mph with no leaks.

  5. A low-alpha nuclear electric propulsion system for lunar and Mars missions

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-01-01

    The advantages of using electric propulsion are well-known in the aerospace community. The high specific impulse and, therefore, lower propellant requirements make it a very attractive propulsion option for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). Recent studies have shown that nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) is not only attractive for the transport of cargo but that fast piloted missions to Mars are possible as well, with alphas on the order of 7.5 kg/kW. An advanced NEP system with a specific power (alpha) of 2.5 kg/kW or less would significantly enhance the manned mission option of NEP by reducing the trip time even further. This paper describes an advanced system that combines the PEGASUS Drive with systems of the Rotating Multimegawatt Boiling Liquid Metal (RMBLR) power system that was developed as part of the DOE multimegawatt program and just recently declassified. In its original configuration, the PEGASUS Drive was a 10-MWe propulsion system. The RMBLR was a 20-MW electric system. By combining the two, a second-generation PEGASUS Drive can be developed with an alpha less than 2.5 kg/kW. This paper will address the technology advancements incorporated into the PEGASUS Drive, the analysis of a fast piloted mission and an unmanned cargo transport Mars mission, and the integration of laser power beaming to provide surface power.

  6. A beam-powered electric orbital transfer vehicle: The advantages of nuclear electric propulsion without the concerns of nuclear power

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-06-01

    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 when compared to conventional chemical propulsion systems. But these advantages may not be enough to overcome the disadvantage of the added mass of the nuclear electric power source. In the past, the lack of suitable electric power systems has been a major drawback to electric propulsion. Current programs will have nuclear electric power systems available by the turn of the century. Coupling this with the resurgence of interest in free space electromagnetic transmission of energy (power beaming) and the advances in energy beam technology, a whole new approach to the use of electric propulsion for an orbital transport vehicle (OTV) is possible. Power beaming allows the on-board nuclear electric power source, the most massive component of the OTV, to be removed from the spacecraft and replaced with a lightweight energy receptor. An OTV based on power beaming could have a pay load fraction in excess of 80% and provide delivery times to geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) as low as 120 days and require only 200 kWe. 21 refs., 10 figs., 2 tabs.

  7. 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.

  8. Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage Conceptual Design and Mission Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kos, Larry D.; Russell, Tiffany E.

    2014-01-01

    The Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) is an in-space transportation vehicle, comprised of three main elements, designed to support a long-stay human Mars mission architecture beginning in 2035. The stage conceptual design and the mission analysis discussed here support the current nuclear thermal propulsion going on within partnership activity of NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE). The transportation system consists of three elements: 1) the Core Stage, 2) the In-line Tank, and 3) the Drop Tank. The driving mission case is the piloted flight to Mars in 2037 and will be the main point design shown and discussed. The corresponding Space Launch System (SLS) launch vehicle (LV) is also presented due to it being a very critical aspect of the NCPS Human Mars Mission architecture due to the strong relationship between LV lift capability and LV volume capacity.

  9. Advanced Propulsion and TPS for a Rapidly-Prototyped CEV

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hudson, Gary C.

    2005-02-01

    Transformational Space Corporation (t/Space) is developing for NASA the initial designs for the Crew Exploration Vehicle family, focusing on a Launch CEV for transporting NASA and civilian passengers from Earth to orbit. The t/Space methodology is rapid prototyping of major vehicle systems, and deriving detailed specifications from the resulting hardware, avoiding "written-in-advance" specs that can force the costly invention of new capabilities simply to meet such specs. A key technology shared by the CEV family is Vapor Pressurized propulsion (Vapak) for simplicity and reliability, which provides electrical power, life support gas and a heat sink in addition to propulsion. The CEV family also features active transpiration cooling of re-entry surfaces (for reusability) backed up by passive thermal protection.

  10. Nuclear propulsion control and health monitoring

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walter, P. B.; Edwards, R. M.

    1993-01-01

    An integrated control and health monitoring architecture is being developed for the Pratt & Whitney XNR2000 nuclear rocket. Current work includes further development of the dynamic simulation modeling and the identification and configuration of low level controllers to give desirable performance for the various operating modes and faulted conditions. Artificial intelligence and knowledge processing technologies need to be investigated and applied in the development of an intelligent supervisory controller module for this control architecture.

  11. 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

  12. Nuclear vapor thermal reactor propulsion technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maya, Isaac; Diaz, Nils J.; Dugan, Edward T.; Watanabe, Yoichi; McClanahan, James A.; Wen-Hsiung Tu, Carman, Robert L.

    1993-01-01

    The conceptual design of a nuclear rocket based on the vapor core reactor is presented. The Nuclear Vapor Thermal Rocket (NVTR) offers the potential for a specific impulse of 1000 to 1200 s at thrust-to-weight ratios of 1 to 2. The design is based on NERVA geometry and systems with the solid fuel replaced by uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) vapor. The closed-loop core does not rely on hydrodynamic confinement of the fuel. The hydrogen propellant is separated from the UF4 fuel gas by graphite structure. The hydrogen is maintained at high pressure (˜100 atm), and exits the core at 3,100 K to 3,500 K. Zirconium carbide and hafnium carbide coatings are used to protect the hot graphite from the hydrogen. The core is surrounded by beryllium oxide reflector. The nuclear reactor core has been integrated into a 75 klb engine design using an expander cycle and dual turbopumps. The NVTR offers the potential for an incremental technology development pathway to high performance gas core reactors. Since the fuel is readily available, it also offers advantages in the initial cost of development, as it will not require major expenditures for fuel development.

  13. Effective specific impulse of external nuclear pulse propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reynolds, T. W.

    1972-01-01

    An investigation of a simple self-similar flow model for an external nuclear pulse propulsion system indicates that to achieve the high effective specific impulse of such a system three principal factors are required. The are (1) attaining pulses of optimum energy, (2) attaining good propellant collimation, and (3) using an ablative material for the pusher surface which has high absorptivity for radiant energy at the propellant stagnation temperature.

  14. Journey into tomorrow - Developing nuclear propulsion for the Space Exploration Initiative

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harer, Kathleen F.; Graham, Scott R.; Bennett, Gary L.

    Nuclear propulsion, either nuclear thermal propulsion or nuclear electric propulsion, offers the potential of reduced trip times and/or reduced mass into low earth orbit, compared to chemical propulsion systems. In addition, the greater performance benefits of nuclear propulsion can provide the added margin for greater operational flexibility, including mission abort options and increased launch windows. During the 1950s and 1960s experimental and analytical studies showed the feasibility of nuclear propulsion. NASA, in cooperation with other agencies and organizations, is currently planning a technology development program for nuclear propulsion. The overall objective is to develop at least one NTP concept and one NEP concept for piloted and robotic (e.g., cargo) missions to Mars.

  15. Cycle Trades for Nuclear Thermal Rocket Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, C.; Guidos, M.; Greene, W.

    2003-01-01

    Nuclear fission has been used as a reliable source for utility power in the United States for decades. Even in the 1940's, long before the United States had a viable space program, the theoretical benefits of nuclear power as applied to space travel were being explored. These benefits include long-life operation and high performance, particularly in the form of vehicle power density, enabling longer-lasting space missions. The configurations for nuclear rocket systems and chemical rocket systems are similar except that a nuclear rocket utilizes a fission reactor as its heat source. This thermal energy can be utilized directly to heat propellants that are then accelerated through a nozzle to generate thrust or it can be used as part of an electricity generation system. The former approach is Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and the latter is Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP), which is then used to power thruster technologies such as ion thrusters. This paper will explore a number of indirect-NTP engine cycle configurations using assumed performance constraints and requirements, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each cycle configuration, and present preliminary performance and size results. This paper is intended to lay the groundwork for future efforts in the development of a practical NTP system or a combined NTP/NEP hybrid system.

  16. Physical Limitations of Nuclear Propulsion for Earth to Orbit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blevins, John A.; Patton, Bruce; Rhys, Noah O.; Schafer, Charles F. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    An assessment of current nuclear propulsion technology for application in Earth to Orbit (ETO) missions has been performed. It can be shown that current nuclear thermal rocket motors are not sufficient to provide single stage performance as has been stated by previous studies. Further, when taking a systems level approach, it can be shown that NTRs do not compete well with chemical engines where thrust to weight ratios of greater than I are necessary, except possibly for the hybrid chemical/nuclear LANTR (LOX Augmented Nuclear Thermal Rocket) engine. Also, the ETO mission requires high power reactors and consequently large shielding weights compared to NTR space missions where shadow shielding can be used. In the assessment, a quick look at the conceptual ASPEN vehicle proposed in 1962 in provided. Optimistic NTR designs are considered in the assessment as well as discussion on other conceptual nuclear propulsion systems that have been proposed for ETO. Also, a quick look at the turbulent, convective heat transfer relationships that restrict the exchange of nuclear energy to thermal energy in the working fluid and consequently drive the reactor mass is included.

  17. Reactor design for nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koenig, D. R.; Ranken, W. A.

    1979-01-01

    The paper analyzes the consequences of heat pipe failures, that resulted in modifications to the basic design of a heat-pipe cooled, fast spectrum nuclear reactor and led to consideration of an entirely different core design. The new design features an integral laminated core configuration consisting of alternating layers of UO2 and molybdenum sheets that span the diameter of the core. Design characteristics are presented and compared for two reactors. A conceptual design for a heat exchanger between the core and the thermionic converter assembly is described. This heat exchanger would provide design and fabrication decoupling of these two assemblies.

  18. 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.

  19. Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage Fuel Design and Fabrication

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hickman, Robert; Broadway, Jeramie; Mireles, Omar; Webb, Jon; Qualls, Lou

    2012-01-01

    Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) is a game changing technology for space exploration. Goal of assessing the affordability and viability of an NCPS includes thses overall tasks: (1) Pre-conceptual design of the NCPS and architecture integration (2) NCPS Fuel Design and Testing (3) Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environmental Simulator (NTREES) (4) Affordable NCPS Development and Qualification Strategy (5) Second Generation NCPS Concepts. There is a critical need for fuels development. Fuel task objectives are to demonstrate capabilities and critical technologies using full scale element fabrication and testing.

  20. Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage Fuel Design and Fabrication

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hickman, Robert; Broadway, Jeramie; Mireles, Omar; Webb, Jon; Qualls, Lou

    2012-01-01

    Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) is a game changing technology for space exploration. Goal of assessing the affordability and viability of an NCPS includes these overall tasks: (1) Pre-conceptual design of the NCPS and architecture integration (2) NCPS Fuel Design and Testing (3) Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environmental Simulator (NTREES) (4) Affordable NCPS Development and Qualification Strategy (5) Second Generation NCPS Concepts. There is a critical need for fuels development. Fuel task objectives are to demonstrate capabilities and critical technologies using full scale element fabrication and testing.

  1. 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

  2. Recent Advances in Solar Sail Propulsion at NASA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Young, Roy M.; Montgomery, Edward E., IV

    2006-01-01

    Supporting NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is developing solar sail propulsion for use in robotic science and exploration of the solar system. Solar sail propulsion will provide longer on-station operation, increased scientific payload mass fraction, and access to previously inaccessible orbits for multiple potential science missions. Two different 20-meter solar sail systems were produced and successfully completed functional vacuum testing last year in NASA Glenn's Space Power Facility at Plum Brook Station, Ohio. The sails were designed and developed by ATK Space Systems and L'Garde, respectively. These sail systems consist of a central structure with four deployable booms that support the sails. This sail designs are robust enough for deployments in a one atmosphere, one gravity environment, and are scalable to much larger solar sails-perhaps as much as 150 meters on a side. In addition, computation modeling and analytical simulations have been performed to assess the scalability of the technology to the large sizes (>150 meters) required for first generation solar sails missions. Life and space environmental effects testing of sail and component materials are also nearly complete. This paper will summarize recent technology advancements in solar sails and their successful ambient and vacuum testing.

  3. Recent Advances in Solar Sail Propulsion Systems at NASA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les

    2006-01-01

    Supporting NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program is developing solar sail propulsion for use in robotic science and exploration of the solar system. Solar sail propulsion has the potential to provide longer on-station operation, increased scientific payload mass fraction, and access to previously inaccessible orbits for multiple potential science missions. Two different 20-meter solar sail systems were produced and successfully completed functional vacuum testing last year in NASA Glenn s Space Power Facility at Plum Brook Station Ohio. The sails were designed and developed by ATK Space Systems and L'Garde, respectively. The sail systems consist of a central structure with four deployable booms that support the sails. The sail designs are robust enough for deployments in a one atmosphere, one gravity environment and are scalable to much larger solar sails - perhaps as large as 150 meters on a side. In addition, computational modeling and analytical simulations have been performed to assess the scalability of the technology to the large sizes (150 meters) required to implement the first generation of missions using solar sails. Life and space environmental effects testing of sail and component materials are also nearly complete. This paper will summarize recent technology advancements in solar sails and their successful ambient and vacuum environment testing.

  4. Advanced Propulsion System Studies for General Aviation Aircraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eisenberg, Joseph D. (Technical Monitor); German, Jon

    2003-01-01

    This final report addresses the following topics: Market Impact Analysis (1) assessment of general aviation, including commuter/regional, aircraft market impact due to incorporation of advanced technology propulsion system on acquisition and operating costs, job creation and/or manpower demand, and future fleet size; (2) selecting an aircraft and engine for the study by focusing on the next generation 19-passenger commuter and the Williams International FJ44 turbofan engine growth. Propulsion System Analysis Conducted mission analysis studies and engine cycle analysis to define a new commuter mission and required engine performance, define acquisition and operating costs and, select engine configuration and initiated preliminary design for hardware modifications required. Propulsion System Benefits (1) assessed and defined engine emissions improvements, (2) assessed and defined noise reduction potential and, (3) conducted a cost analysis impact study. Review of Relevant NASA Programs Conducted literature searches using NERAC and NASA RECON services for related technology in the emissions and acoustics area. Preliminary Technology Development Plans Defined plan to incorporate technology improvements for an FJ44-2 growth engine in performance, emissions, and noise suppression.

  5. Nuclear safety policy working group recommendations on nuclear propulsion safety for the space exploration initiative

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marshall, Albert C.; Lee, James H.; Mcculloch, William H.; Sawyer, J. Charles, Jr.; Bari, Robert A.; Cullingford, Hatice S.; Hardy, Alva C.; Niederauer, George F.; Remp, Kerry; Rice, John W.

    1993-01-01

    An interagency Nuclear Safety Working Group (NSPWG) was chartered to recommend nuclear safety policy, requirements, and guidelines for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) nuclear propulsion program. These recommendations, which are contained in this report, should facilitate the implementation of mission planning and conceptual design studies. The NSPWG has recommended a top-level policy to provide the guiding principles for the development and implementation of the SEI nuclear propulsion safety program. In addition, the NSPWG has reviewed safety issues for nuclear propulsion and recommended top-level safety requirements and guidelines to address these issues. These recommendations should be useful for the development of the program's top-level requirements for safety functions (referred to as Safety Functional Requirements). The safety requirements and guidelines address the following topics: reactor start-up, inadvertent criticality, radiological release and exposure, disposal, entry, safeguards, risk/reliability, operational safety, ground testing, and other considerations.

  6. Advanced instrumentation for next-generation aerospace propulsion control systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barkhoudarian, S.; Cross, G. S.; Lorenzo, Carl F.

    1993-01-01

    New control concepts for the next generation of advanced air-breathing and rocket engines and hypersonic combined-cycle propulsion systems are analyzed. The analysis provides a database on the instrumentation technologies for advanced control systems and cross matches the available technologies for each type of engine to the control needs and applications of the other two types of engines. Measurement technologies that are considered to be ready for implementation include optical surface temperature sensors, an isotope wear detector, a brushless torquemeter, a fiberoptic deflectometer, an optical absorption leak detector, the nonintrusive speed sensor, and an ultrasonic triducer. It is concluded that all 30 advanced instrumentation technologies considered can be recommended for further development to meet need of the next generation of jet-, rocket-, and hypersonic-engine control systems.

  7. Advanced instrumentation for next-generation aerospace propulsion control systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barkhoudarian, S.; Cross, G. S.; Lorenzo, Carl F.

    1993-06-01

    New control concepts for the next generation of advanced air-breathing and rocket engines and hypersonic combined-cycle propulsion systems are analyzed. The analysis provides a database on the instrumentation technologies for advanced control systems and cross matches the available technologies for each type of engine to the control needs and applications of the other two types of engines. Measurement technologies that are considered to be ready for implementation include optical surface temperature sensors, an isotope wear detector, a brushless torquemeter, a fiberoptic deflectometer, an optical absorption leak detector, the nonintrusive speed sensor, and an ultrasonic triducer. It is concluded that all 30 advanced instrumentation technologies considered can be recommended for further development to meet need of the next generation of jet-, rocket-, and hypersonic-engine control systems.

  8. Advanced Models for Aeroelastic Analysis of Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keith, Theo G., Jr.; Mahajan, Aparajit

    1996-01-01

    This report describes an integrated, multidisciplinary simulation capability for aeroelastic analysis and optimization of advanced propulsion systems. This research is intended to improve engine development, acquisition, and maintenance costs. One of the proposed simulations is aeroelasticity of blades, cowls, and struts in an ultra-high bypass fan. These ducted fans are expected to have significant performance, fuel, and noise improvements over existing engines. An interface program was written to use modal information from COBSTAN and NASTRAN blade models in aeroelastic analysis with a single rotation ducted fan aerodynamic code.

  9. Lightweight, Efficient Power Converters for Advanced Turboelectric Aircraft Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hennessy, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    NASA is investigating advanced turboelectric aircraft propulsion systems that use superconducting motors to drive multiple distributed turbofans. Conventional electric motors are too large and heavy to be practical for this application; therefore, superconducting motors are required. In order to improve aircraft maneuverability, variable-speed power converters are required to throttle power to the turbofans. The low operating temperature and the need for lightweight components that place a minimum of additional heat load on the refrigeration system open the possibility of incorporating extremely efficient cryogenic power conversion technology. This Phase II project is developing critical components required to meet these goals.

  10. Carbon-carbon turbopump concept for Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Overholt, D.M.

    1993-06-01

    The U.S. Air Force Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program is placing high priority on maximizing specific impulse (ISP) and thrust-to-weight ratio in the development of a practical high-performance nuclear rocket. The turbopump design is driven by these goals. The liquid hydrogen propellant is pressurized and pumped to the reactor inlet by the turbopump assembly (TPA). Rocket propulsion is from rapid heating of the propellant from 180 R to thousands of degrees in the particle bed reactor (PBR). The exhausted propellant is then expanded through a high-temperature nozzle. A high-performance approach is to use an uncooled carbon-carbon nozzle and duct turbine inlet. Carbon-carbon components are used throughout the TPA hot section to obtain the high-temperature capability. Several carbon-carbon components are in development including structural parts, turbine nozzles/stators, and turbine rotors. The technology spinoff is applicable to conventional liquid propulsion engines and many other turbomachinery applications. 3 refs.

  11. High-temperature turbopump assembly for space nuclear thermal propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Overholt, D.M. )

    1993-01-20

    The development of a practical, high-performance nuclear rocket by the U.S. Air Force Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program places high priority on maximizing specific impulse (ISP) and thrust-to-weight ratio. The operating parameters arising from these goals drive the propellant-pump design. The liquid hydrogen propellant is pressurized and pumped to the reactor inlet by the turbopump assembly (TPA). Rocket propulsion is effected by rapid heating of the propellant from 100 K to thousands of degrees in the particle-bed reactor (PBR). The exhausted propellant is then expanded through a high-temperature nozzle. One approach to achieve high performance is to use an uncooled carbon-carbon nozzle and duct turbine inlet. The high-temperature capability is obtained by using carbon-carbon throughout the TPA hot section. Carbon-carbon components in development include structural parts, turbine nozzles/stators, and turbine rotors. The technology spinoff is applicable to conventional liquid propulsion engines plus a wide variety of other turbomachinery applications.

  12. Carbon-carbon turbopump concept for Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Overholt, David M.

    1993-06-01

    The U.S. Air Force Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program is placing high priority on maximizing specific impulse (ISP) and thrust-to-weight ratio in the development of a practical high-performance nuclear rocket. The turbopump design is driven by these goals. The liquid hydrogen propellant is pressurized and pumped to the reactor inlet by the turbopump assembly (TPA). Rocket propulsion is from rapid heating of the propellant from 180 R to thousands of degrees in the particle bed reactor (PBR). The exhausted propellant is then expanded through a high-temperature nozzle. A high-performance approach is to use an uncooled carbon-carbon nozzle and duct turbine inlet. Carbon-carbon components are used throughout the TPA hot section to obtain the high-temperature capability. Several carbon-carbon components are in development including structural parts, turbine nozzles/stators, and turbine rotors. The technology spinoff is applicable to conventional liquid propulsion engines and many other turbomachinery applications.

  13. 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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coomes, Edmund P.; Cuta, Judith M.; Webb, Brent J.; King, David Q.; Patterson, Mike J.; Berkopec, Frank

    1986-01-01

    A propulsion system (PEGASUS) consisting of an electric thruster driven by a multimegawatt nuclear power system is proposed for a manned Mars mission. Magnetoplasmadynamic and mercury-ion thrusters are considered, based on a mission profile containing a 510-day burn time (for a mission time of approximately 1000 days). Both thrusters are capable of meeting the mission parameters. Electric propulsion systems have significant advantages over chemical systems, because of high specific impulse, lower propellant requirements, and lower system mass. The power for the PEGASUS system is supplied by a boiling liquid-metal fast reactor. The power system consists of the reactor, reactor shielding, power conditioning subsystems, and heat rejection 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, leaving 1.5 megawatts available for inflight mission applications.

  15. Review of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Ground Test Options

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coote, David J.; Power, Kevin P.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Doughty, Glen

    2015-01-01

    High efficiency rocket propulsion systems are essential for humanity to venture beyond the moon. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is a promising alternative to conventional chemical rockets with relatively high thrust and twice the efficiency of highest performing chemical propellant engines. NTP utilizes the coolant of a nuclear reactor to produce propulsive thrust. An NTP engine produces thrust by flowing hydrogen through a nuclear reactor to cool the reactor, heating the hydrogen and expelling it through a rocket nozzle. The hot gaseous hydrogen is nominally expected to be free of radioactive byproducts from the nuclear reactor; however, it has the potential to be contaminated due to off-nominal engine reactor performance. NTP ground testing is more difficult than chemical engine testing since current environmental regulations do not allow/permit open air testing of NTP as was done in the 1960's and 1970's for the Rover/NERVA program. A new and innovative approach to rocket engine ground test is required to mitigate the unique health and safety risks associated with the potential entrainment of radioactive waste from the NTP engine reactor core into the engine exhaust. Several studies have been conducted since the ROVER/NERVA program in the 1970's investigating NTP engine ground test options to understand the technical feasibility, identify technical challenges and associated risks and provide rough order of magnitude cost estimates for facility development and test operations. The options can be divided into two distinct schemes; (1) real-time filtering of the engine exhaust and its release to the environment or (2) capture and storage of engine exhaust for subsequent processing.

  16. Nuclear propulsion technology development - A joint NASA/Department of Energy project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.

    1992-01-01

    NASA-Lewis has undertaken the conceptual development of spacecraft nuclear propulsion systems with DOE support, in order to establish the bases for Space Exploration Initiative lunar and Mars missions. This conceptual evolution project encompasses nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems. A technology base exists for NTP in the NERVA program files; more fundamental development efforts are entailed in the case of NEP, but this option is noted to offer greater advantages in the long term.

  17. Nuclear thermal propulsion transportation systems for lunar/Mars exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.; Borowski, Stanley K.; Mcilwain, Melvin C.; Pellaccio, Dennis G.

    1992-01-01

    Nuclear thermal propulsion technology development is underway at NASA and DoE for Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) missions to Mars, with initial near-earth flights to validate flight readiness. Several reactor concepts are being considered for these missions, and important selection criteria will be evaluated before final selection of a system. These criteria include: safety and reliability, technical risk, cost, and performance, in that order. Of the concepts evaluated to date, the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications (NERVA) derivative (NDR) is the only concept that has demonstrated full power, life, and performance in actual reactor tests. Other concepts will require significant design work and must demonstrate proof-of-concept. Technical risk, and hence, development cost should therefore be lowest for the concept, and the NDR concept is currently being considered for the initial SEI missions. As lighter weight, higher performance systems are developed and validated, including appropriate safety and astronaut-rating requirements, they will be considered to support future SEI application. A space transportation system using a modular nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) system for lunar and Mars missions is expected to result in significant life cycle cost savings. Finally, several key issues remain for NTR's, including public acceptance and operational issues. Nonetheless, NTR's are believed to be the 'next generation' of space propulsion systems - the key to space exploration.

  18. Probabilistic assessment of space nuclear propulsion system nozzle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shah, Ashwin R.; Ball, Richard D.; Chamis, Christos C.

    1994-01-01

    In assessing the reliability of a space nuclear propulsion system (SNPS) nozzle, uncertainties associated with the following design parameters were considered: geometry, boundary conditions, material behavior, and thermal and pressure loads. A preliminary assessment of the reliability was performed using NESSUS (Numerical Evaluation of Stochastic Structures Under Stress), a finite-element computer code developed at the NASA Lewis Research Center. The sensitivity of the nozzle reliability to the uncertainties in the random variables was quantified. With respect to the effective stress, preliminary results showed that the nozzle spatial geometry uncertainties have the most significant effect at low probabilities whereas the inner wall temperature has the most significant effect at higher probabilities.

  19. Nuclear electric propulsion options for piloted Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    George, Jeffrey A.

    1993-01-01

    Three nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems are discussed. The three systems are as follows: a system based on current SP-100 technology; a potassium Rankine-cycle based power conversion system, and an argon ion thruster system. The system will be researched for implementation in several possible vehicle configurations. The following are among the possible Mars vehicle configurations: a piloted 15 MWe multi-reactor vehicle; a piloted 10 MWe vehicle with ECCV; a piloted 10 MWe modular vehicle; piloted 10 and 15 MWe vehicles with ECCV and MEV; a piloted 5 MWe vehicle with ECCV; a 5 MWe cargo vehicle with 2 MEV's; and a 2.5 MWe vehicle with MEV.

  20. Advanced supersonic propulsion study, phase 2. [propulsion system performance, design analysis and technology assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howlett, R. A.

    1975-01-01

    A continuation of the NASA/P and WA study to evaluate various types of propulsion systems for advanced commercial supersonic transports has resulted in the identification of two very promising engine concepts. They are the Variable Stream Control Engine which provides independent temperature and velocity control for two coannular exhaust streams, and a derivative of this engine, a Variable Cycle Engine that employs a rear flow-inverter valve to vary the bypass ratio of the cycle. Both concepts are based on advanced engine technology and have the potential for significant improvements in jet noise, exhaust emissions and economic characteristics relative to current technology supersonic engines. Extensive research and technology programs are required in several critical areas that are unique to these supersonic Variable Cycle Engines to realize these potential improvements. Parametric cycle and integration studies of conventional and Variable Cycle Engines are reviewed, features of the two most promising engine concepts are described, and critical technology requirements and required programs are summarized.

  1. Cryogenic Fluid Management Technology Development for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, Brian; Caffrey, Jarvis; Hedayat, Ali; Stephens, Jonathan; Polsgrove, Robert

    2015-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to investigate, facilitate a discussion and determine a path forward for technology development of cryogenic fluid management technology that is necessary for long duration deep space missions utilizing nuclear thermal propulsion systems. There are a number of challenges in managing cryogenic liquids that must be addressed before long durations missions into deep space, such as a trip to Mars can be successful. The leakage rate of hydrogen from pressure vessels, seals, lines and valves is a critical factor that must be controlled and minimized. For long duration missions, hydrogen leakage amounts to large increases in hydrogen and therefore vehicle mass. The size of a deep space vehicle, such as a mars transfer vehicle, must be kept small to control cost and the logistics of a multi launch, assembled in orbit vehicle. The boil off control of the cryogenic fluid is an additional obstacle to long duration missions. The boil off caused by heat absorption results in the growth of the propellant needs of the vehicle and therefore vehicle mass. This is a significant problem for a vehicle using nuclear (fission) propulsion systems. Radiation from the engines deposits large quantities of heat into the cryogenic fluid, greatly increasing boil off beyond that caused by environmental heat leakage. Addressing and resolving these challenges is critical to successful long duration space exploration. This paper discusses the state of the technology needed to address these challenges and discuss the path forward needed in technology development.

  2. Development of Modeling Approaches for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Test Facilities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, Daniel R.; Allgood, Daniel C.; Nguyen, Ke

    2014-01-01

    High efficiency of rocket propul-sion systems is essential for humanity to venture be-yond the moon. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is a promising alternative to conventional chemical rock-ets with relatively high thrust and twice the efficiency of the Space Shuttle Main Engine. NASA is in the pro-cess of developing a new NTP engine, and is evaluat-ing ground test facility concepts that allow for the thor-ough testing of NTP devices. NTP engine exhaust, hot gaseous hydrogen, is nominally expected to be free of radioactive byproducts from the nuclear reactor; how-ever, it has the potential to be contaminated due to off-nominal engine reactor performance. Several options are being investigated to mitigate this hazard potential with one option in particular that completely contains the engine exhaust during engine test operations. The exhaust products are subsequently disposed of between engine tests. For this concept (see Figure 1), oxygen is injected into the high-temperature hydrogen exhaust that reacts to produce steam, excess oxygen and any trace amounts of radioactive noble gases released by off-nominal NTP engine reactor performance. Water is injected to condense the potentially contaminated steam into water. This water and the gaseous oxygen (GO2) are subsequently passed to a containment area where the water and GO2 are separated into separate containment tanks.

  3. Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies for Advanced Green Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Motil, Susan M.; Meyer, Michael L.; Tucker, Stephen P.

    2007-01-01

    In support of the Exploration Vision for returning to the Moon and beyond, NASA and its partners are developing and testing critical cryogenic fluid propellant technologies that will meet the need for high performance propellants on long-term missions. Reliable knowledge of low-gravity cryogenic fluid management behavior is lacking and yet is critical in the areas of tank thermal and pressure control, fluid acquisition, mass gauging, and fluid transfer. Such knowledge can significantly reduce or even eliminate tank fluid boil-off losses for long term missions, reduce propellant launch mass and required on-orbit margins, and simplify vehicle operations. The Propulsion and Cryogenic Advanced Development (PCAD) Project is performing experimental and analytical evaluation of several areas within Cryogenic Fluid Management (CFM) to enable NASA's Exploration Vision. This paper discusses the status of the PCAD CFM technology focus areas relative to the anticipated CFM requirements to enable execution of the Vision for Space Exploration.

  4. Advanced Plasma Propulsion for Human Missions to Jupiter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donahue, Benjamin B.; Pearson, J. Boise

    1999-01-01

    This paper will briefly identify a promising fusion plasma power source, which when coupled with a promising electric thruster technology would provide for an efficient interplanetary transfer craft suitable to a 4 year round trip mission to the Jovian system. An advanced, nearly radiation free Inertial Electrostatic Confinement scheme for containing fusion plasma was judged as offering potential for delivering the performance and operational benefits needed for such high energy human expedition missions, without requiring heavy superconducting magnets for containment of the fusion plasma. Once the Jovian transfer stage has matched the heliocentric velocity of Jupiter, the energy requirements for excursions to its outer satellites (Callisto, Ganymede and Europa) by smaller excursion craft are not prohibitive. The overall propulsion, power and thruster system is briefly described and a preliminary vehicle mass statement is presented.

  5. Cryogenic Fluid Management Technology and Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, Brian D.; Caffrey, Jarvis; Hedayat, Ali; Stephens, Jonathan; Polsgrove, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Cryogenic fluid management (CFM) is critical to the success of future nuclear thermal propulsion powered vehicles. While this is an issue for any propulsion system utilizing cryogenic propellants, this is made more challenging by the radiation flux produced by the reactor in a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR). Managing the cryogenic fuel to prevent propellant loss to boil off and leakage is needed to limit the required quantity of propellant to a reasonable level. Analysis shows deposition of energy into liquid hydrogen fuel tanks in the vicinity of the nuclear thermal engine. This is on top of ambient environment sources of heat. Investments in cryogenic/thermal management systems (some of which are ongoing at various organizations) are needed in parallel to nuclear thermal engine development in order to one day see the successful operation of an entire stage. High durability, low thermal conductivity insulation is one developmental need. Light weight cryocoolers capable of removing heat from large fluid volumes at temperatures as low as approx. 20 K are needed to remove heat leak from the propellant of an NTR. Valve leakage is an additional CFM issue of great importance. Leakage rates of state of the art, launch vehicle size valves (which is approximately the size valves needed for a Mars transfer vehicle) are quite high and would result in large quantities of lost propellant over a long duration mission. Additionally, the liquid acquisition system inside the propellant tank must deliver properly conditioned propellant to the feed line for successful engine operation and avoid intake of warm or gaseous propellant. Analysis of the thermal environment and the CFM technology development are discussed in the accompanying presentation.

  6. High Power MPD Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) for Artificial Gravity HOPE Missions to Callisto

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McGuire, Melissa L.; Borowski, Stanley K.; Mason, Lee M.; Gilland, James

    2003-01-01

    This documents the results of a one-year multi-center NASA study on the prospect of sending humans to Jupiter's moon, Callisto, using an all Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) space transportation system architecture with magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters. The fission reactor system utilizes high temperature uranium dioxide (UO2) in tungsten (W) metal matrix cermet fuel and electricity is generated using advanced dynamic Brayton power conversion technology. The mission timeframe assumes on-going human Moon and Mars missions and existing space infrastructure to support launch of cargo and crewed spacecraft to Jupiter in 2041 and 2045, respectively.

  7. Fabrication and Testing of CERMET Fuel Materials for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hickman, Robert; Broadway, Jeramie; Mireles, Omar

    2012-01-01

    A first generation Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) based on Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is currently being developed for Advanced Space Exploration Systems. The overall goal of the project is to address critical NTP technology challenges and programmatic issues to establish confidence in the affordability and viability of NTP systems. The current technology roadmap for NTP identifies the development of a robust fuel form as a critical near term need. The lack of a qualified nuclear fuel is a significant technical risk that will require a considerable fraction of program resources to mitigate. Due to these risks and the cost for qualification, the development and selection of a primary fuel must begin prior to Authority to Proceed (ATP) for a specific mission. The fuel development is a progressive approach to incrementally reduce risk, converge the fuel materials, and mature the design and fabrication process of the fuel element. A key objective of the current project is to advance the maturity of CERMET fuels. The work includes fuel processing development and characterization, fuel specimen hot hydrogen screening, and prototypic fuel element testing. Early fuel materials development is critical to help validate requirements and fuel performance. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and status of the work at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

  8. Advanced core technology: Key to subsonic propulsion benefits

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glassman, Arthur J.; Snyder, Christopher A.; Knip, Gerald, Jr.

    1989-01-01

    A study was conducted to identify the potential performance benefits and key technology drivers associated with advanced cores for subsonic high bypass turbofan engines. Investigated first were the individual sensitivities of varying compressor efficiency, pressure ratio and bleed (turbine cooling); combustor pressure recovery; and turbine efficiency and inlet temperature on thermal efficiency and core specific power output. Then, engine cycle and mission performance benefits were determined for systems incorporating all potentially achievable technology advancements. The individual thermodynamic sensitivities are shown over a range of turbine temperatures (at cruise) from 2900 to 3500 R and for both constant (current technology) and optimum (maximum thermal efficiency) overall pressure ratios. It is seen that no single parameter alone will provide a large increase in core thermal efficiency, which is the thermodynamic parameter of most concern for transport propulsion. However, when all potentially achievable advancements are considered, there occurs a synergism that produces significant cycle and mission performance benefits. The nature of these benefits are presented along with the technology challenges.

  9. Advanced core technology - Key to subsonic propulsion benefits

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glassman, Arthur J.; Snyder, Christopher A.; Knip, Gerald, Jr.

    1989-01-01

    A study was conducted to identify the potential performance benefits and key technology drivers associated with advanced cores for subsonic high bypass turbofan engines. Investigated first were the individual sensitivities of varying compressor efficiency, pressure ratio and bleed (turbine cooling); combustor pressure recovery; and turbine efficiency and inlet temperature on thermal efficiency and core specific power output. Then, engine cycle and mission performance benefits were determined for systems incorporating all potentially achievable technology advancements. The individual thermodynamic sensitivities are shown over a range of turbine temperatures (at cruise) from 2900 to 3500 R and for both constant (current technology) and optimum (maximum thermal efficiency) overall pressure ratios. It is seen that no single parameter alone will provide a large increase in core thermal efficiency, which is the thermodynamic parameter of most concern for transport propulsion. However, when all potentially achievable advancements are considered, there occurs a synergism that produces significant cycle and mission performance benefits. The nature of these benefits are presented along with the technology challenges.

  10. NASA/MSFC Interest in Advanced Propulsion and Power Technologies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cole, John W.

    2003-01-01

    This viewgraph representation provides an overview of research being conducted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Conventional propulsion systems are at near peak performance levels but will not enable the science and exploration deep space missions NASA envisions. Energetic propulsion technologies can make these missions possible but only if the fundamental problems of energy storage density and energy to energy thrust conversion efficiency are solved. Topics covered include: research rationale, limits of thermal propulsion systems, need for propulsion energetics research, emerging energetic propulsion technologies, and potential research opportunities.

  11. J. Preston Layton 1919-1992: A guiding light in nuclear space power and propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brill, Yvonne C.

    An eventful, highly productive career ended with the death of James Preston ("Pres") Layton in December 1992. His career in rockets, which spanned 50 years, is a chronology of developments in the U.S. space program. Layton was instrumental in the development of rocket technologies ranging from the first jet-assisted take off (JATO) boosters used on aircraft to space nuclear power and propulsion. His work on JATOs, during World War II, involved both testing of solid-fueled units on naval aircraft in the Pacific and developing advanced liquid-fueled systems at the U.S. Naval Academy's laboratory under the direction of Robert H. Goddard, the father of American rocketry. It was Goddard who inspired Layton to devote his life to rocketry. In 1948, as chief of propulsion for the Glenn L. Martin company, he became crew chief in charge of testing the first big U.S. rocket, the Viking series. Layton subsequently joined the research faculty at Princeton University where he served from 1951 to 1976, taking a brief leave in 1955 to earn a Masters Degree at Purdue University under the direction of Maurice Zucrow, another American rocket pioneer. As Chief Engineer of Princeton's Guggenheim Jet Propulsion Center, he created the nation's foremost university rocket research facilities, where he conducted the first experimental evaluation of liquid ozone as a rocket propellant. Later Layton led Princeton's Advanced Systems and Mission Analysis Laboratory, which conducted pioneering studies of space nuclear power and propulsion systems. During this period, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (on leave from Princeton), Layton helped develop and test the world's first and only nuclear ram-rocket. During his career, Layton performed many responsible consulting tasks for industry and government in the U.S.A. and abroad. He was chief technical consultant to Mathematica, Inc., whose analyses formed the basis for the current Space Shuttle design. He conducted an AIAA assessment of

  12. Direct Energy Conversion for Nuclear Propulsion at Low Specific Mass

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scott, John H.

    2014-01-01

    The project will continue the FY13 JSC IR&D (October-2012 to September-2013) effort in Travelling Wave Direct Energy Conversion (TWDEC) in order to demonstrate its potential as the core of a high potential, game-changing, in-space propulsion technology. The TWDEC concept converts particle beam energy into radio frequency (RF) alternating current electrical power, such as can be used to heat the propellant in a plasma thruster. In a more advanced concept (explored in the Phase 1 NIAC project), the TWDEC could also be utilized to condition the particle beam such that it may transfer directed kinetic energy to a target propellant plasma for the purpose of increasing thrust and optimizing the specific impulse. The overall scope of the FY13 first-year effort was to build on both the 2012 Phase 1 NIAC research and the analysis and test results produced by Japanese researchers over the past twenty years to assess the potential for spacecraft propulsion applications. The primary objective of the FY13 effort was to create particle-in-cell computer simulations of a TWDEC. Other objectives included construction of a breadboard TWDEC test article, preliminary test calibration of the simulations, and construction of first order power system models to feed into mission architecture analyses with COPERNICUS tools. Due to funding cuts resulting from the FY13 sequestration, only the computer simulations and assembly of the breadboard test article were completed. The simulations, however, are of unprecedented flexibility and precision and were presented at the 2013 AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference. Also, the assembled test article will provide an ion current density two orders of magnitude above that available in previous Japanese experiments, thus enabling the first direct measurements of power generation from a TWDEC for FY14. The proposed FY14 effort will use the test article for experimental validation of the computer simulations and thus complete to a greater fidelity the

  13. Near-Earth Object Interception Using Nuclear Thermal Rock Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    X-L. Zhang; E. Ball; L. Kochmanski; S. D. Howe

    2011-02-01

    Planetary defense has drawn wide study: despite the low probability of a large-scale impact, its consequences would be disastrous. The study presented here evaluates available protection strategies to identify bottlenecks limiting the scale of near-Earth object that could be deflected, using cutting-edge and near-future technologies. It discusses the use of a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) as a propulsion device for delivery of thermonuclear payloads to deflect or destroy a long-period comet on a collision course with Earth. A ‘worst plausible scenario’ for the available warning time (10 months) and comet approach trajectory are determined, and empirical data are used to make an estimate of the payload necessary to deflect such a comet. Optimizing the tradeoff between early interception and large deflection payload establishes the ideal trajectory for an interception mission to follow. The study also examines the potential for multiple rocket launch dates. Comparison of propulsion technologies for this mission shows that NTR outperforms other options substantially. The discussion concludes with an estimate of the comet size (5 km) that could be deflected usingNTRpropulsion, given current launch capabilities.

  14. Advanced Single-Aisle Transport Propulsion Design Options Revisited

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Guynn, Mark D.; Berton, Jeffrey J.; Tong, Michael T.; Haller, William J.

    2013-01-01

    Future propulsion options for advanced single-aisle transports have been investigated in a number of previous studies by the authors. These studies have examined the system level characteristics of aircraft incorporating ultra-high bypass ratio (UHB) turbofans (direct drive and geared) and open rotor engines. During the course of these prior studies, a number of potential refinements and enhancements to the analysis methodology and assumptions were identified. This paper revisits a previously conducted UHB turbofan fan pressure ratio trade study using updated analysis methodology and assumptions. The changes incorporated have decreased the optimum fan pressure ratio for minimum fuel consumption and reduced the engine design trade-offs between minimizing noise and minimizing fuel consumption. Nacelle drag and engine weight are found to be key drivers in determining the optimum fan pressure ratio from a fuel efficiency perspective. The revised noise analysis results in the study aircraft being 2 to 4 EPNdB (cumulative) quieter due to a variety of reasons explained in the paper. With equal core technology assumed, the geared engine architecture is found to be as good as or better than the direct drive architecture for most parameters investigated. However, the engine ultimately selected for a future advanced single-aisle aircraft will depend on factors beyond those considered here.

  15. Nuclear thermal propulsion technology: Results of an interagency panel in FY 1991

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.; Mcdaniel, Patrick; Howe, Steven; Helms, Ira; Stanley, Marland

    1993-01-01

    NASA LeRC was selected to lead nuclear propulsion technology development for NASA. Also participating in the project are NASA MSFC and JPL. The U.S. Department of Energy will develop nuclear technology and will conduct nuclear component, subsystem, and system testing at appropriate DOE test facilities. NASA program management is the responsibility of NASA/RP. The project includes both nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) and nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) technology development. This report summarizes the efforts of an interagency panel that evaluated NTP technology in 1991. Other panels were also at work in 1991 on other aspects of nuclear propulsion, and the six panels worked closely together. The charters for the other panels and some of their results are also discussed. Important collaborative efforts with other panels are highlighted. The interagency (NASA/DOE/DOD) NTP Technology Panel worked in 1991 to evaluate nuclear thermal propulsion concepts on a consistent basis. Additionally, the panel worked to continue technology development project planning for a joint project in nuclear propulsion for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). Five meetings of the panel were held in 1991 to continue the planning for technology development of nuclear thermal propulsion systems. The state-of-the-art of the NTP technologies was reviewed in some detail. The major technologies identified were as follows: fuels, coatings, and other reactor technologies; materials; instrumentation, controls, health monitoring and management, and associated technologies; nozzles; and feed system technology, including turbopump assemblies.

  16. Applications of nuclear reactor power systems to electric propulsion missions.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schaupp, R. W.; Sawyer, C. D.

    1971-01-01

    The performance of nuclear electric propulsion systems (NEP) has been evaluated for a wide variety of missions in an attempt to establish the commonality of NEP system requirements. Emphasis was given to those requirements and system characteristics that serve as guidelines for current technology development programs. Various interactions and tradeoffs between NEP system and mission parameters are described. The results show that the most significant factors in selecting NEP system size are launch mode (direct or spiral escape) and, to a weaker extent, launch vehicle capability. Other factors such as mission, payload, and thrust time constraints, have little influence, thus allowing one NEP system to be used for many missions. The results indicated that a 100 kWe NEP would be suitable for most direct escape missions and a 250 kWe NEP system would be suitable for more demanding missions that use the spiral escape mode.

  17. 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.

  18. Integrated System Modeling for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ryan, Stephen W.; Borowski, Stanley K.

    2014-01-01

    Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) has long been identified as a key enabling technology for space exploration beyond LEO. From Wernher Von Braun's early concepts for crewed missions to the Moon and Mars to the current Mars Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 and recent lunar and asteroid mission studies, the high thrust and specific impulse of NTP opens up possibilities such as reusability that are just not feasible with competing approaches. Although NTP technology was proven in the Rover / NERVA projects in the early days of the space program, an integrated spacecraft using NTP has never been developed. Such a spacecraft presents a challenging multidisciplinary systems integration problem. The disciplines that must come together include not only nuclear propulsion and power, but also thermal management, power, structures, orbital dynamics, etc. Some of this integration logic was incorporated into a vehicle sizing code developed at NASA's Glenn Research Center (GRC) in the early 1990s called MOMMA, and later into an Excel-based tool called SIZER. Recently, a team at GRC has developed an open source framework for solving Multidisciplinary Design, Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) problems called OpenMDAO. A modeling approach is presented that builds on previous work in NTP vehicle sizing and mission analysis by making use of the OpenMDAO framework to enable modular and reconfigurable representations of various NTP vehicle configurations and mission scenarios. This approach is currently applied to vehicle sizing, but is extensible to optimization of vehicle and mission designs. The key features of the code will be discussed and examples of NTP transfer vehicles and candidate missions will be presented.

  19. Integrated propulsion and power modeling for bimodal nuclear thermal rockets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clough, Joshua

    Bimodal nuclear thermal rocket (BNTR) engines have been shown to reduce the weight of space vehicles to the Moon, Mars, and beyond by utilizing a common reactor for propulsion and power generation. These savings lead to reduced launch vehicle costs and/or increased mission safety and capability. Experimental work of the Rover/NERVA program demonstrated the feasibility of NTR systems for trajectories to Mars. Numerous recent studies have demonstrated the economic and performance benefits of BNTR operation. Relatively little, however, is known about the reactor-level operation of a BNTR engine. The objective of this dissertation is to develop a numerical BNTR engine model in order to study the feasibility and component-level impact of utilizing a NERVA-derived reactor as a heat source for both propulsion and power. The primary contribution is to provide the first-of-its-kind model and analysis of a NERVA-derived BNTR engine. Numerical component models have been modified and created for the NERVA reactor fuel elements and tie tubes, including 1-D coolant thermodynamics and radial thermal conduction with heat generation. A BNTR engine system model has been created in order to design and analyze an engine employing an expander-cycle nuclear rocket and Brayton cycle power generator using the same reactor. Design point results show that a 316 MWt reactor produces a thrust and specific impulse of 66.6 kN and 917 s, respectively. The same reactor can be run at 73.8 kWt to produce the necessary 16.7 kW electric power with a Brayton cycle generator. This demonstrates the feasibility of BNTR operation with a NERVA-derived reactor but also indicates that the reactor control system must be able to operate with precision across a wide power range, and that the transient analysis of reactor decay heat merits future investigation. Results also identify a significant reactor pressure-drop limitation during propulsion and power-generation operation that is caused by poor tie tube

  20. Performance assessment of low pressure nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harrold P., Jr.; Doughty, Glen E.

    1993-01-01

    An increase in Isp for nuclear thermal propulsion systems is desirable for reducing the propellant requirements and cost of future applications, such as the Mars Transfer Vehicle. Several previous design studies have suggested that the Isp could be increased substantially with hydrogen dissociation/recombination. Hydrogen molecules (H2), at high temperatures and low pressures, will dissociate to monatomic hydrogen (H). The reverse process (i.e., formation of H2 from H) is exothermic. The exothermic energy in a nozzle increases the kinetic energy and therefore, increases the Isp. The low pressure nuclear thermal propulsion system (LPNTP) system is expected to maximize the hydrogen dissociation/recombination and Isp by operating at high chamber temperatures and low chamber pressures. The process involves hydrogen flow through a high temperature, low pressure fission reactor, and out a nozzle. The high temperature (approximately 3000 K) of the hydrogen in the reactor is limited by the temperature limits of the reactor material. The minimum chamber pressure is about 1 atm because lower pressures decrease the engines thrust to weight ratio below acceptable limits. This study assumes that hydrogen leaves the reactor and enters the nozzle at the 3000 K equilibrium dissociation level. Hydrogen dissociation in the reactor does not affect LPNTP performance like dissociation in traditional chemical propulsion systems, because energy from the reactor resupplies energy lost due to hydrogen dissociation. Recombination takes place in the nozzle due primarily to a drop in temperature as the Mach number increases. However, as the Mach number increases beyond the nozzle throat, the static pressure and density of the flow decreases and minimizes the recombination. The ideal LPNTP Isp at 3000 K and 10 psia is 1160 seconds due to the added energy from fast recombination rates. The actual Isp depends on the finite kinetic reaction rates which affect the amount of monatomic hydrogen

  1. Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options

    SciTech Connect

    Roald Wigeland; Temitope Taiwo; Michael Todosow; William Halsey; Jess Gehin

    2010-06-01

    A systematic evaluation has been conducted of the potential for advanced nuclear fuel cycle strategies and options to address the issues ascribed to the use of nuclear power. Issues included nuclear waste management, proliferation risk, safety, security, economics and affordability, and sustainability. The two basic strategies, once-through and recycle, and the range of possibilities within each strategy, are considered for all aspects of the fuel cycle including options for nuclear material irradiation, separations if needed, and disposal. Options range from incremental changes to today’s implementation to revolutionary concepts that would require the development of advanced nuclear technologies.

  2. 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.

  3. Applications of advanced upper surface blowing propulsive-lift technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cochrane, J. A.; Riddle, D. W.; Youth, S.

    1982-01-01

    The success of the Quiet Short-Haul Research Aircraft led to studies of this technology for a business jet and a Short-Haul Transport. The studies showed that the Short-Haul Transport could operate from a 762.0-m runway with 95 passengers at low noise levels. Design range was 500 n. mi. but with maximum fuel load the runway length is only increased to 883.9 m while the range is increased to more than 1000 n. mi. Two business jet designs were studied; one design was based on a 457.2-m field length and the other was designed for a 760.0-m field length. The business jet designed for a 457.2-m field length can also be loaded to maximum fuel capacity. In this case the range increases from 500 n. mi. to 1400 n. mi. while the runway length increases from 457.2 m to 632.5 m. The business jet studies showed that the application of advanced propulsive-lift technology to this class aircraft can result in payload-range-speed performance comparable to current aircraft with about one-half the runway length requirement.

  4. Comments on dual-mode nuclear space power and propulsion system concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Layton, J. Preston; Grey, Jerry

    1991-01-01

    Some form of Dual-Mode Nuclear Space Power & Propulsion System (D-MNSP&PS) will be essential to spacefaring throughout teh solar system and that such systems must evolve as mankind moves into outer space. The initial D-MNPSP&PS Reference System should be based on (1) present (1990), and (2) advanced (1995) technology for use on comparable mission in the 2000 and 2005 time period respectively. D-MNSP&PS can be broken down into a number of subsystems: Nuclear subsystems including the energy source and controls for the release of thermal power at elevated temperatures; power conversion subsystems; waste heat rejection subsystems; and control and safety subsystems. These systems are briefly detailed.

  5. Advanced Propulsion for Geostationary Orbit Insertion and North-South Station Keeping

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; Myers, Roger M.; Kluever, Craig A.; Riehl, John P.; Curran, Francis M.

    1995-01-01

    Solar electric propulsion (SEP) technology is currently being used for geostationary satellite station keeping to increase payload mass. Analyses show that advanced electric propulsion technologies can be used to obtain additional increases in payload mass by using these same technologies to perform part of the orbit transfer. In this work three electric propulsion technologies are examined at two power levels for an Atlas 2AS class spacecraft. The on-board chemical propulsion apogee engine fuel is reduced to allow the use of electric propulsion. A numerical optimizer is used to determine the chemical burns which will minimize the electric propulsion transfer time. Results show that for a 1550 kg Atlas 2AS class payload, increases in net mass (geostationary satellite mass less wet propulsion system mass) of 150 to 800 kg are possible using electric propulsion for station keeping, advanced chemical engines for part of the transfer, and electric propulsion for the remainder of the transfer. Trip times are between one and four months.

  6. Small Fast Spectrum Reactor Designs Suitable for Direct Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Bruce G. Schnitzler; Stanley K. Borowski

    2012-07-01

    Advancement of U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program requires high performance propulsion systems to support a variety of robotic and crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit. Past studies, in particular those in support of both the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), have shown nuclear thermal propulsion systems provide superior performance for high mass high propulsive delta-V missions. The recent NASA Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 Study re-examined mission, payload, and transportation system requirements for a human Mars landing mission in the post-2030 timeframe. Nuclear thermal propulsion was again identified as the preferred in-space transportation system. A common nuclear thermal propulsion stage with three 25,000-lbf thrust engines was used for all primary mission maneuvers. Moderately lower thrust engines may also have important roles. In particular, lower thrust engine designs demonstrating the critical technologies that are directly extensible to other thrust levels are attractive from a ground testing perspective. An extensive nuclear thermal rocket technology development effort was conducted from 1955-1973 under the Rover/NERVA Program. Both graphite and refractory metal alloy fuel types were pursued. Reactors and engines employing graphite based fuels were designed, built and ground tested. A number of fast spectrum reactor and engine designs employing refractory metal alloy fuel types were proposed and designed, but none were built. The Small Nuclear Rocket Engine (SNRE) was the last engine design studied by the Los Alamos National Laboratory during the program. At the time, this engine was a state-of-the-art graphite based fuel design incorporating lessons learned from the very successful technology development program. The SNRE was a nominal 16,000-lbf thrust engine originally intended for unmanned applications with relatively short engine

  7. Small Fast Spectrum Reactor Designs Suitable for Direct Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schnitzler, Bruce G.; Borowski, Stanley K.

    2012-01-01

    Advancement of U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program requires high performance propulsion systems to support a variety of robotic and crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit. Past studies, in particular those in support of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), have shown nuclear thermal propulsion systems provide superior performance for high mass high propulsive delta-V missions. The recent NASA Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 Study re-examined mission, payload, and transportation system requirements for a human Mars landing mission in the post-2030 timeframe. Nuclear thermal propulsion was again identified as the preferred in-space transportation system. A common nuclear thermal propulsion stage with three 25,000-lbf thrust engines was used for all primary mission maneuvers. Moderately lower thrust engines may also have important roles. In particular, lower thrust engine designs demonstrating the critical technologies that are directly extensible to other thrust levels are attractive from a ground testing perspective. An extensive nuclear thermal rocket technology development effort was conducted from 1955-1973 under the Rover/NERVA Program. Both graphite and refractory metal alloy fuel types were pursued. Reactors and engines employing graphite based fuels were designed, built and ground tested. A number of fast spectrum reactor and engine designs employing refractory metal alloy fuel types were proposed and designed, but none were built. The Small Nuclear Rocket Engine (SNRE) was the last engine design studied by the Los Alamos National Laboratory during the program. At the time, this engine was a state-of-the-art graphite based fuel design incorporating lessons learned from the very successful technology development program. The SNRE was a nominal 16,000-lbf thrust engine originally intended for unmanned applications with relatively short engine operations and the engine and stage design were

  8. A NEPtune/Triton Vision Mission Using Nuclear Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bienstock, B.; Atkinson, D. H.; Baines, K.; Mahaffy, P.; Atreya, S.; Stern, A.; Steffes, P.; Wright, M.; Ball Collaboration; Boeing Collaboration

    2005-08-01

    The giant planets of the outer solar system divide into two distinct classes: the ``Gas Giants" Jupiter and Saturn, and the ``Ice Giants" Uranus and Neptune. While the Gas Giants primarily comprise hydrogen and helium, the Ice Giants appear fundamentally different, containing significant amounts of the heavier elements including oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur. Comparisons of the internal structure and overall composition of the Gas and Ice Giants will yield valuable insights into the processes that formed our solar system and possibly extrasolar systems. By 2012 detailed studies of the chemical and physical properties of Jupiter and Saturn will have been completed by the Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, and Juno missions. A Neptune Orbiter with Probes mission would deliver the corresponding key data for an Ice Giant. Such a mission to study Triton, Nereid, the other icy satellites of Neptune, Neptune's system of rings, and the deep Neptune atmosphere to pressures ranging from several hundred bars to possibly several kilobars has been studied. Power and propulsion would be provided using nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) technologies. This ambitious mission requires a number of technical issues be investigated and resolved, including: (1) developing a reasonable mission design that allows proper targeting and timing of the entry probe(s) while offering adequate opportunities for Triton, small icy satellite, and ring science, (2) giant-planet atmospheric probe thermal protection system (TPS) design, (3) deep probe design including pressure vessel, seals, windows, penetrations and inlets, (4) deep probe telecommunications through Neptune's dense and absorbing atmosphere, 5) Triton lander design to conduct extended surface science, and (6) defining an appropriate suite of science instruments for the Orbiter, Probes and Landers to explore the depths of the Neptune atmosphere, magnetic field, Triton, and the icy satellites utilizing the ample mass and power

  9. Advanced Aero-Propulsive Mid-Lift-to-Drag Ratio Entry Vehicle for Future Exploration Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, C. H.; Sostaric, R. R.; Cerimele, C. J.; Wong, K. A.; Valle, G. D.; Garcia, J. A.; Melton, J. E.; Munk, M. M.; Blades, E.; Kuruvila, G.; Picetti, D. J.; Hassan, B.; Kniskern, M. W.

    2012-06-01

    Advanced mid-L/D entry vehicles can provide performance advantages significant to mid-term robotic and human missions. Preliminary simulations with new paradigms show transonic Mach vehicle staging possible for retro-propulsion, descent and landing.

  10. Frame synchronization in Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System (AMMOS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilson, E.

    2002-01-01

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System system processes data received from deep-space spacecraft, where error rates can be high, bit rates are low, and data is unique precious.

  11. Advanced Earth-to-orbit propulsion technology information, dissemination and research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, S. T.

    1995-01-01

    In this period of performance a conference (The 1994 Conference on Advanced Earth-to-Orbit Propulsion Technology) was organized and implemented by the University of Alabama in Huntsville and held May 15-17 to assemble and disseminate the current information on Advanced Earth-to-Orbit Propulsion Technology. The results were assembled for publication as NASA-CP-3282, Volume 1 and 2 and NASA-CP-3287.

  12. Engine System Model Development for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nelson, Karl W.; Simpson, Steven P.

    2006-01-01

    In order to design, analyze, and evaluate conceptual Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine systems, an improved NTP design and analysis tool has been developed. The NTP tool utilizes the Rocket Engine Transient Simulation (ROCETS) system tool and many of the routines from the Enabler reactor model found in Nuclear Engine System Simulation (NESS). Improved non-nuclear component models and an external shield model were added to the tool. With the addition of a nearly complete system reliability model, the tool will provide performance, sizing, and reliability data for NERVA-Derived NTP engine systems. A new detailed reactor model is also being developed and will replace Enabler. The new model will allow more flexibility in reactor geometry and include detailed thermal hydraulics and neutronics models. A description of the reactor, component, and reliability models is provided. Another key feature of the modeling process is the use of comprehensive spreadsheets for each engine case. The spreadsheets include individual worksheets for each subsystem with data, plots, and scaled figures, making the output very useful to each engineering discipline. Sample performance and sizing results with the Enabler reactor model are provided including sensitivities. Before selecting an engine design, all figures of merit must be considered including the overall impacts on the vehicle and mission. Evaluations based on key figures of merit of these results and results with the new reactor model will be performed. The impacts of clustering and external shielding will also be addressed. Over time, the reactor model will be upgraded to design and analyze other NTP concepts with CERMET and carbide fuel cores.

  13. Affordable Development and Qualification Strategy for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harold P., Jr.; Doughty, Glen E.; Bhattacharyya, Samit K.

    2013-01-01

    A number of recent assessments have confirmed the results of several earlier studies that Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is a leading technology for human exploration of Mars. It is generally acknowledged that NTP provides the best prospects for the transportation of humans to Mars in the 2030's. Its high Isp coupled with the high thrusts achievable, allow reasonable trip times, thereby alleviating concerns about space radiation and "claustrophobia" effects. NASA has embarked on the latest phase of the development of NTP systems, and is adopting an affordable approach in response to the pressure of the times. The affordable strategy is built on maximizing the use of the large NTP technology base developed in the 1950's and 60's. The fact that the NTP engines were actually demonstrated to work as planned, is a great risk reduction feature in its development. The strategy utilizes non-nuclear testing to the fullest extent possible, and uses focused nuclear tests for the essential qualification and certification tests. The perceived cost risk of conducting the ground tests is being addressed by considering novel testing approaches. This includes the use of boreholes to contain radioactive effluents, and use of fuel with very high retention capability for fission products. The use of prototype flight tests is being considered as final steps in the development prior to undertaking human flight missions. In addition to the technical issues, plans are being prepared to address the institutional and political issues that need to be considered in this major venture. While the development and deployment of NTP system is not expected to be cheap, the value of the system will be very high, and amortized over the many missions that it enables and enhances, the imputed costs will be very reasonable. Using the approach outlined, NASA and its partners, currently the DOE, and subsequently industry, have a good chance of creating a sustained development program leading to human

  14. A Neptune/Triton Vision Mission Using Nuclear Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steffes, P.; Bienstock, B.; Atkinson, D. H.; Baines, K.; Mahaffey, P.; Atreya, S.; Stern, A.; Wright, M.

    2004-12-01

    The giant planets of the outer solar system divide into two distinct classes: the `gas giants' Jupiter and Saturn, primarily comprising hydrogen and helium; and the `ice giants' Uranus and Neptune that are believed to contain significant amounts of the heavier elements including oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur. Detailed comparisons of the internal structures and compositions of the gas giants with those of the ice giants will yield valuable insights into the processes that formed the solar system and, perhaps, extrasolar systems. By 2012, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, and possibly a New Frontiers Jupiter mission will have yielded significant information on the chemical and physical properties of Jupiter and Saturn. A Neptune mission would deliver the corresponding key data for an ice giant planet. A Neptune Orbiter with Probes mission utilizing nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) to study Triton, Nereid, the other icy satellites of Neptune, Neptune's system of rings, and the deep Neptune atmosphere to pressures ranging from several hundred bars to possibly several kilobars is being examined. Power and propulsion would be provided using nuclear electric technologies. Such an ambitious mission requires a number of technical issues be investigated and resolved, including: (1) developing a realizable mission design that allows proper targeting and timing of the entry probe(s) while offering adequate opportunities for detailed measurements of Triton, the other icy satellites and ring science, (2) giant-planet atmospheric probe thermal protection system (TPS) design, (3) descent probe design including seals, windows, penetrations and inlets, and pressure vessel, (4) probe telecommunications through the dense and absorbing Neptunian atmosphere, and (5) within NEP mass and power constraints, defining an appropriate suite of science instruments to explore the depths of the Neptune atmosphere, magnetic field, Triton, and the icy satellites. Another driving factor in

  15. A Neptune Vision Mission using Nuclear Electric Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Atkinson, D. H.; Bienstock, B.; Baines, K. H.; Mahaffey, P.; Steffes, P.; Atreya, S.; Stern, A.; Wright, M.; Boeing; Ball Aerospace

    2004-11-01

    The giant planets of the outer solar system divide into two distinct classes: the ``gas giants" Jupiter and Saturn, primarily comprising hydrogen and helium; and the ``ice giants" Uranus and Neptune that are believed to contain significant amounts of the heavier elements including oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur. Detailed comparisons of the internal structures and compositions of the gas giants with those of the ice giants will yield valuable insights into the processes that formed the solar system and, perhaps, extrasolar systems. By 2012, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, and possibly a New Frontiers Jupiter mission will have yielded significant information on the chemical and physical properties of Jupiter and Saturn. A Neptune mission would deliver the corresponding key data for an ice giant planet. A Neptune Orbiter with Probes mission utilizing nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) to study the deep Neptune atmosphere to pressures ranging from several hundred bars to possibly several kilobars is being examined. Additional targets include Neptune's enigmatic ring system, Triton, Nereid, and the other icy satellites of Neptune. Power and propulsion would be provided using nuclear electric technologies. Such an ambitious mission requires a number of technical issues be investigated and resolved, including: (1) giant-planet atmospheric probe thermal protection system (TPS) design, (2) descent probe design including seals, windows, penetrations and inlets, and pressure vessel, (3) probe telecommunications through the dense and absorbing Neptunian atmosphere, (4) developing a realizable mission design that allows proper targeting and timing of the entry probe(s) while offering adequate opportunities for detailed measurements of Triton and the other icy satellites as well as ring science, (5) and, within NEP mass and power constraints, defining an appropriate suite of science instruments to explore the depths of the Neptune atmosphere, magnetic field, Triton, and

  16. An airline study of advanced technology requirements for advanced high speed commercial engines. 3: Propulsion system requirements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sallee, G. P.

    1973-01-01

    The advanced technology requirements for an advanced high speed commercial transport engine are presented. The results of the phase 3 effort cover the requirements and objectives for future aircraft propulsion systems. These requirements reflect the results of the Task 1 and 2 efforts and serve as a baseline for future evaluations, specification development efforts, contract/purchase agreements, and operational plans for future subsonic commercial engines. This report is divided into five major sections: (1) management objectives for commercial propulsion systems, (2) performance requirements for commercial transport propulsion systems, (3) design criteria for future transport engines, (4) design requirements for powerplant packages, and (5) testing.

  17. Report of the Nuclear Propulsion Mission Analysis, Figures of Merit Subpanel: Quantifiable figures of merit for nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haynes, Davy A.

    1991-01-01

    The results of an inquiry by the Nuclear Propulsion Mission Analysis, Figures of Merit subpanel are given. The subpanel was tasked to consider the question of what are the appropriate and quantifiable parameters to be used in the definition of an overall figure of merit (FoM) for Mars transportation system (MTS) nuclear thermal rocket engines (NTR). Such a characterization is needed to resolve the NTR engine design trades by a logical and orderly means, and to provide a meaningful method for comparison of the various NTR engine concepts. The subpanel was specifically tasked to identify the quantifiable engine parameters which would be the most significant engine factors affecting an overall FoM for a MTS and was not tasked with determining 'acceptable' or 'recommended' values for the identified parameters. In addition, the subpanel was asked not to define an overall FoM for a MTS. Thus, the selection of a specific approach, applicable weighting factors, to any interrelationships, for establishing an overall numerical FoM were considered beyond the scope of the subpanel inquiry.

  18. Recent advances in low-thrust propulsion technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stone, James R.

    1988-01-01

    The NASA low-thrust propulsion technology program is aimed at providing high performance options to a broad class of near-term and future missions. Major emphases of the program are on storable and hydrogen/oxygen low-thrust chemical, low-power (auxiliary) electrothermal, and high-power electric propulsion. This paper represents the major accomplishments of the program and discusses their impact.

  19. Crewed Mission to Callisto Using Advanced Plasma Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adams, R. B.; Statham, G.; White, S.; Patton, B.; Thio, Y. C. F.; Alexander, R.; Fincher, S.; Polsgrove, T.; Chapman, J.; Hopkins, R.

    2003-01-01

    This paper describes the engineering of several vehicles designed for a crewed mission to the Jovian satellite Callisto. Each subsystem is discussed in detail. Mission and trajectory analysis for each mission concept is described. Crew support components are also described. Vehicles were developed using both fission powered magneto plasma dynamic (MPD) thrusters and magnetized target fusion (MTF) propulsion systems. Conclusions were drawn regarding the usefulness of these propulsion systems for crewed exploration of the outer solar system.

  20. High-pressure propulsion - advanced concepts for cooling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoerman, Leonard

    The state-of-the-art liquid propellant cooled combustion chambers utilized in the space shuttle are third-generation designs which have evolved from a continuing demand for higher operating pressure and aircraft-type reusability. History has shown that major advances in cooling occur in approximately ten-year cycles, with each cycle providing a nominal 400% increase in operating pressure and/or a higher degree of reusability. The previous technologies include the first-generation double-wall steel jackets used in the 220 psi V-2 and Aerobee, and the second generation wire-wrapped double tapered tubular assemblies typical of the 800 psi Titan I, II, and III, and 1000 psi F-1 engines. The third-generation designs utilize milled slot, high thermal conductivity liners and electrodeposited nickel closures. The space shuttle main engine operating at 3200 psia is adequate for individual flights; however, the desired goal of 55 service-free missions has yet to be realized. Future single-stage-to-orbit propulsion concepts can benefit from a further increase in operating pressures to 6000 to 10,000 psi combined with engine reuse capabilities in excess of the 55 flight goals of the space shuttle. A fourth-generation approach will be required to attain these more ambitious goals. These new designs will require a combination of cooling processes, including regenerative and transpiration, combined with improved high-temperature materials and new fabrication techniques. The limitations of the third-generation designs, the impact of propellant/coolant selection, and the approaches for the coming fourth-generation cooling technologies are discussed.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Power Conditioning System Modelling for Nuclear Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Metcalf, Kenneth J.

    1993-01-01

    NASA LeRC is currently developing a Fortran based model of a complete nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) vehicle that would be used for piloted and cargo missions to the Moon or Mars. The proposed vehicle design will use either a Brayton or K-Rankine power conversion cycle to drive a turbine coupled with a rotary alternator. Two thruster types are also being studied, ion and magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD). In support of this NEP model, Rocketdyne developed a power management and distribution (PMAD) subroutine that provides parametric outputs for selected alternator operating voltages and frequencies, thruster types, system power levels, and electronics coldplate temperatures. The end-to-end PMAD model described is based on the direct use of the alternator voltage and frequency for transmitting power to either ion or MPD thrusters. This low frequency transmission approach was compared with dc and high frequency ac designs, and determined to have the lowest mass, highest efficiency, highest reliability and lowest development costs. While its power quality is not as good as that provided by a high frequency system, it was considered adequate for both ion and MPD engine applications. The low frequency architecture will be used as the reference in future NEP PMAD studies.

  4. Performance assessment of low pressure nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, H. P., Jr.; Doughty, G. E.

    1993-01-01

    A low pressure nuclear thermal propulsion (LPNTP) system, which takes advantage of hydrogen dissociation/recombination, was proposed as a means of increasing engine specific impulse (Isp). The effect of hydrogen dissociation/recombination on LPNTP Isp is examined. A two-dimensional computer model was used to show that the optimum chamber pressure is approximately 100 psia (at a chamber temperature of 3,000 K), with an Isp approximately 15 s higher than at 1,000 psia. At high chamber temperatures and low chamber pressures, the increase in Isp is due to both lower average molecular weights caused by dissociation and added kinetic energy from monatomic hydrogen recombination. Monatomic hydrogen recombination increases the Isp more then hydrogen dissociation. Variations in the mole fraction of monatomic hydrogen are similar to variations in static pressure along the axial nozzle position. Most recombination occurs close to the nozzle throat. Practical variations in nozzle geometry have minimal impact on recombination. Other models which can simulate a wider range of nozzle designs should be used in the future. The uncertainty of the hydrogen kinetic reaction rates at high temperatures (approximately 3,000 K) affects the accuracy of the analysis and should be verified with simple bench tests.

  5. Power conditioning system modelling for nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Metcalf, Kenneth J.

    1993-11-01

    NASA LeRC is currently developing a Fortran based model of a complete nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) vehicle that would be used for piloted and cargo missions to the Moon or Mars. The proposed vehicle design will use either a Brayton or K-Rankine power conversion cycle to drive a turbine coupled with a rotary alternator. Two thruster types are also being studied, ion and magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD). In support of this NEP model, Rocketdyne developed a power management and distribution (PMAD) subroutine that provides parametric outputs for selected alternator operating voltages and frequencies, thruster types, system power levels, and electronics coldplate temperatures. The end-to-end PMAD model described is based on the direct use of the alternator voltage and frequency for transmitting power to either ion or MPD thrusters. This low frequency transmission approach was compared with dc and high frequency ac designs, and determined to have the lowest mass, highest efficiency, highest reliability and lowest development costs. While its power quality is not as good as that provided by a high frequency system, it was considered adequate for both ion and MPD engine applications. The low frequency architecture will be used as the reference in future NEP PMAD studies.

  6. 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.

  7. Pellet bed reactor concept for nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Morley, Nicholas J.; Juhasz, Albert

    1993-01-01

    For Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) applications, gas cooled nuclear reactors with dynamic energy conversion systems offer high specific power and low total mass. This paper describes the Pellet Bed Reactor (PeBR) concept for potential NEP missions to Mars. The helium cooled, 75-80 MWt PeBR, consists of a single annular fuel region filled with a randomly packed bed of spherical fuel pellets, is designed for multiple starts, and offers unique safety and operation features. Each fuel pellet, about 8-10 mm in diameter, is composed of hundreds of TRISO type fuel microspheres embedded in a graphite matrix for a full retention of fission products. To eliminate the likelihood of a single-point failure, the annular core of the PeBR is divided into three 120° sectors. Each sector is self contained and separate and capable of operating and being cooled on its own and in cooperation with either one or two other sectors. Each sector is coupled to a separate, 5 MWe Closed Brayton Cycle (CBC) energy conversion unit and is subcritical for safe handling and launching. In the event of a failure of the cooling system of a core sector, the reactor power level may be reduced, allowing adjacent sectors to convect the heat away using their own cooling system, thus maintaining reactor operation. Also, due to the absence of an internal core structure in the PeBR core, fueling of the reactor can easily be performed either at the launch facility or in orbit, and refueling can be accomplished in orbit as needed to extend the power system lifetime

  8. Advances in computational design and analysis of airbreathing propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klineberg, John M.

    1989-01-01

    The development of commercial and military aircraft depends, to a large extent, on engine manufacturers being able to achieve significant increases in propulsion capability through improved component aerodynamics, materials, and structures. The recent history of propulsion has been marked by efforts to develop computational techniques that can speed up the propulsion design process and produce superior designs. The availability of powerful supercomputers, such as the NASA Numerical Aerodynamic Simulator, and the potential for even higher performance offered by parallel computer architectures, have opened the door to the use of multi-dimensional simulations to study complex physical phenomena in propulsion systems that have previously defied analysis or experimental observation. An overview of several NASA Lewis research efforts is provided that are contributing toward the long-range goal of a numerical test-cell for the integrated, multidisciplinary design, analysis, and optimization of propulsion systems. Specific examples in Internal Computational Fluid Mechanics, Computational Structural Mechanics, Computational Materials Science, and High Performance Computing are cited and described in terms of current capabilities, technical challenges, and future research directions.

  9. Beyond Electric Propulsion: Non-Propulsive Benefits of Nuclear Power for the Exploration of the Outer Solar System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zubrin, Robert M.

    1994-07-01

    In the past, most studies dealing with the benefits of space nuclear electric power systems for solar system exploration have focused on the potential of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) to enhance missions by increasing delivered payload, decreasing LEO mass, or reducing trip time. While important, such mission enhancements have failed to go to the heart of the concerns of the scientific community supporting interplanetary exploration. To put the matter succinctly, scientists don't buy delivered payload - they buy data returned. With nuclear power we can increase both the quantity of data returned, by enormously increasing data communication rates, and the quality of data by enabling a host of active sensing techniques otherwise impossible. These non-propulsive mission enhancement capabilities of space nuclear power have been known in principle for many years, but they have not been adequately documented. As a result, support for the development of space nuclear power by the interplanetary exploration community has been much less forceful than it might otherwise be. In this paper we shall present mission designs that take full advantage of the potential mission enhancements offered by space nuclear power systems in the 10 to 100 kWe range, not just for propulsion, but to radically improve, enrich, and expand the science return itself. Missions considered include orbiter missions to each of the outer planets. It will be shown that be using hybrid trajectories combining chemical propulsion with NEP and (in certain cases) gravity assists, that it is possible, using a Titan IV-Centaur launch vehicle, for high-powered spacecraft to be placed in orbit around each of the outer planets with electric propulsion burn times of less than 4 years. Such hybrid trajectories therefore make the outer solar-system available to near-term nuclear electric power systems. Once in orbit, the spacecraft will utilize multi-kilowatt communication systems, similar to those now employed by

  10. Innovative nuclear thermal propulsion technology evaluation: Results of the NASA/DOE Task Team study

    SciTech Connect

    Howe, S. ); Borowski, S. . Lewis Research Center); Motloch, C. ); Helms, I. ); Diaz, N.; Anghaie, S. ); Latham, T. (United

    1991-01-01

    In response to findings from two NASA/DOE nuclear propulsion workshops held in the summer of 1990, six task teams were formed to continue evaluation of various nuclear propulsion concepts. The Task Team on Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) created the Innovative Concepts Subpanel to evaluate thermal propulsion concepts which did not utilize solid fuel. The Subpanel endeavored to evaluate each of the concepts on a level technological playing field,'' and to identify critical technologies, issues, and early proof-of-concept experiments. The concepts included the liquid core fission, the gas core fission, the fission foil reactors, explosively driven systems, fusion, and antimatter. The results of the studies by the panel will be provided. 13 refs., 6 figs., 2 tabs.

  11. Advanced research and technology programs for advanced high-pressure oxygen-hydrogen rocket propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marsik, S. J.; Morea, S. F.

    1985-01-01

    A research and technology program for advanced high pressure, oxygen-hydrogen rocket propulsion technology is presently being pursued by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish the basic discipline technologies, develop the analytical tools, and establish the data base necessary for an orderly evolution of the staged combustion reusable rocket engine. The need for the program is based on the premise that the USA will depend on the Shuttle and its derivative versions as its principal Earth-to-orbit transportation system for the next 20 to 30 yr. The program is focused in three principal areas of enhancement: (1) life extension, (2) performance, and (3) operations and diagnosis. Within the technological disciplines the efforts include: rotordynamics, structural dynamics, fluid and gas dynamics, materials fatigue/fracture/life, turbomachinery fluid mechanics, ignition/combustion processes, manufacturing/producibility/nondestructive evaluation methods and materials development/evaluation. An overview of the Advanced High Pressure Oxygen-Hydrogen Rocket Propulsion Technology Program Structure and Working Groups objectives are presented with highlights of several significant achievements.

  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. Ground Test Facility for Propulsion and Power Modes of Nuclear Engine Operation

    SciTech Connect

    Michael, WILLIAMS

    2004-11-22

    Existing DOE Ground Test Facilities have not been used to support nuclear propulsion testing since the Rover/NERVA programs of the 1960's. Unlike the Rover/NERVA programs, DOE Ground Test facilities for space exploration enabling nuclear technologies can no longer be vented to the open atmosphere. The optimal selection of DOE facilities and accompanying modifications for confinement and treatment of exhaust gases will permit the safe testing of NASA Nuclear Propulsion and Power devices involving variable size and source nuclear engines for NASA Jupiter Icy Moon Orbiter (JIMO) and Commercial Space Exploration Missions with minimal cost, schedule and environmental impact. NASA site selection criteria and testing requirements are presented.

  14. Affordable Development and Qualification Strategy for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harold P., Jr.; Doughty, Glen E.; Bhattacharyya, Samit K.

    2013-01-01

    Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is a concept which uses a nuclear reactor to heat a propellant to high temperatures without combustion and can achieve significantly greater specific impulse than chemical engines. NTP has been considered many times for human and cargo missions beyond low earth orbit. A lot of development and technical maturation of NTP components took place during the Rover/NERVA program of the 60's and early 70's. Other NTP programs and studies followed attempting to further mature the NTP concept and identify a champion customer willing to devote the funds and support the development schedule to a demonstration mission. Budgetary constraints require the use of an affordable development and qualification strategy that takes into account all the previous work performed on NTP to construct an existing database, and include lessons learned and past guidelines followed. Current guidelines and standards NASA uses for human rating chemical rocket engines is referenced. The long lead items for NTP development involve the fuel elements of the reactor and ground testing the engine system, subsystem, and components. Other considerations which greatly impact the development plans includes the National Space Policy, National Environmental Policy Act, Presidential Directive/National Security Council Memorandum #25 (Scientific or Technological Experiments with Possible Large-Scale Adverse Environmental Effects and Launch of Nuclear Systems into Space), and Safeguards and Security. Ground testing will utilize non-nuclear test capabilities to help down select components and subsystems before testing in a nuclear environment to save time and cost. Existing test facilities with minor modifications will be considered to the maximum extent practical. New facilities will be designed to meet minimum requirements. Engine and test facility requirements are based on the driving mission requirements with added factors of safety for better assurance and reliability

  15. Advanced earth-to-orbit transportation vehicles and their propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shelton, B. W.

    1978-01-01

    This paper identifies some of the advanced transportation systems and their associated propulsion systems being considered by MSFC for near-term missions (1980-1990), future missions (1990-2000), and far-term missions (post 2000). The near-term launch-vehicle considerations center around the growth Shuttle and the Shuttle-derived Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV) systems. The future and far-term considerations support the development of larger more advanced transportation systems. In such cases, the changing nature of the propulsion requirements needed by the launch vehicle are identified. The evolvement of chemical propulsion launch vehicles into the far future is prognosticated, and where applicable from a launch vehicle or propulsion viewpoint, orbit transfer vehicles are discussed.

  16. Main propulsion system design recommendations for an advanced Orbit Transfer Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Redd, L.

    1985-01-01

    Various main propulsion system configurations of an advanced OTV are evaluated with respect to the probability of nonindependent failures, i.e., engine failures that disable the entire main propulsion system. Analysis of the life-cycle cost (LCC) indicates that LCC is sensitive to the main propulsion system reliability, vehicle dry weight, and propellant cost; it is relatively insensitive to the number of missions/overhaul, failures per mission, and EVA and IVA cost. In conclusion, two or three engines are recommended in view of their highest reliability, minimum life-cycle cost, and fail operational/fail safe capability.

  17. Advances in adaptive structures at Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wada, Ben K.; Garba, John A.

    1993-01-01

    Future proposed NASA missions with the need for large deployable or erectable precision structures will require solutions to many technical problems. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is developing new technologies in Adaptive Structures to meet these challenges. The technology requirements, approaches to meet the requirements using Adaptive Structures, and the recent JPL research results in Adaptive Structures are described.

  18. Advanced Earth-to-orbit propulsion technology information, dissemination and research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, S. T.

    1993-01-01

    A conference was held at MSFC in May 1992 describing the research achievements of the NASA-wide research and technology programs dealing with advanced oxygen/hydrogen and oxygen/hydrocarbon earth-to-orbit propulsion. The purpose of this conference was to provide a forum for the timely dissemination to the propulsion community of the results emerging from this program with particular emphasis on the transfer of information from the scientific/research to the designer.

  19. An interagency space nuclear propulsion safety policy for SEI - Issues and discussion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marshall, A. C.; Sawyer, J. C., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    An interagency Nuclear Safety Policy Working Group (NSPWG) was chartered to recommend nuclear safety policy, requirements, and guidelines for the Space Exploration Initiative nuclear propulsion program to facilitate the implementation of mission planning and conceptual design studies. The NSPWG developed a top level policy to provide the guiding principles for the development and implementation of the nuclear propulsion safety program and the development of Safety Functional Requirements. In addition, the NSPWG reviewed safety issues for nuclear propulsion and recommended top level safety requirements and guidelines to address these issues. Safety topics include reactor start-up, inadvertent criticality, radiological release and exposure, disposal, entry, safeguards, risk/reliability, operational safety, ground testing, and other considerations. In this paper the emphasis is placed on the safety policy and the issues and considerations that are addressed by the NSPWG recommendations.

  20. 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.

  1. REIMR - A Process for Utilizing Liquid Rocket Propulsion-Oriented 'Lessons Learned' to Mitigate Development Risk in Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Ballard, Richard O.

    2006-01-20

    This paper is a summary overview of a study conducted at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA-MSFC) during the initial phases of the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program to evaluate a large number of technical problems associated with the design, development, test, evaluation and operation of several major liquid propellant rocket engine systems (i.e., SSME, Fastrac, J-2, F-1). One of the primary results of this study was the identification of the 'Fundamental Root Causes' that enabled the technical problems to manifest, and practices that can be implemented to prevent them from recurring in future propulsion system development efforts, such as that which is currently envisioned in the field of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP). This paper will discus the Fundamental Root Causes, cite some examples of how the technical problems arose from them, and provide a discussion of how they can be mitigated or avoided in the development of an NTP system.

  2. REIMR - A Process for Utilizing Liquid Rocket Propulsion-Oriented 'Lessons Learned' to Mitigate Development Risk in Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ballard, RIchard O.

    2006-01-01

    This paper is a summary overview of a study conducted at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA MSFC) during the initial phases of the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program to evaluate a large number of technical problems associated with the design, development, test, evaluation and operation of several major liquid propellant rocket engine systems (i.e., SSME, Fastrac, J-2, F-1). One of the primary results of this study was the identification of the Fundamental Root Causes that enabled the technical problems to manifest, and practices that can be implemented to prevent them from recurring in future propulsion system development efforts, such as that which is currently envisioned in the field of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTF). This paper will discuss the Fundamental Root Causes, cite some examples of how the technical problems arose from them, and provide a discussion of how they can be mitigated or avoided in the development of an NTP system

  3. NASA safety program activities in support of the Space Exploration Initiatives Nuclear Propulsion program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sawyer, J. C., Jr.

    1993-01-01

    The activities of the joint NASA/DOE/DOD Nuclear Propulsion Program Technical Panels have been used as the basis for the current development of safety policies and requirements for the Space Exploration Initiatives (SEI) Nuclear Propulsion Technology development program. The Safety Division of the NASA Office of Safety and Mission Quality has initiated efforts to develop policies for the safe use of nuclear propulsion in space through involvement in the joint agency Nuclear Safety Policy Working Group (NSPWG), encouraged expansion of the initial policy development into proposed programmatic requirements, and suggested further expansion into the overall risk assessment and risk management process for the NASA Exploration Program. Similar efforts are underway within the Department of Energy to ensure the safe development and testing of nuclear propulsion systems on Earth. This paper describes the NASA safety policy related to requirements for the design of systems that may operate where Earth re-entry is a possibility. The expected plan of action is to support and oversee activities related to the technology development of nuclear propulsion in space, and support the overall safety and risk management program being developed for the NASA Exploration Program.

  4. NASA's Advanced Propulsion Technology Activities for Third Generation Fully Reusable Launch Vehicle Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hueter, Uwe

    2000-01-01

    NASA's Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology (OASTT) established the following three major goals, referred to as "The Three Pillars for Success": Global Civil Aviation, Revolutionary Technology Leaps, and Access to Space. The Advanced Space Transportation Program Office (ASTP) at the NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. focuses on future space transportation technologies under the "Access to Space" pillar. The Propulsion Projects within ASTP under the investment area of Spaceliner100, focus on the earth-to-orbit (ETO) third generation reusable launch vehicle technologies. The goals of Spaceliner 100 is to reduce cost by a factor of 100 and improve safety by a factor of 10,000 over current conditions. The ETO Propulsion Projects in ASTP, are actively developing combination/combined-cycle propulsion technologies that utilized airbreathing propulsion during a major portion of the trajectory. System integration, components, materials and advanced rocket technologies are also being pursued. Over the last several years, one of the main thrusts has been to develop rocket-based combined cycle (RBCC) technologies. The focus has been on conducting ground tests of several engine designs to establish the RBCC flowpaths performance. Flowpath testing of three different RBCC engine designs is progressing. Additionally, vehicle system studies are being conducted to assess potential operational space access vehicles utilizing combined-cycle propulsion systems. The design, manufacturing, and ground testing of a scale flight-type engine are planned. The first flight demonstration of an airbreathing combined cycle propulsion system is envisioned around 2005. The paper will describe the advanced propulsion technologies that are being being developed under the ETO activities in the ASTP program. Progress, findings, and future activities for the propulsion technologies will be discussed.

  5. Advancements in Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) for Space Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, Robert; Yang Yang; Miley, G.H.; Mead, F.B.

    2005-02-06

    The development of a dense plasma focus (DPF) propulsion device using p-11B is described. A propulsion system of this type is attractive because of its high thrust-to-weight ratio capabilities at high specific impulses. From a fuel standpoint, p-11B is advantageous because of the aneutronic nature of the reaction, which is favorable for the production of thrust since the charged particles can be channeled by a magnetic field. Different fusion mechanisms are investigated and their implication to the p-11B reaction is explored. Three main requirements must be satisfied to reach breakeven for DPF fusion: a high Ti/Te ratio ({approx}20), an order of magnitude higher pinch lifetime, and the reflection and absorption of at least 50% radiation. Moreover, a power re-circulation method with high efficiency must be available for the relatively low Q value of the DPF fusion reactor. A possible direct energy conversion scheme using magnetic field compression is discussed. DPF parameters are estimated for thrust levels of 1000 kN and 500 kN, and possible propulsion applications are discussed, along with developmental issues.

  6. Innovative nuclear thermal propulsion technology evaluation - Results of the NASA/DOE task team study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howe, Steven D.; Borowski, Stanley; Motloch, Chet; Helms, Ira; Diaz, Nils; Anghaie, Samim; Latham, Thomas

    1991-01-01

    In response to findings from two NASA/DOE nuclear propulsion workshops, six task teams were created to continue evaluation of various propulsion concepts, from which evolved an innovative concepts subpanel to evaluate thermal propulsion concepts which did not utilize solid fuel. This subpanel endeavored to evaluate each concept on a level technology basis, and to identify critical issues, technologies, and early proof-of-concept experiments. Results of the concept studies including the liquid core fission, the gas core fission, the fission foil reactors, explosively driven systems, fusion, and antimatter are presented.

  7. Requirements for a common nuclear propulsion and power reactor for human exploration missions to Mars

    SciTech Connect

    Cataldo, Robert L.; Borowski, Stanley K.

    1998-01-15

    Requirements for propulsion and power systems capable of achieving a safe, reliable, robust and affordable human Mars exploration mission have been identified. Nuclear systems have been identified that can meet the challenges of short trip times, reduced number of launch vehicles, potential for 'all propulsive' maneuvers, abundant in-space power and low mass, volume and deployed area, and energy rich surface power. Reduced total systems cost will also be mandatory to achieve affordable human exploration of Mars. Hence, it is desirable to design a space propulsion and surface power reactor with the greatest degree of commonality as possible with the goal of reducing total system costs.

  8. Nuclear Thermal Rocket (Ntr) Propulsion: A Proven Game-Changing Technology for Future Human Exploration Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.; McCurdy, David R.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2012-01-01

    The NTR represents the next evolutionary step in high performance rocket propulsion. It generates high thrust and has a specific impulse (Isp) of approx.900 seconds (s) or more V twice that of today s best chemical rockets. The technology is also proven. During the previous Rover and NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications) nuclear rocket programs, 20 rocket reactors were designed, built and ground tested. These tests demonstrated: (1) a wide range of thrust; (2) high temperature carbide-based nuclear fuel; (3) sustained engine operation; (4) accumulated lifetime; and (5) restart capability V all the requirements needed for a human mission to Mars. Ceramic metal cermet fuel was also pursued, as a backup option. The NTR also has significant growth and evolution potential. Configured as a bimodal system, it can generate electrical power for the spacecraft. Adding an oxygen afterburner nozzle introduces a variable thrust and Isp capability and allows bipropellant operation. In NASA s recent Mars Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 study, the NTR was selected as the preferred propulsion option because of its proven technology, higher performance, lower launch mass, simple assembly and mission operations. In contrast to other advanced propulsion options, NTP requires no large technology scale-ups. In fact, the smallest engine tested during the Rover program V the 25,000 lbf (25 klbf) Pewee engine is sufficient for human Mars missions when used in a clustered engine arrangement. The Copernicus crewed spacecraft design developed in DRA 5.0 has significant capability and a human exploration strategy is outlined here that uses Copernicus and its key components for precursor near Earth asteroid (NEA) and Mars orbital missions prior to a Mars landing mission. Initially, the basic Copernicus vehicle can enable reusable 1-year round trip human missions to candidate NEAs like 1991 JW and Apophis in the late 2020 s to check out vehicle systems. Afterwards, the

  9. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP): A Proven Growth Technology for Human NEO/Mars Exploration Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.; McCurdy, David R.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2012-01-01

    The nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) represents the next "evolutionary step" in high performance rocket propulsion. Unlike conventional chemical rockets that produce their energy through combustion, the NTR derives its energy from fission of Uranium-235 atoms contained within fuel elements that comprise the engine s reactor core. Using an "expander" cycle for turbopump drive power, hydrogen propellant is raised to a high pressure and pumped through coolant channels in the fuel elements where it is superheated then expanded out a supersonic nozzle to generate high thrust. By using hydrogen for both the reactor coolant and propellant, the NTR can achieve specific impulse (Isp) values of 900 seconds (s) or more - twice that of today s best chemical rockets. From 1955 - 1972, twenty rocket reactors were designed, built and ground tested in the Rover and NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications) programs. These programs demonstrated: (1) high temperature carbide-based nuclear fuels; (2) a wide range of thrust levels; (3) sustained engine operation; (4) accumulated lifetime at full power; and (5) restart capability - all the requirements needed for a human Mars mission. Ceramic metal "cermet" fuel was pursued as well, as a backup option. The NTR also has significant "evolution and growth" capability. Configured as a "bimodal" system, it can generate its own electrical power to support spacecraft operational needs. Adding an oxygen "afterburner" nozzle introduces a variable thrust and Isp capability and allows bipropellant operation. In NASA s recent Mars Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 study, the NTR was selected as the preferred propulsion option because of its proven technology, higher performance, lower launch mass, versatile vehicle design, simple assembly, and growth potential. In contrast to other advanced propulsion options, no large technology scale-ups are required for NTP either. In fact, the smallest engine tested during the Rover program

  10. A Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage for Near-Term Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Michael G.; Kim, Tony; Emrich, William J.; Hickman, Robert R.; Broadway, Jeramie W.; Gerrish, Harold P.; Adams, Robert B.; Bechtel, Ryan D.; Borowski, Stanley K.; George, Jeffrey A.

    2013-01-01

    The potential capability of NTP is game changing for space exploration. A first generation NCPS could provide high thrust at a specific impulse above 900 s, roughly double that of state of the art chemical engines. Near-term NCPS systems would provide a foundation for the development of significantly more advanced, higher performance systems. John F. Kennedy made his historic special address to Congress on the importance of space on May 25, 1961, "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth..." This was accomplished. John F. Kennedy also made a second request, "Secondly... accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the Moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself." The investment in the Rover nuclear rocket program provided the foundation of technology that gives us assurance for greater performing rockets that are capable of taking us further into space. Combined with current technologies, the vision to go beyond the Moon and to the very end of the solar system can be realized with space nuclear propulsion and power.

  11. A review of the Los Alamos effort in the development of nuclear rocket propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Durham, F.P.; Kirk, W.L.; Bohl, R.J.

    1991-01-01

    This paper reviews the achievements of the Los Alamos nuclear rocket propulsion program and describes some specific reactor design and testing problems encountered during the development program along with the progress made in solving these problems. The relevance of these problems to a renewed nuclear thermal rocket development program for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) is discussed. 11 figs.

  12. Technology requirements for advanced earth orbital transportation systems. Volume 3: Summary report - dual mode propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hepler, A. K.; Bangsund, E. L.

    1978-01-01

    The impact of dual-mode propulsion on cost-effective technology requirements for advanced earth-orbital transportation systems is considered. Additional objectives were to determine the advantages of the best dual mode concept relative to the LO2/LH2 concept of the basic study. Normal technology requirements applicable to horizontal take-off and landing single-stage-to-orbit systems utilizing dual mode rocket propulsion were projected to the 1985 time period. These technology projections were then incorporated in a vehicle parametric design analysis for two different operational concepts of a dual mode propulsion system. The resultant performance, weights and costs of each concept were compared. The selected propulsion concept was evaluated to confirm the parametric trending/scaling of weights and to optimize the configuration.

  13. Advanced nuclear precleaner

    SciTech Connect

    Wright, S.R.

    1997-10-01

    This Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program`s goal is to develop a dynamic, self-cleaning air precleaner for high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems that would extend significantly the life of HEPA filter banks by reducing the particulate matter that causes filter fouling and increased pack pressure. HEPA filters are widely used in DOE, Department of Defense, and a variety of commercial facilities. InnovaTech, Inc. (Formerly Micro Composite materials Corporation) has developed a proprietary dynamic separation device using a concept called Boundary Layer Momentum Transfer (BLMT) to extract particulate matter from fluid process streams. When used as a prefilter in the HVAC systems or downstream of waste vitrifiers in nuclear power plants, fuel processing facilities, and weapons decommissioning factories, the BLMT filter will dramatically extend the service life and increase the operation efficiency of existing HEPA filtration systems. The BLMT filter is self cleaning, so there will be no degraded flow or increased pressure drop. Because the BLMT filtration process is independent of temperature, it can be designed to work in ambient, medium, or high-temperature applications. During Phase II, the authors are continuing development of the computerized flow simulation model to include turbulence and incorporate expansion into a three-dimensional model that includes airflow behavior inside the filter housing before entering the active BLMT device. A full-scale (1000 ACFM) prototype filter is being designed to meet existing HEPA filter standards and will be fabricated for subsequent testing. Extensive in-house testing will be performed to determine a full range of performance characteristics. Final testing and evaluation of the prototype filter will be conducted at a DOE Quality Assurance Filter Test Station.

  14. ADVANCED RADIOISOTOPE HEAT SOURCE AND PROPULSION SYSTEMS FOR PLANETARY EXPLORATION

    SciTech Connect

    R. C. O'Brien; S. D. Howe; J. E. Werner

    2010-09-01

    The exploration of planetary surfaces and atmospheres may be enhanced by increasing the range and mobility of a science platform. Fundamentally, power production and availability of resources are limiting factors that must be considered for all science and exploration missions. A novel power and propulsion system is considered and discussed with reference to a long-range Mars surface exploration mission with in-situ resource utilization. Significance to applications such as sample return missions is also considered. Key material selections for radioisotope encapsulation techniques are presented.

  15. 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.

  16. Recent Advances in Nuclear Cardiology.

    PubMed

    Lee, Won Woo

    2016-09-01

    Nuclear cardiology is one of the major fields of nuclear medicine practice. Myocardial perfusion studies using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have played a crucial role in the management of coronary artery diseases. Positron emission tomography (PET) has also been considered an important tool for the assessment of myocardial viability and perfusion. However, the recent development of computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies and growing concerns about the radiation exposure of patients remain serious challenges for nuclear cardiology. In response to these challenges, remarkable achievements and improvements are currently in progress in the field of myocardial perfusion imaging regarding the applicable software and hardware. Additionally, myocardial perfusion positron emission tomography (PET) is receiving increasing attention owing to its unique capability of absolute myocardial blood flow estimation. An F-18-labeled perfusion agent for PET is under clinical trial with promising interim results. The applications of F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and F-18 sodium fluoride (NaF) to cardiovascular diseases have revealed details on the basic pathophysiology of ischemic heart diseases. PET/MRI seems to be particularly promising for nuclear cardiology in the future. Restrictive diseases, such as cardiac sarcoidosis and amyloidosis, are effectively evaluated using a variety of nuclear imaging tools. Considering these advances, the current challenges of nuclear cardiology will become opportunities if more collaborative efforts are devoted to this exciting field of nuclear medicine. PMID:27540423

  17. Recent Advances in Nuclear Cardiology.

    PubMed

    Lee, Won Woo

    2016-09-01

    Nuclear cardiology is one of the major fields of nuclear medicine practice. Myocardial perfusion studies using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have played a crucial role in the management of coronary artery diseases. Positron emission tomography (PET) has also been considered an important tool for the assessment of myocardial viability and perfusion. However, the recent development of computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies and growing concerns about the radiation exposure of patients remain serious challenges for nuclear cardiology. In response to these challenges, remarkable achievements and improvements are currently in progress in the field of myocardial perfusion imaging regarding the applicable software and hardware. Additionally, myocardial perfusion positron emission tomography (PET) is receiving increasing attention owing to its unique capability of absolute myocardial blood flow estimation. An F-18-labeled perfusion agent for PET is under clinical trial with promising interim results. The applications of F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and F-18 sodium fluoride (NaF) to cardiovascular diseases have revealed details on the basic pathophysiology of ischemic heart diseases. PET/MRI seems to be particularly promising for nuclear cardiology in the future. Restrictive diseases, such as cardiac sarcoidosis and amyloidosis, are effectively evaluated using a variety of nuclear imaging tools. Considering these advances, the current challenges of nuclear cardiology will become opportunities if more collaborative efforts are devoted to this exciting field of nuclear medicine.

  18. A One-year, Short-Stay Crewed Mars Mission Using Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Electric Propulsion (BNTEP) - A Preliminary Assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burke, Laura A.; Borowski, Stanley K.; McCurdy, David R.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2013-01-01

    A crewed mission to Mars poses a signi cant challenge in dealing with the physiolog- ical issues that arise with the crew being exposed to a near zero-gravity environment as well as signi cant solar and galactic radiation for such a long duration. While long sur- face stay missions exceeding 500 days are the ultimate goal for human Mars exploration, short round trip, short surface stay missions could be an important intermediate step that would allow NASA to demonstrate technology as well as study the physiological e ects on the crew. However, for a 1-year round trip mission, the outbound and inbound hy- perbolic velocity at Earth and Mars can be very large resulting in a signi cant propellant requirement for a high thrust system like Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). Similarly, a low thrust Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) system requires high electrical power lev- els (10 megawatts electric (MWe) or more), plus advanced power conversion technology to achieve the lower speci c mass values needed for such a mission. A Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Electric Propulsion (BNTEP) system is examined here that uses three high thrust Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket (BNTR) engines allowing short departure and capture maneuvers. The engines also generate electrical power that drives a low thrust Electric Propulsion (EP) system used for ecient interplanetary transit. This combined system can help reduce the total launch mass, system and operational requirements that would otherwise be required for equivalent NEP or Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) mission. The BNTEP system is a hybrid propulsion concept where the BNTR reactors operate in two separate modes. During high-thrust mode operation, each BNTR provides 10's of kilo- Newtons of thrust at reasonably high speci c impulse (Isp) of 900 seconds for impulsive trans-planetary injection and orbital insertion maneuvers. When in power generation / EP mode, the BNTR reactors are coupled to a Brayton power conversion system allowing each

  19. A One-year, Short-Stay Crewed Mars Mission Using Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Electric Propulsion (BNTEP) - A Preliminary Assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burke, Laura M.; Borowski, Stanley K.; McCurdy, David R.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2013-01-01

    A crewed mission to Mars poses a significant challenge in dealing with the physiological issues that arise with the crew being exposed to a near zero-gravity environment as well as significant solar and galactic radiation for such a long duration. While long surface stay missions exceeding 500 days are the ultimate goal for human Mars exploration, short round trip, short surface stay missions could be an important intermediate step that would allow NASA to demonstrate technology as well as study the physiological effects on the crew. However, for a 1-year round trip mission, the outbound and inbound hyperbolic velocity at Earth and Mars can be very large resulting in a significant propellant requirement for a high thrust system like Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). Similarly, a low thrust Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) system requires high electrical power levels (10 megawatts electric (MWe) or more), plus advanced power conversion technology to achieve the lower specific mass values needed for such a mission. A Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Electric Propulsion (BNTEP) system is examined here that uses three high thrust Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket (BNTR) engines allowing short departure and capture maneuvers. The engines also generate electrical power that drives a low thrust Electric Propulsion (EP) system used for efficient interplanetary transit. This combined system can help reduce the total launch mass, system and operational requirements that would otherwise be required for equivalent NEP or Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) mission. The BNTEP system is a hybrid propulsion concept where the BNTR reactors operate in two separate modes. During high-thrust mode operation, each BNTR provides 10's of kilo-Newtons of thrust at reasonably high specific impulse (Isp) of 900 seconds for impulsive transplanetary injection and orbital insertion maneuvers. When in power generation/EP mode, the BNTR reactors are coupled to a Brayton power conversion system allowing each

  20. Advanced Deuterium Fusion Rocket Propulsion for Manned Deep Space Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winterberg, F.

    Excluding speculations about future breakthrough discoveries in physics, it is shown that with what is at present known, and also what is technically feasible, manned space flight to the limits of the solar system and beyond deep into the Oort cloud is quite possible. Using deuterium as the rocket fuel of choice, abundantly available on the comets of the Oort cloud, rockets driven by deuterium fusion can there be refuelled. To obtain a high thrust with high specific impulse favours the propulsion by deuterium micro-bombs, and it is shown that the ignition of deuterium micro-bombs is possible by intense GeV proton beams, generated in space by using the entire spacecraft as a magnetically insulated billion volt capacitor. The cost to develop this kind of a propulsion system in space would be very high, but it can also be developed on Earth by a magnetically insulated Super Marx Generator. Since the ignition of deuterium is theoretically possible with the Super Marx Generator, making obsolete the ignition of deuterium-tritium with a laser, where 80% of the energy goes into neutrons, this would also mean a breakthrough in fusion research, and therefore would justify the large development costs.

  1. Development of actively cooled panels for advanced propulsion systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hauber, Brett K.

    1998-01-01

    Development of actively cooled flowpath panels for the National Aero-Space Plane (NASP) propulsion system was a critical task in the development plan of the air vehicle system. This task encompassed development of design requirements and loads, and component design and testing. In the early 90's the effort focused on six cooled panel designs based in five different materials (NARloy-Z, Haynes 188, MoRe, IN909, C/C and C/SiC), each satisfying requirements in a different area of the propulsion flowpath. Eventually, three of these designs were fabricated and tested. For these tests, two primary facilities were used. The first was a radiant heating facility at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), and the second, a vitiated air heater at General Applied Science Laboratories (GASL) Inc. In these facilities, tests were run to validate thermal and mechanical models and to demonstrate coating durability and effectiveness. Additional tests to assess the damage tolerance of these designs were planned but never run. These tests ultimately exposed strengths and weaknesses in the designs and the analysis methods.

  2. Application of Recommended Design Practices for Conceptual Nuclear Fusion Space Propulsion Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, Craig H.

    2004-01-01

    An AIAA Special Project Report was recently produced by AIAA's Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion Technical Committee and is currently in peer review. The Report provides recommended design practices for conceptual engineering studies of nuclear fusion space propulsion systems. Discussion and recommendations are made on key topics including design reference missions, degree of technological extrapolation and concomitant risk, thoroughness in calculating mass properties (nominal mass properties, weight-growth contingency and propellant margins, and specific impulse), and thoroughness in calculating power generation and usage (power-flow, power contingencies, specific power). The report represents a general consensus of the nuclear fusion space propulsion system conceptual design community and proposes 15 recommendations. This paper expands on the Report by providing specific examples illustrating how to apply each of the recommendations.

  3. RSMASS-D nuclear thermal propulsion and bimodal system mass models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, Donald B.; Marshall, Albert C.

    1997-01-01

    Two relatively simple models have been developed to estimate reactor, radiation shield, and balance of system masses for a particle bed reactor (PBR) nuclear thermal propulsion concept and a cermet-core power and propulsion (bimodal) concept. The approach was based on the methodology developed for the RSMASS-D models. The RSMASS-D approach for the reactor and shield sub-systems uses a combination of simple equations derived from reactor physics and other fundamental considerations along with tabulations of data from more detailed neutron and gamma transport theory computations. Relatively simple models are used to estimate the masses of other subsystem components of the nuclear propulsion and bimodal systems. Other subsystem components include instrumentation and control (I&C), boom, safety systems, radiator, thermoelectrics, heat pipes, and nozzle. The user of these models can vary basic design parameters within an allowed range to achieve a parameter choice which yields a minimum mass for the operational conditions of interest. Estimated system masses are presented for a range of reactor power levels for propulsion for the PBR propulsion concept and for both electrical power and propulsion for the cermet-core bimodal concept. The estimated reactor system masses agree with mass predictions from detailed calculations with xx percent for both models.

  4. 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.

  5. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology - Summary of FY 1991 Interagency Panel Planning

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.; Mcdaniel, Patrick; Howe, Steven; Stanley, Marland

    1991-01-01

    An Interagency (NASA/DOE/DOD) technical panel has been working in 1991 to evaluate nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) concepts on a consistent basis, and to continue technology development project planning for a joint project in nuclear propulsion for Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). This paper summarizes the efforts of the panel to date and summarizes the technology plans defined for NTP. Concepts were categorized based on probable technology readiness data, and innovative 'proof-of-concept' tests and analyses were defined. While further studies will be required to provide a consistent comparison of all of the NTP concepts, the current status of the studies is presented.

  6. Advanced Propulsion System Studies in High Speed Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zola, Charles L.

    2000-01-01

    Propulsion for acceptable supersonic passenger transport aircraft is primarily impacted by the very high jet noise characteristics of otherwise attractive engines. The mixed flow turbofan, when equipped with a special ejector nozzle seems to be the best candidate engine for this task of combining low jet noise with acceptable flight performance. Design, performance, and operation aspects of mixed flow turbofans are discussed. If the special silencing nozzle is too large, too heavy, or not as effective as expected, alternative concepts in mixed flow engines should be examined. Presented herein is a brief summary of efforts performed under cooperative agreement NCC3-193. Three alternative engine concepts, conceived during this study effort, are herein presented and their limitations and potentials are described. These three concepts intentionally avoid the use of special silencing nozzles and achieve low jet noise by airflow augmentation of the engine cycle.

  7. Solid-State Thermionic Nuclear Power for Megawatt Propulsion, Planetary Surface and Commercial Power Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    George, Jeffrey

    2014-01-01

    Thermionic (TI) power conversion is a promising technology first investigated for power conversion in the 1960's, and of renewed interest due to modern advances in nanotechnology, MEMS, materials and manufacturing. Benefits include high conversion efficiency (20%), static operation with no moving parts and potential for high reliability, greatly reduced plant complexity, and the potential for reduced development costs. Thermionic emission, credited to Edison in 1880, forms the basis of vacuum tubes and much of 20th century electronics. Heat can be converted into electricity when electrons emitted from a hot surface are collected across a small gap. For example, two "small" (6 kWe) Thermionic Space Reactors were flown by the USSR in 1987-88 for ocean radar reconnaissance. Higher powered Nuclear-Thermionic power systems driving Electric Propulsion (Q-thruster, VASIMR, etc.) may offer the breakthrough necessary for human Mars missions of < 1 yr round trip. Power generation on Earth could benefit from simpler, moe economical nuclear plants, and "topping" of more fuel and emission efficient fossil-fuel plants.

  8. 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.

  9. Laboratory Demonstrations for PDE and Metals Combustion at NASA MSFC's Advanced Propulsion Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    Report provides status reporting on activities under order no. H-30549 for the period December 1 through December 31, 1999. Details the activities of the contract in the coordination of planned conduct of experiments at the MSFC Advanced Propulsion Laboratory in pulse detonation MHD power production and metals combustion.

  10. Precious bits: frame synchronization in Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System (AMMOS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilson, E.

    2001-01-01

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System (AMMOS) system processes data received from deep-space spacecraft, where error rates are high, bit rates are low, and every bit is precious. Frame synchronization and data extraction as performed by AMMOS enhanced data acquisition and reliability for maximum data return and validity.

  11. Evaluation of High-Power Solar Electric Propulsion using Advanced Ion, Hall, MPD, and PIT Thrusters for Lunar and Mars Cargo Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisbee, Robert H.

    2006-01-01

    This paper presents the results of mission analyses that expose the advantages and disadvantages of high-power (MWe-class) Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) for Lunar and Mars Cargo missions that would support human exploration of the Moon and Mars. In these analyses, we consider SEP systems using advanced Ion thrusters (the Xenon [Xe] propellant Herakles), Hall thrusters (the Bismuth [Bi] propellant Very High Isp Thruster with Anode Layer [VHITAL], magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters (the Lithium [Li] propellant Advanced Lithium-Fed, Applied-field Lorentz Force Accelerator (ALFA2), and pulsed inductive thruster (PIT) (the Ammonia [NH3] propellant Nuclear-PIT [NuPIT]). The analyses include comparison of the advanced-technology propulsion systems (VHITAL, ALFA2, and NuPIT) relative to state-of-theart Ion (Herakles) propulsion systems and quantify the unique benefits of the various technology options such as high power-per-thruster (and/or high power-per-thruster packaging volume), high specific impulse (Isp), high-efficiency, and tankage mass (e.g., low tankage mass due to the high density of bismuth propellant). This work is based on similar analyses for Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) systems.

  12. Overview of Advanced Space Propulsion Activities in the Space Environmental Effects Team at MSFC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edwards, David; Carruth, Ralph; Vaughn, Jason; Schneider, Todd; Kamenetzky, Rachel; Gray, Perry

    2000-01-01

    Exploration of our solar system, and beyond, requires spacecraft velocities beyond our current technological level. Technologies addressing this limitation are numerous. The Space Environmental Effects (SEE) Team at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is focused on three discipline areas of advanced propulsion; Tethers, Beamed Energy, and Plasma. This presentation will give an overview of advanced propulsion related activities in the Space Environmental Effects Team at MSFC. Advancements in the application of tethers for spacecraft propulsion were made while developing the Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System (ProSEDS). New tether materials were developed to meet the specifications of the ProSEDS mission and new techniques had to be developed to test and characterize these tethers. Plasma contactors were developed, tested and modified to meet new requirements. Follow-on activities in tether propulsion include the Air-SEDS activity. Beamed energy activities initiated with an experimental investigation to quantify the momentum transfer subsequent to high power, 5J, ablative laser interaction with materials. The next step with this experimental investigation is to quantify non-ablative photon momentum transfer. This step was started last year and will be used to characterize the efficiency of solar sail materials before and after exposure to Space Environmental Effects (SEE). Our focus with plasma, for propulsion, concentrates on optimizing energy deposition into a magnetically confined plasma and integration of measurement techniques for determining plasma parameters. Plasma confinement is accomplished with the Marshall Magnetic Mirror (M3) device. Initial energy coupling experiments will consist of injecting a 50 amp electron beam into a target plasma. Measurements of plasma temperature and density will be used to determine the effect of changes in magnetic field structure, beam current, and gas species. Experimental observations will be compared to

  13. Numerical analysis of a nuclear fuel element for nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Ten-See; Schutzenhofer, Luke

    1991-01-01

    A computational fluid dynamics model with porosity and permeability formulations in the transport equations has been developed to study the concept of nuclear thermal propulsion through the analysis of a pulsed irradiation of a particle bed element (PIPE). The numerical model is a time-accurate pressure-based formulation. An adaptive upwind scheme is employed for spatial discretization. The upwind scheme is based on second- and fourth-order central differencing with adaptive artificial dissipation. Multiblocked porosity regions have been formulated to model the cold frit, particle bed, and hot frit. Multiblocked permeability regions have been formulated to describe the flow shaping effect from the thickness-varying cold frit. Computational results for several zero-power density PIPEs and an elevated-particle-temperature PIPE are presented. The implications of the computational results are discussed.

  14. Nuclear design of a vapor core reactor for space nuclear propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dugan, Edward T.; Watanabe, Yoichi; Kuras, Stephen A.; Maya, Isaac; Diaz, Nils J.

    1993-01-01

    Neutronic analysis methodology and results are presented for the nuclear design of a vapor core reactor for space nuclear propulsion. The Nuclear Vapor Thermal Reactor (NVTR) Rocket Engine uses modified NERVA geometry and systems which the solid fuel replaced by uranium tetrafluoride vapor. The NVTR is an intermediate term gas core thermal rocket engine with specific impulse in the range of 1000-1200 seconds; a thrust of 75,000 lbs for a hydrogen flow rate of 30 kg/s; average core exit temperatures of 3100 K to 3400 K; and reactor thermal powers of 1400 to 1800 MW. Initial calculations were performed on epithermal NVTRs using ZrC fuel elements. Studies are now directed at thermal NVTRs that use fuel elements made of C-C composite. The large ZrC-moderated reactors resulted in thrust-to-weight ratios of only 1 to 2; the compact C-C composite systems yield thrust-to-weight ratios of 3 to 5.

  15. 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.

  16. Simulation of an advanced techniques of ion propulsion Rocket system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakkiyaraj, R.

    2016-07-01

    The ion propulsion rocket system is expected to become popular with the development of Deuterium,Argon gas and Hexagonal shape Magneto hydrodynamic(MHD) techniques because of the stimulation indirectly generated the power from ionization chamber,design of thrust range is 1.2 N with 40 KW of electric power and high efficiency.The proposed work is the study of MHD power generation through ionization level of Deuterium gas and combination of two gaseous ions(Deuterium gas ions + Argon gas ions) at acceleration stage.IPR consists of three parts 1.Hexagonal shape MHD based power generator through ionization chamber 2.ion accelerator 3.Exhaust of Nozzle.Initially the required energy around 1312 KJ/mol is carrying out the purpose of deuterium gas which is changed to ionization level.The ionized Deuterium gas comes out from RF ionization chamber to nozzle through MHD generator with enhanced velocity then after voltage is generated across the two pairs of electrode in MHD.it will produce thrust value with the help of mixing of Deuterium ion and Argon ion at acceleration position.The simulation of the IPR system has been carried out by MATLAB.By comparing the simulation results with the theoretical and previous results,if reaches that the proposed method is achieved of thrust value with 40KW power for simulating the IPR system.

  17. Nuclear Propulsion for Space, Understanding the Atom Series.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Corliss, William R.; Schwenk, Francis C.

    The operation of nuclear rockets with respect both to rocket theory and to various fuels is described. The development of nuclear reactors for use in nuclear rocket systems is provided, with the Kiwi and NERVA programs highlighted. The theory of fuel element and reactor construction and operation is explained with particular reference to rocket…

  18. Advanced Power and Propulsion: Insuring Human Survival and Productivity in Deep Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chang-Diaz, Franklin R.

    2001-01-01

    Dr. Chang-Diaz gave an intriguing presentation of his research in advanced rocket propulsion and its relevance for planning and executing crewed deep space explorations. Though not necessarily exclusively Martian, his thrust looks critically at future Mars missions. Initially Dr. Chang-Diaz showed the time constraints of Mars missions due to orbital mechanics and our present chemically powered rocket technology. Since essentially all the energy required to place current generation spacecraft into a Martian trajectory must be expended in the early minutes of a flight, most of such a mission is spent in free-fall drift, captive to the gravitational forces among Earth, the Sun, and Mars. The simple physics of such chemically powered missions requires nearly a year in transit for each direction of a Mars mission. And the optimal orientations of Earth and Mars for rendezvous require further time on or around Mars to await return. These extensions of mission duration place any crew under a three-fold jeopardy: (1) physiological deconditioning (which in some aspects is still unknown and unpreventable), (2) psychological stress, and (3) ionizing radiation. This latter risk is due to exposure of crew members for extended time to the highly unpredictable and potentially lethal radiations of open space. Any gains in shortening mission duration would reap equivalent or greater benefits for these crew concerns. Dr. Chang-Diaz has applied his training and expertise (Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in applied plasma physics) toward development of continuous rocket propulsion which would offer great time advantages in travel, and also more launch options than are now available. He clearly explained the enormous gains from a relatively low thrust accelerative force applied essentially continuously versus the high, but short-lived propulsion of present chemical rockets. In fact, such spacecraft could be powered throughout the mission, accelerating to approximately

  19. Optimize out-of-core thermionic energy conversion for nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, J. F.

    1977-01-01

    Current designs for out of core thermionic energy conversion (TEC) to power nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) were evaluated. Approaches to improve out of core TEC are emphasized and probabilities for success are indicated. TEC gains are available with higher emitter temperatures and greater power densities. Good potentialities for accommodating external high temperature, high power density TEC with heat pipe cooled reactors exist.

  20. 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.

  1. Research Study to Identify Technology Requirements for Advanced Earth-Orbital Transportation Systems, Dual-Mode Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1977-01-01

    The results of a study of dual mode propulsion concepts applied to advanced earth orbital transportation systems using reuseable single stage to orbit vehicle concepts were summarized. Both series burn and parallel burn modes of propulsion were analyzed for vertical takeoff, horizontal landing vehicles based on accelerated technology goals. A major study objective was to assess the merits of dual mode main propulsion concepts compared to single mode concepts for carrying payloads of Space Shuttle type to orbit.

  2. Propulsion technology needs for advanced space transportation systems. [orbit maneuvering engine (space shuttle), space shuttle boosters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gregory, J. W.

    1975-01-01

    Plans are formulated for chemical propulsion technology programs to meet the needs of advanced space transportation systems from 1980 to the year 2000. The many possible vehicle applications are reviewed and cataloged to isolate the common threads of primary propulsion technology that satisfies near term requirements in the first decade and at the same time establish the technology groundwork for various potential far term applications in the second decade. Thrust classes of primary propulsion engines that are apparent include: (1) 5,000 to 30,000 pounds thrust for upper stages and space maneuvering; and (2) large booster engines of over 250,000 pounds thrust. Major classes of propulsion systems and the important subdivisions of each class are identified. The relative importance of each class is discussed in terms of the number of potential applications, the likelihood of that application materializing, and the criticality of the technology needed. Specific technology programs are described and scheduled to fulfill the anticipated primary propulsion technology requirements.

  3. Near Earth Asteroid Human Mission Possibilities Using Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, Stanley; McCurdy, David R.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2012-01-01

    The NTR is a proven technology that generates high thrust and has a specific impulse (Isp (is) approximately 900 s) twice that of today's best chemical rockets. During the Rover and NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications) programs, twenty rocket reactors were designed, built and ground tested. These tests demonstrated: (1) a wide range of thrust; (2) high temperature carbide-based nuclear fuel; (3) sustained engine operation; (4) accumulated lifetime; and (5) restart capability - all the requirements needed for a human mission to Mars. Ceramic metal fuel was also evaluated as a backup option. In NASA's recent Mars Design reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 study, the NTR was selected as the preferred propulsion option because of its proven technology, higher performance, lower launch mass, versatile vehicle design, simple assembly, and growth potential. In contrast to other advanced propulsion options, NTP requires no large technology scale-ups. In fact, the smallest engine tested during the Rover program - the 25 klbf 'Pewee' engine is sufficient for a human Mars mission when used in a clustered engine configuration. The 'Copernicus crewed NTR Mars transfer vehicle design developed for DRA 5.0 has significant capability that can enable reusable '1-year' round trip human missions to candidate near Earth asteroids (NEAs) like 1991 JW in 2027, or 2000 SG344 and Apophis in 2028. A robotic precursor mission to 2000 SG344 in late 2023 could provide an attractive Flight Technology Demonstration of a small NTR engine that is scalable to the 25 klbf-class engine used for human missions 5 years later. In addition to the detailed scientific data gathered from on-site inspection, human NEA missions would also provide a valuable 'check out' function for key elements of the NTR transfer vehicle (its propulsion module, TransHab and life support systems, etc.) in a 'deep space' environment prior to undertaking the longer duration Mars orbital and landing missions that

  4. Direct Estimation of Power Distribution in Reactors for Nuclear Thermal Space Propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aldemir, Tunc; Miller, Don W.; Burghelea, Andrei

    2004-02-01

    A recently proposed constant temperature power sensor (CTPS) has the capability to directly measure the local power deposition rate in nuclear reactor cores proposed for space thermal propulsion. Such a capability reduces the uncertainties in the estimated power peaking factors and hence increases the reliability of the nuclear engine. The CTPS operation is sensitive to the changes in the local thermal conditions. A procedure is described for the automatic on-line calibration of the sensor through estimation of changes in thermal .conditions.

  5. 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.

  6. Nuclear electric propulsion: A better, safer, cheaper transportation system for human exploration of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clark, John S.; George, Jeffrey A.; Gefert, Leon P.; Doherty, Michael P.; Sefcik, Robert J.

    1994-01-01

    NASA has completed a preliminary mission and systems study of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems for 'split-sprint' human exploration and related robotic cargo missions to Mars. This paper describes the study, the mission architecture selected, the NEP system and technology development needs, proposed development schedules, and estimated development costs. Since current administration policy makers have delayed funding for key technology development activities that could make Mars exploration missions a reality in the near future, NASA will have time to evaluate various alternate mission options, and it appears prudent to ensure that Mars mission plans focus on astronaut and mission safety, while reducing costs to acceptable levels. The split-sprint nuclear electric propulsion system offers trip times comparable to nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems, while providing mission abort opportunities that are not possible with 'reference' mission architectures. Thus, NEP systems offer short transit times for the astronauts, reducing the exposure of the crew to intergalactic cosmic radiation. The high specific impulse of the NEP system, which leads to very low propellant requirements, results in significantly lower 'initial mass in low earth orbit' (IMLEO). Launch vehicle packaging studies show that the NEP system can be launched, assembled, and deployed, with about one less 240-metric-ton heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV) per mission opportunity - a very Technology development cost of the nuclear reactor for an NEP system would be shared with the proposed nuclear surface power systems, since nuclear systems will be required to provide substantial electrical power on the surface of Mars. The NEP development project plan proposed includes evolutionary technology development for nuclear electric propulsion systems that expands upon SP-100 (Space Power - 100 kw(e)) technology that has been developed for lunar and Mars surface nuclear power, and small NEP systems

  7. 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.

  8. Nuclear electric propulsion: A better, safer, cheaper transportation system for human exploration of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, John S.; George, Jeffrey A.; Gefert, Leon P.; Doherty, Michael P.; Sefcik, Robert J.

    1994-03-01

    NASA has completed a preliminary mission and systems study of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems for 'split-sprint' human exploration and related robotic cargo missions to Mars. This paper describes the study, the mission architecture selected, the NEP system and technology development needs, proposed development schedules, and estimated development costs. Since current administration policy makers have delayed funding for key technology development activities that could make Mars exploration missions a reality in the near future, NASA will have time to evaluate various alternate mission options, and it appears prudent to ensure that Mars mission plans focus on astronaut and mission safety, while reducing costs to acceptable levels. The split-sprint nuclear electric propulsion system offers trip times comparable to nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems, while providing mission abort opportunities that are not possible with 'reference' mission architectures. Thus, NEP systems offer short transit times for the astronauts, reducing the exposure of the crew to intergalactic cosmic radiation. The high specific impulse of the NEP system, which leads to very low propellant requirements, results in significantly lower 'initial mass in low earth orbit' (IMLEO). Launch vehicle packaging studies show that the NEP system can be launched, assembled, and deployed, with about one less 240-metric-ton heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV) per mission opportunity - a very Technology development cost of the nuclear reactor for an NEP system would be shared with the proposed nuclear surface power systems, since nuclear systems will be required to provide substantial electrical power on the surface of Mars. The NEP development project plan proposed includes evolutionary technology development for nuclear electric propulsion systems that expands upon SP-100 (Space Power - 100 kw(e)) technology that has been developed for lunar and Mars surface nuclear power, and small NEP systems

  9. Direct Estimation of Power Distribution in Reactors for Nuclear Thermal Space Propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Aldemir, Tunc; Miller, Don W.; Burghelea, Andrei

    2004-02-04

    A recently proposed constant temperature power sensor (CTPS) has the capability to directly measure the local power deposition rate in nuclear reactor cores proposed for space thermal propulsion. Such a capability reduces the uncertainties in the estimated power peaking factors and hence increases the reliability of the nuclear engine. The CTPS operation is sensitive to the changes in the local thermal conditions. A procedure is described for the automatic on-line calibration of the sensor through estimation of changes in thermal conditions.

  10. Nuclear electric propulsion: A better, safer, cheaper transportation system for human exploration of Mars

    SciTech Connect

    Clark, J.S.; George, J.A.; Gefert, L.P.; Doherty, M.P.; Sefcik, R.J.

    1994-03-01

    NASA has completed a preliminary mission and systems study of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems for split-sprint' human exploration and related robotic cargo missions to Mars. This paper describes the study, the mission architecture selected, the NEP system and technology development needs, proposed development schedules, and estimated development costs. Since current administration policy makers have delayed funding for key technology development activities that could make Mars exploration missions a reality in the near future, NASA will have time to evaluate various alternate mission options, and it appears prudent to ensure that Mars mission plans focus on astronaut and mission safety, while reducing costs to acceptable levels. The split-sprint nuclear electric propulsion system offers trip times comparable to nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems, while providing mission abort opportunities that are not possible with reference' mission architectures. Thus, NEP systems offer short transit times for the astronauts, reducing the exposure of the crew to intergalactic cosmic radiation. The high specific impulse of the NEP system, which leads to very low propellant requirements, results in significantly lower initial mass in low earth orbit' (IMLEO). Launch vehicle packaging studies show that the NEP system can be launched, assembled, and deployed, with about one less 240-metric-ton heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV) per mission opportunity - a very Technology development cost of the nuclear reactor for an NEP system would be shared with the proposed nuclear surface power systems, since nuclear systems will be required to provide substantial electrical power on the surface of Mars. The NEP development project plan proposed includes evolutionary technology development for nuclear electric propulsion systems that expands upon SP-100 (Space Power - 100 kw(e)) technology that has been developed for lunar and Mars surface nuclear power.

  11. Advanced propulsion engine assessment based on a cermet reactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parsley, Randy C.

    A preferred Pratt & Whitney conceptual Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine (NTRE) has been designed based on the fundamental NASA priorities of safety, reliability, cost, and performance. The basic philosophy underlying the design of the XNR2000 is the utilization of the most reliable form of ultrahigh temperature nuclear fuel and development of a core configuration which is optimized for uniform power distribution, operational flexibility, power maneuverability, weight, and robustness. The P&W NTRE system employs a fast spectrum, cermet fueled reactor configured in an expander cycle to ensure maximum operational safety. The cermet fuel form provides retention of fuel and fission products as well as high strength. A high level of confidence is provided by benchmark analysis and independent evaluations.

  12. Advanced propulsion engine assessment based on a cermet reactor

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parsley, Randy C.

    1993-01-01

    A preferred Pratt & Whitney conceptual Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine (NTRE) has been designed based on the fundamental NASA priorities of safety, reliability, cost, and performance. The basic philosophy underlying the design of the XNR2000 is the utilization of the most reliable form of ultrahigh temperature nuclear fuel and development of a core configuration which is optimized for uniform power distribution, operational flexibility, power maneuverability, weight, and robustness. The P&W NTRE system employs a fast spectrum, cermet fueled reactor configured in an expander cycle to ensure maximum operational safety. The cermet fuel form provides retention of fuel and fission products as well as high strength. A high level of confidence is provided by benchmark analysis and independent evaluations.

  13. Performance and Environmental Assessment of an Advanced Aircraft with Open Rotor Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Guynn, Mark D.; Berton, Jeffrey J.; Haller, William J.; Hendricks, Eric S.; Tong, Michael T.

    2012-01-01

    Application of high speed, advanced turboprops, or "propfans," to transonic transport aircraft received significant attention during the 1970s and 1980s when fuel efficiency was the driving focus of aeronautical research. Unfortunately, after fuel prices declined sharply there was no longer sufficient motivation to continue maturing this technology. Recent volatility in fuel prices and increasing concern for aviation s environmental impact, however, have renewed interest in unducted, open rotor propulsion. Because of the renewed interest in open rotor propulsion, the lack of publicly available up-to-date studies assessing its benefits, and NASA s focus on reducing fuel consumption, a preliminary aircraft system level study on open rotor propulsion was initiated to inform decisions concerning research in this area. New analysis processes were established to assess the characteristics of open rotor aircraft. These processes were then used to assess the performance, noise, and emissions characteristics of an advanced, single-aisle aircraft using open rotor propulsion. The results of this initial study indicate open rotor engines have the potential to provide significant reductions in fuel consumption and landing-takeoff cycle NOX emissions. Noise analysis of the study configuration indicates that an open rotor aircraft in the single-aisle class would be able to meet current noise regulations with margin.

  14. Space vehicle design and operation for efficient use of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stancati, Mike L.; Hodge, John R.; Borowski, Stanley K.

    1993-01-01

    Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) is a high-leverage, and possibly enabling, propulsion choice for sending humans to Mars. Important performance gains are expected for NTP Mars transfer vehicle over their counterparts, the conventional chemical systems. These gains come in spite of vehicle unique requirements for NTP engine development and operations: expected higher development costs, prelaunch and in-space handing safeguards, extra propellant for reactor cool-down after engine burns, and safe, managed disposal of spent NTP engines. Prior studies have also shown that these NTP engines and stages, sized for Mars missions, could increase delivered payloads for some piloted lunar mission as well.

  15. Thermal and Environmental Barrier Coatings for Advanced Propulsion Engine Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhu, Dong-Ming; Miller, Robert A.

    2004-01-01

    Ceramic thermal and environmental barrier coatings (TEBCs) are used in gas turbine engines to protect engine hot-section components in the harsh combustion environments, and extend component lifetimes. For future high performance engines, the development of advanced ceramic barrier coating systems will allow these coatings to be used to simultaneously increase engine operating temperature and reduce cooling requirements, thereby leading to significant improvements in engine power density and efficiency. In order to meet future engine performance and reliability requirements, the coating systems must be designed with increased high temperature stability, lower thermal conductivity, and improved thermal stress and erosion resistance. In this paper, ceramic coating design and testing considerations will be described for high temperature and high-heat-flux engine applications in hot corrosion and oxidation, erosion, and combustion water vapor environments. Further coating performance and life improvements will be expected by utilizing advanced coating architecture design, composition optimization, and improved processing techniques, in conjunction with modeling and design tools.

  16. Propulsion and navigation within the advancing monolayer sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jae Hun; Serra-Picamal, Xavier; Tambe, Dhananjay T.; Zhou, Enhua H.; Park, Chan Young; Sadati, Monirosadat; Park, Jin-Ah; Krishnan, Ramaswamy; Gweon, Bomi; Millet, Emil; Butler, James P.; Trepat, Xavier; Fredberg, Jeffrey J.

    2013-09-01

    As a wound heals, or a body plan forms, or a tumour invades, observed cellular motions within the advancing cell swarm are thought to stem from yet to be observed physical stresses that act in some direct and causal mechanical fashion. Here we show that such a relationship between motion and stress is far from direct. Using monolayer stress microscopy, we probed migration velocities, cellular tractions and intercellular stresses in an epithelial cell sheet advancing towards an island on which cells cannot adhere. We found that cells located near the island exert tractions that pull systematically towards this island regardless of whether the cells approach the island, migrate tangentially along its edge, or paradoxically, recede from it. This unanticipated cell-patterning motif, which we call kenotaxis, represents the robust and systematic mechanical drive of the cellular collective to fill unfilled space.

  17. Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion: Materials Challenges for the 21st Century

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houts, Mike

    2008-01-01

    The current focus of NASA s space fission effort is Fission Surface Power (FSP). FSP systems could be used to provide power anytime, anywhere on the surface of the Moon or Mars. FSP systems could be used at locations away from the lunar poles or in permanently shaded regions, with no performance penalty. A potential reference 40 kWe option has been devised that is cost-competitive with alternatives while providing more power for less mass. The potential reference system is readily extensible for use on Mars. At Mars the system could be capable of operating through global dust storms and providing year-round power at any Martian latitude. To ensure affordability, the potential near-term, 40 kWe reference concept is designed to use only well established materials and fuels. However, if various materials challenges could be overcome, extremely high performance fission systems could be devised. These include high power, low mass fission surface power systems; in-space systems with high specific power; and high performance nuclear thermal propulsion systems. This tutorial will provide a brief overview of space fission systems and will focus on materials challenges that, if overcome, could help enable advanced exploration and utilization of the solar system.

  18. 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.

  19. Advanced nuclear plant control complex

    DOEpatents

    Scarola, Kenneth; Jamison, David S.; Manazir, Richard M.; Rescorl, Robert L.; Harmon, Daryl L.

    1993-01-01

    An advanced control room complex for a nuclear power plant, including a discrete indicator and alarm system (72) which is nuclear qualified for rapid response to changes in plant parameters and a component control system (64) which together provide a discrete monitoring and control capability at a panel (14-22, 26, 28) in the control room (10). A separate data processing system (70), which need not be nuclear qualified, provides integrated and overview information to the control room and to each panel, through CRTs (84) and a large, overhead integrated process status overview board (24). The discrete indicator and alarm system (72) and the data processing system (70) receive inputs from common plant sensors and validate the sensor outputs to arrive at a representative value of the parameter for use by the operator during both normal and accident conditions, thereby avoiding the need for him to assimilate data from each sensor individually. The integrated process status board (24) is at the apex of an information hierarchy that extends through four levels and provides access at each panel to the full display hierarchy. The control room panels are preferably of a modular construction, permitting the definition of inputs and outputs, the man machine interface, and the plant specific algorithms, to proceed in parallel with the fabrication of the panels, the installation of the equipment and the generic testing thereof.

  20. Thermal and Environmental Barrier Coating Development for Advanced Propulsion Engine Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhu, Dongming; Miller, Robert A.; Fox, Dennis S.

    2008-01-01

    Ceramic thermal and environmental barrier coatings (TEBCs) are used in gas turbine engines to protect engine hot-section components in the harsh combustion environments, and extend component lifetimes. Advanced TEBCs that have significantly lower thermal conductivity, better thermal stability and higher toughness than current coatings will be beneficial for future low emission and high performance propulsion engine systems. In this paper, ceramic coating design and testing considerations will be described for turbine engine high temperature and high-heat-flux applications. Thermal barrier coatings for metallic turbine airfoils and thermal/environmental barrier coatings for SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components for future supersonic aircraft propulsion engines will be emphasized. Further coating capability and durability improvements for the engine hot-section component applications can be expected by utilizing advanced modeling and design tools.

  1. Development of Sensors for Ceramic Components in Advanced Propulsion Systems. Phase 2; Temperature Sensor Systems Evaluation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Atkinson, W. H.; Cyr, M. A.; Strange, R. R.

    1994-01-01

    The 'development of sensors for ceramic components in advanced propulsion systems' program is divided into two phases. The objectives of Phase 1 were to analyze, evaluate and recommend sensor concepts for the measurement of surface temperature, strain and heat flux on ceramic components for advanced propulsion systems. The results of this effort were previously published in NASA CR-182111. As a result of Phase 1, three approaches were recommended for further development: pyrometry, thin-film sensors, and thermographic phosphors. The objective of Phase 2 were to fabricate and conduct laboratory demonstration tests of these systems. Six materials, mutually agreed upon by NASA and Pratt & Whitney, were investigated under this program. This report summarizes the Phase 2 effort and provides conclusions and recommendations for each of the categories evaluated.

  2. Advanced Transportation System Studies. Technical Area 3: Alternate Propulsion Subsystems Concepts. Volume 3; Program Cost Estimates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levack, Daniel J. H.

    2000-01-01

    The objective of this contract was to provide definition of alternate propulsion systems for both earth-to-orbit (ETO) and in-space vehicles (upper stages and space transfer vehicles). For such propulsion systems, technical data to describe performance, weight, dimensions, etc. was provided along with programmatic information such as cost, schedule, needed facilities, etc. Advanced technology and advanced development needs were determined and provided. This volume separately presents the various program cost estimates that were generated under three tasks: the F- IA Restart Task, the J-2S Restart Task, and the SSME Upper Stage Use Task. The conclusions, technical results , and the program cost estimates are described in more detail in Volume I - Executive Summary and in individual Final Task Reports.

  3. Kuiper Belt Object Orbiter Using Advanced Radioisotope Power Sources and Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven R.; McGuire, Melissa L.; Dankanich, John; Colozza, Anthony; Schmitz, Paul; Khan, Omair; Drexler, Jon; Fittje, James

    2011-01-01

    A joint NASA GRC/JPL design study was performed for the NASA Radioisotope Power Systems Office to explore the use of radioisotope electric propulsion for flagship class missions. The Kuiper Belt Object Orbiter is a flagship class mission concept projected for launch in the 2030 timeframe. Due to the large size of a flagship class science mission larger radioisotope power system building blocks were conceptualized to provide the roughly 4 kW of power needed by the NEXT ion propulsion system and the spacecraft. Using REP the spacecraft is able to rendezvous with and orbit a Kuiper Belt object in 16 years using either eleven (no spare) 420 W advanced RTGs or nine (with a spare) 550 W advanced Stirling Radioisotope systems. The design study evaluated integrating either system and estimated impacts on cost as well as required General Purpose Heat Source requirements.

  4. Advanced transportation system studies technical area 3: Alternate propulsion subsystem concepts, volume 3

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levak, Daniel

    1993-01-01

    The objective of this contract was to provide definition of alternate propulsion systems for both earth-to-orbit (ETO) and in-space vehicles (upper stages and space transfer vehicles). For such propulsion systems, technical data to describe performance, weight, dimensions, etc. was provided along with programmatic information such as cost, schedule, needed facilities, etc. Advanced technology and advanced development needs were determined and provided. This volume separately presents the various program cost estimates that were generated under three tasks: the F-1A Restart Task, the J-2S Restart Task, and the SSME Upper Stage Use Task. The conclusions, technical results, and the program cost estimates are described in more detail in Volume 1 - Executive Summary and in individual Final Task Reports.

  5. Design and Development of the MITEE-B Bi-Modal Nuclear Propulsion Engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paniagua, John C.; Powell, James R.; Maise, George

    2003-01-01

    Previous studies of compact, ultra-lightweight high performance nuclear thermal propulsion engines have concentrated on systems that only deliver high thrust. However, many potential missions also require substantial amounts of electric power. Studies of a new, very compact and lightweight bi-modal nuclear engine that provides both high propulsive thrust and high electric power for planetary science missions are described. The design is a modification of the MITEE nuclear thermal engine concept that provided only high propulsive thrust. In the new design, MITEE-B, separate closed cooling circuits are incorporated into the reactor, which transfers useful amounts of thermal energy to a small power conversion system that generates continuous electric power over the full life of the mission, even when the engine is not delivering propulsive thrust. Two versions of the MITEE-B design are described and analyzed. Version 1 generates 1 kW(e) of continuous power for control of the spacecraft, sensors, data transmission, etc. This power level eliminates the need for RTG's on missions to the outer planets, and allowing considerably greater operational capability for the spacecraft. This, plus its high thrust and high specific impulse propulsive capabilities, makes MITEE-B very attractive for such missions. In Version 2, of MITEE-B, a total of 20 kW(e) is generated, enabling the use of electric propulsion. The combination of high open cycle propulsion thrust (20,000 Newtons) with a specific impulse of ~1000 seconds for short impulse burns, and long term (months to years), electric propulsion greatly increases MITEE's ΔV capability. Version 2 of MITEE-B also enables the production and replenishment of H2 propellant using in-situ resources, such as electrolysis of water from the ice sheet on Europa and other Jovian moons. This capability would greatly increase the ΔV available for certain planetary science missions. The modifications to the MITEE multiple pressure tube

  6. Nuclear power sources in outer space. [spacecraft propulsion legal aspects

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hosenball, S. N.

    1978-01-01

    Legal problems associated with nuclear power sources in space are discussed with particular reference to the Cosmos 954 incident. Deliberations of the Legal and Scientific and Technical Subcommittees on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space on this subject are discussed.

  7. Advanced Transportation System Studies. Technical Area 3: Alternate Propulsion Subsystem Concepts. Volume 1; Executive Summary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levack, Daniel J. H.

    2000-01-01

    The Alternate Propulsion Subsystem Concepts contract had seven tasks defined that are reported under this contract deliverable. The tasks were: FAA Restart Study, J-2S Restart Study, Propulsion Database Development. SSME Upper Stage Use. CERs for Liquid Propellant Rocket Engines. Advanced Low Cost Engines, and Tripropellant Comparison Study. The two restart studies, F-1A and J-2S, generated program plans for restarting production of each engine. Special emphasis was placed on determining changes to individual parts due to obsolete materials, changes in OSHA and environmental concerns, new processes available, and any configuration changes to the engines. The Propulsion Database Development task developed a database structure and format which is easy to use and modify while also being comprehensive in the level of detail available. The database structure included extensive engine information and allows for parametric data generation for conceptual engine concepts. The SSME Upper Stage Use task examined the changes needed or desirable to use the SSME as an upper stage engine both in a second stage and in a translunar injection stage. The CERs for Liquid Engines task developed qualitative parametric cost estimating relationships at the engine and major subassembly level for estimating development and production costs of chemical propulsion liquid rocket engines. The Advanced Low Cost Engines task examined propulsion systems for SSTO applications including engine concept definition, mission analysis. trade studies. operating point selection, turbomachinery alternatives, life cycle cost, weight definition. and point design conceptual drawings and component design. The task concentrated on bipropellant engines, but also examined tripropellant engines. The Tripropellant Comparison Study task provided an unambiguous comparison among various tripropellant implementation approaches and cycle choices, and then compared them to similarly designed bipropellant engines in the

  8. Pluto/Kuiper Missions with Advanced Electric Propulsion and Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, S. R.; Patterson, M. J.; Schrieber, J.; Gefert, L. P.

    2001-01-01

    In response to a request by NASA Code SD Deep Space Exploration Technology Program, NASA Glenn Research center performed a study to identify advanced technology options to perform a Pluto/Kuiper mission without depending on a 2004 Jupiter Gravity Assist, but still arriving before 2020. A concept using a direct trajectory with small, sub-kilowatt ion thrusters and Stirling radioisotope power system was shown to allow the same or smaller launch vehicle class (EELV) as the chemical 2004 baseline and allow launch in any year and arrival in the 2014 to 2020 timeframe. With the nearly constant power available from the radioisotope power source such small ion propelled spacecraft could explore many of the outer planetary targets. Such studies are already underway. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  9. Outer Planet Exploration with Advanced Radioisotope Electric Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oleson, Steven; Gefert, Leon; Patterson, Michael; Schreiber, Jeffrey; Benson, Scott; McAdams, Jim; Ostdiek, Paul

    2002-01-01

    In response to a request by the NASA Deep Space Exploration Technology Program, NASA Glenn Research Center conducted a study to identify advanced technology options to perform a Pluto/Kuiper mission without depending on a 2004 Jupiter Gravity Assist, but still arriving before 2020. A concept using a direct trajectory with small, sub-kilowatt ion thrusters and Stirling radioisotope power systems was shown to allow the same or smaller launch vehicle class as the chemical 2004 baseline and allow a launch slip and still flyby in the 2014 to 2020 timeframe. With this promising result the study was expanded to use a radioisotope power source for small electrically propelled orbiter spacecraft for outer planet targets such as Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

  10. Nuclear Propulsion through Direct Conversion of Fusion Energy: The Fusion Driven Rocket

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slough, John; Pancotti, Anthony; Kirtley, David; Pihl, Christopher; Pfaff, Michael

    2012-01-01

    The future of manned space exploration and development of space depends critically on the creation of a dramatically more proficient propulsion architecture for in-space transportation. A very persuasive reason for investigating the applicability of nuclear power in rockets is the vast energy density gain of nuclear fuel when compared to chemical combustion energy. Current nuclear fusion efforts have focused on the generation of electric grid power and are wholly inappropriate for space transportation as the application of a reactor based fusion-electric system creates a colossal mass and heat rejection problem for space application.

  11. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) Development Activities at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center - 2006 Accomplishments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ballard, Richard O.

    2007-01-01

    In 2005-06, the Prometheus program funded a number of tasks at the NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to support development of a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) system for future manned exploration missions. These tasks include the following: 1. NTP Design Develop Test & Evaluate (DDT&E) Planning 2. NTP Mission & Systems Analysis / Stage Concepts & Engine Requirements 3. NTP Engine System Trade Space Analysis and Studies 4. NTP Engine Ground Test Facility Assessment 5. Non-Nuclear Environmental Simulator (NTREES) 6. Non-Nuclear Materials Fabrication & Evaluation 7. Multi-Physics TCA Modeling. This presentation is a overview of these tasks and their accomplishments

  12. Advanced Propulsion Systems Study for General Aviation Aircraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mount, R.

    2003-01-01

    This study defines a family of advanced technology Stratified Charge Rotary Engines (SCRE) appropriate for the enablement of the development of a new generation of general aviation aircraft. High commonality, affordability, and environmental compatibility are considerations influencing the family composition and ratings. The SCRE family is comprised of three engines in the 70 Series (40 cu in. displacement per rotor), i.e. one, two, and four rotor and two engines in the 170 Series (105 cu in. displacement per rotor), i.e., two and four rotor. The two rotor engines are considered the primary engines in each series. A wide power range is considered covering 125 to 2500 HP through growth and compounding/dual pac considerations. Mission requirements, TBO, FAA Certification, engine development cycles, and costs are examined. Comparisons to current and projected reciprocating and turbine engine configurations in the 125 to 1000 HP class are provided. Market impact, estimated sales, and U.S. job creation (R&D, manufacturing and infractures) are examined.

  13. Nuclear Electric Propulsion: A ``Better, Safer, Cheaper'' Transportation System for Human Exploration of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, John S.; George, Jeffrey A.; Gefert, Leon P.; Doherty, Michael P.; Sefcik, Robert J.

    1994-07-01

    NASA has completed a preliminary mission and systems study of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems for ``split-sprint'' human exploration and related robotic cargo missions to Mars. This paper describes the study, the mission architecture selected, the NEP system and technology development needs, proposed development schedules, and estimated development costs. Since current administration policy makers have delayed funding for key technology development activities that could make Mars exploration missions a reality in the near future, NASA will have time to evaluate various alternate mission options, and it appears prudent to ensure that Mars mission plans focus on astronaut and mission safety, while reducing costs to acceptable levels. The split-sprint nuclear electric propulsion system offers trip times comparable to nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems, while providing mission abort opportunities that are not possible with ``reference'' mission architectures. Thus, NEP systems offer short transit times for the astronauts, reducing the exposure of the crew to intergalactic cosmic radiation. The high specific impulse of the NEP system, which leads to very low propellant requirements, results in significantly lower ``initial mass in low earth orbit'' (IMLEO). Launch vehicle packaging studies show that the NEP system can be launched, assembled, and deployed, with about one less 240-metric-ton heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV) per mission opportunity - a very large cost savings! Technology development cost of the nuclear reactor for an NEP system would be shared with the proposed nuclear surface power systems, since nuclear systems will be required to provide substantial electrical power on the surface of Mars. The NEP development project plan proposed includes evolutionary technology development for nuclear electric propulsion systems that expands upon SP-100 (Space Power - 100 kw) technology that has been developed for lunar and Mars surface nuclear power

  14. 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.

  15. Optimize out-of-core thermionic energy conversion for nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, J. F.

    1978-01-01

    Thermionic energy conversion (TEC) potentialities for nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) are examined. Considering current designs, their limitations, and risks raises critical questions about the use of TEC for NEP. Apparently a reactor cooled by hotter-than-1675 K heat pipes has good potentialities. TEC with higher temperatures and greater power densities than the currently proposed 1650 K, 5-to-6 W/sq cm version offers substantial gains. Other approaches to high-temperature electric isolation appear also promising. A high-power-density, high-temperature TEC for NEP appears, therefore, attainable. It is recommended to optimize out-of-core thermionic energy conversion for nuclear electric propulsion. Although current TEC designs for NEP seem unnecessary compared with Brayton versions, large gains are apparently possible with increased temperatures and greater power densities.

  16. Two-dimensional thermal-hydraulics analyses of the Pellet Bed Reactor for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    1993-01-01

    Thermal-hydraulics design and analyses of the Pellet Bed Reactor for nuclear thermal propulsion are performed using the nuclear propulsion thermal-hydraulic analysis model to determine the 2D steady-state temperature, pressure, and flow fields in the core and optimize the orificing in the hot-frit to avoid hot spots in the core at full power operation. Results show that by properly adjusting the axial porosity profile in the hot frit, hot spots in the core can be essentially eliminated during full power operation. This important accomplishment is achieved at the expense of slightly larger pressure losses in the core because of flow restriction at the hot frit. However, the overall pressure losses is only about 11 percent of the propellant inlet pressure.

  17. Revised Point of Departure Design Options for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fittje, James E.; Borowski, Stanley K.; Schnitzler, Bruce

    2015-01-01

    In an effort to further refine potential point of departure nuclear thermal rocket engine designs, four proposed engine designs representing two thrust classes and utilizing two different fuel matrix types are designed and analyzed from both a neutronics and thermodynamic cycle perspective. Two of these nuclear rocket engine designs employ a tungsten and uranium dioxide cermet (ceramic-metal) fuel with a prismatic geometry based on the ANL-200 and the GE-710, while the other two designs utilize uranium-zirconium-carbide in a graphite composite fuel and a prismatic fuel element geometry developed during the Rover/NERVA Programs. Two engines are analyzed for each fuel type, a small criticality limited design and a 111 kN (25 klbf) thrust class engine design, which has been the focus of numerous manned mission studies, including NASA's Design Reference Architecture 5.0. slightly higher T/W ratios, but they required substantially more 235U.

  18. Initial Assessment of Open Rotor Propulsion Applied to an Advanced Single-Aisle Aircraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Guynn, Mark D.; Berton, Jeffrey J.; Hendricks, Eric S.; Tong, Michael T.; Haller, William J.; Thurman, Douglas R.

    2011-01-01

    Application of high speed, advanced turboprops, or propfans, to subsonic transport aircraft received significant attention and research in the 1970s and 1980s when fuel efficiency was the driving focus of aeronautical research. Recent volatility in fuel prices and concern for aviation s environmental impact have renewed interest in unducted, open rotor propulsion, and revived research by NASA and a number of engine manufacturers. Unfortunately, in the two decades that have passed since open rotor concepts were thoroughly investigated, NASA has lost experience and expertise in this technology area. This paper describes initial efforts to re-establish NASA s capability to assess aircraft designs with open rotor propulsion. Specifically, methodologies for aircraft-level sizing, performance analysis, and system-level noise analysis are described. Propulsion modeling techniques have been described in a previous paper. Initial results from application of these methods to an advanced single-aisle aircraft using open rotor engines based on historical blade designs are presented. These results indicate open rotor engines have the potential to provide large reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Initial noise analysis indicates that current noise regulations can be met with old blade designs and modern, noiseoptimized blade designs are expected to result in even lower noise levels. Although an initial capability has been established and initial results obtained, additional development work is necessary to make NASA s open rotor system analysis capability on par with existing turbofan analysis capabilities.

  19. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion engine based on Particle Bed Reactor using light water steam as a propellant

    SciTech Connect

    Powell, J.R.; Ludewig, H.; Maise, G.

    1993-06-01

    In this paper the possibility of configuring a water cooled Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) rocket, based on a Particle Bed Reactor (PBR) is investigated. This rocket will be used to operate on water obtained from near earth objects. The conclusions reached in this paper indicate that it is possible to configure a PBR based NTP rocket to operate on water and meet the mission requirements envisioned for it. No insurmountable technology issues have been identified.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Multiphysics Modeling of a Single Channel in a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Grooved Ring Fuel Element

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Tony; Emrich, William J., Jr.; Barkett, Laura A.; Mathias, Adam D.; Cassibry, Jason T.

    2013-01-01

    In the past, fuel rods have been used in nuclear propulsion applications. A new fuel element concept that reduces weight and increases efficiency uses a stack of grooved discs. Each fuel element is a flat disc with a hole on the interior and grooves across the top. Many grooved ring fuel elements for use in nuclear thermal propulsion systems have been modeled, and a single flow channel for each design has been analyzed. For increased efficiency, a fuel element with a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio is ideal. When grooves are shallower, i.e., they have a lower surface area, the results show that the exit temperature is higher. By coupling the physics of turbulence with those of heat transfer, the effects on the cooler gas flowing through the grooves of the thermally excited solid can be predicted. Parametric studies were done to show how a pressure drop across the axial length of the channels will affect the exit temperatures of the gas. Geometric optimization was done to show the behaviors that result from the manipulation of various parameters. Temperature profiles of the solid and gas showed that more structural optimization is needed to produce the desired results. Keywords: Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, Fuel Element, Heat Transfer, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Coupled Physics Computations, Finite Element Analysis

  3. Multiphysics Thrust Chamber Modeling for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Ten-See; Cheng, Gary; Chen, Yen-Sen

    2006-01-01

    The objective of this effort is to develop an efficient and accurate thermo-fluid computational methodology to predict environments for a solid-core, nuclear thermal engine thrust chamber. The computational methodology is based on an unstructured-grid, pressure-based computational fluid dynamics formulation. A two-pronged approach is employed in this effort: A detailed thermo-fluid analysis on a multi-channel flow element for mid-section corrosion investigation; and a global modeling of the thrust chamber to understand the effect of heat transfer on thrust performance. Preliminary results on both aspects are presented.

  4. A review of nuclear thermal propulsion carbide fuel corrosion and key issues

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pelaccio, Dennis G.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    1994-01-01

    Corrosion (mass loss) of carbide nuclear fuels due to their exposure to hot hydrogen in nuclear thermal propulsion engine systems greatly impacts the performance, thrust-to-weight and life of such systems. This report provides an overview of key issues and processes associated with the corrosion of carbide materials. Additionally, past pertinent development reactor test observations, as well as related experimental work and analysis modeling efforts are reviewed. At the conclusion, recommendations are presented, which provide the foundation for future corrosion modeling and verification efforts.

  5. Finite-thrust optimization of interplanetary transfers of space vehicle with bimodal nuclear thermal propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kharytonov, Oleksii M.; Kiforenko, Boris M.

    2011-08-01

    The nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) propulsion is one of the leading promising technologies for primary space propulsion for manned exploration of the solar system due to its high specific impulse capability and sufficiently high thrust-to-weight ratio. Another benefit of NTR is its possible bimodal design, when nuclear reactor is used for generation of a jet thrust in a high-thrust mode and (with an appropriate power conversion system) as a source of electric power to supply the payload and the electric engines in a low-thrust mode. The model of the NTR thrust control was developed considering high-thrust NTR as a propulsion system of limited power and exhaust velocity. For the proposed model the control of the thrust value is accomplished by the regulation of reactor thermal power and propellant mass flow rate. The problem of joint optimization of the combination of high- and low-thrust arcs and the parameters of bimodal NTR (BNTR) propulsion system is considered for the interplanetary transfers. The interplanetary trajectory of the space vehicle is formed by the high-thrust NTR burns, which define planet-centric maneuvers and by the low-thrust heliocentric arcs where the nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) is used. The high-thrust arcs are analyzed using finite-thrust approach. The motion of the corresponding dynamical system is realized in three phase spaces concerning the departure planet-centric maneuver by means of high-thrust NTR propulsion, the low-thrust NEP heliocentric maneuver and the approach high-thrust NTR planet-centric maneuver. The phase coordinates are related at the time instants of the change of the phase spaces due to the relations between the space vehicle masses. The optimal control analysis is performed using Pontryagin's maximum principle. The numerical results are analyzed for Earth-Mars "sprint" transfer. The optimal values of the parameters that define the masses of NTR and NEP subsystems have been evaluated. It is shown that the low

  6. 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.

  7. The rationale/benefits of nuclear thermal rocket propulsion for NASA's lunar space transportation system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.

    1994-09-01

    The solid core nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) represents the next major evolutionary step in propulsion technology. With its attractive operating characteristics, which include high specific impulse (approximately 850-1000 s) and engine thrust-to-weight (approximately 4-20), the NTR can form the basis for an efficient lunar space transportation system (LTS) capable of supporting both piloted and cargo missions. Studies conducted at the NASA Lewis Research Center indicate that an NTR-based LTS could transport a fully-fueled, cargo-laden, lunar excursion vehicle to the Moon, and return it to low Earth orbit (LEO) after mission completion, for less initial mass in LEO than an aerobraked chemical system of the type studied by NASA during its '90-Day Study.' The all-propulsive NTR-powered LTS would also be 'fully reusable' and would have a 'return payload' mass fraction of approximately 23 percent--twice that of the 'partially reusable' aerobraked chemical system. Two NTR technology options are examined--one derived from the graphite-moderated reactor concept developed by NASA and the AEC under the Rover/NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) programs, and a second concept, the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR). The paper also summarizes NASA's lunar outpost scenario, compares relative performance provided by different LTS concepts, and discusses important operational issues (e.g., reusability, engine 'end-of life' disposal, etc.) associated with using this important propulsion technology.

  8. The Rationale/Benefits of Nuclear Thermal Rocket Propulsion for NASA's Lunar Space Transportation System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.

    1994-01-01

    The solid core nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) represents the next major evolutionary step in propulsion technology. With its attractive operating characteristics, which include high specific impulse (approximately 850-1000 s) and engine thrust-to-weight (approximately 4-20), the NTR can form the basis for an efficient lunar space transportation system (LTS) capable of supporting both piloted and cargo missions. Studies conducted at the NASA Lewis Research Center indicate that an NTR-based LTS could transport a fully-fueled, cargo-laden, lunar excursion vehicle to the Moon, and return it to low Earth orbit (LEO) after mission completion, for less initial mass in LEO than an aerobraked chemical system of the type studied by NASA during its '90-Day Study.' The all-propulsive NTR-powered LTS would also be 'fully reusable' and would have a 'return payload' mass fraction of approximately 23 percent--twice that of the 'partially reusable' aerobraked chemical system. Two NTR technology options are examined--one derived from the graphite-moderated reactor concept developed by NASA and the AEC under the Rover/NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) programs, and a second concept, the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR). The paper also summarizes NASA's lunar outpost scenario, compares relative performance provided by different LTS concepts, and discusses important operational issues (e.g., reusability, engine 'end-of life' disposal, etc.) associated with using this important propulsion technology.

  9. Dual-Fuel Propulsion in Single-Stage Advanced Manned Launch System Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lepsch, Roger A., Jr.; Stanley, Douglas O.; Unal, Resit

    1995-01-01

    As part of the United States Advanced Manned Launch System study to determine a follow-on, or complement, to the Space Shuttle, a reusable single-stage-to-orbit concept utilizing dual-fuel rocket propulsion has been examined. Several dual-fuel propulsion concepts were investigated. These include: a separate-engine concept combining Russian RD-170 kerosene-fueled engines with space shuttle main engine-derivative engines: the kerosene- and hydrogen-fueled Russian RD-701 engine; and a dual-fuel, dual-expander engine. Analysis to determine vehicle weight and size characteristics was performed using conceptual-level design techniques. A response-surface methodology for multidisciplinary design was utilized to optimize the dual-fuel vehicles with respect to several important propulsion-system and vehicle design parameters, in order to achieve minimum empty weight. The tools and methods employed in the analysis process are also summarized. In comparison with a reference hydrogen- fueled single-stage vehicle, results showed that the dual-fuel vehicles were from 10 to 30% lower in empty weight for the same payload capability, with the dual-expander engine types showing the greatest potential.

  10. Three-dimensional modeling of an ideal nozzle for advanced propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schillo, Kevin

    Advanced propulsion systems such as pulsed fission and fusion rockets hold the potential for opening up the solar system in ways few other propulsion technologies can. The University of Alabama in Huntsville is exploring one such concept in the form of pulsed z-pinch fusion propulsion. One of the technical hurdles to utilizing any pulsed fusion concept is the conversion from an isotropic expansion of a plasma into directed motion to produce thrust. This thesis investigates three dimensional modeling of pulsed nozzle performance in which the initial gas is a cylindrical gas column, emulating the initial conditions found in pulsed plasma discharges common in fusion experiments. Two nozzle geometries were investigated, a pusher plate and a hemispherical nozzle. Simulations of these systems were conducted using SPFMax, a recently developed smoothed particle hydrodynamics code (SPH). The SPH method was chosen because it is naturally adaptive and accurate for resolving the vacuum/gas boundary which always exists in pulsed fusion systems. Argon plasma was used to compare the two systems to determine which offers better performance. The plasma was also subjected to a wide variety of shapes and initial conditions to determine what would offer higher performance for the two systems.

  11. A Crewed Mission to Apophis Using a Hybrid Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Electric Propulsion (BNTEP) System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mccurdy, David R.; Borowski, Stanley K.; Burke, Laura M.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2014-01-01

    A BNTEP system is a dual propellant, hybrid propulsion concept that utilizes Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket (BNTR) propulsion during high thrust operations, providing 10's of kilo-Newtons of thrust per engine at a high specific impulse (Isp) of 900 s, and an Electric Propulsion (EP) system during low thrust operations at even higher Isp of around 3000 s. Electrical power for the EP system is provided by the BNTR engines in combination with a Brayton Power Conversion (BPC) closed loop system, which can provide electrical power on the order of 100's of kWe. High thrust BNTR operation uses liquid hydrogen (LH2) as reactor coolant propellant expelled out a nozzle, while low thrust EP uses high pressure xenon expelled by an electric grid. By utilizing an optimized combination of low and high thrust propulsion, significant mass savings over a conventional NTR vehicle can be realized. Low thrust mission events, such as midcourse corrections (MCC), tank settling burns, some reaction control system (RCS) burns, and even a small portion at the end of the departure burn can be performed with EP. Crewed and robotic deep space missions to a near Earth asteroid (NEA) are best suited for this hybrid propulsion approach. For these mission scenarios, the Earth return V is typically small enough that EP alone is sufficient. A crewed mission to the NEA Apophis in the year 2028 with an expendable BNTEP transfer vehicle is presented. Assembly operations, launch element masses, and other key characteristics of the vehicle are described. A comparison with a conventional NTR vehicle performing the same mission is also provided. Finally, reusability of the BNTEP transfer vehicle is explored.

  12. Current Ground Test Options for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerrish, Harold P., Jr.

    2014-01-01

    About 20 different NTP engines/ reactors were tested from 1959 to 1972 as part of the Rover and Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) program. Most were tested in open air at test cell A or test cell C, at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). Even after serious engine breakdowns of the reactor (e.g., Phoebus 1A), the test cells were cleaned up for other engine tests. The engine test stand (ETS) was made for high altitude (approximately 1 psia) testing of an NTP engine with a flight configuration, but still had the exhaust released to open air. The Rover/NERVA program became aware of new environmental regulations which would prohibit the release of any significant quantity of radioactive particulates and noble gases into the open air. The nuclear furnace (NF-1) was the last reactor tested before the program was cancelled in 1973, but successfully demonstrated a scrubber concept on how to filter the NTP exhaust. The NF-1 was demonstrated in the summer of 1972. The NF-1 used a 44MW reactor and operated each run for approximately 90 minutes. The system cooled the hot hydrogen exhaust from the engine with a water spray before entering a particle filter. The exhaust then passed through a series of heat exchangers and water separators to help remove water from the exhaust and further reduce the exhaust temperatures. The exhaust was next prepared for the charcoal trap by passing through a dryer and effluent cooler to bring exhaust temperatures close to liquid nitrogen. At those low temperatures, most of the noble gases (e.g., Xe and Kr made from fission products) get captured in the charcoal trap. The filtered hydrogen is finally passed through a flare stack and released to the air. The concept was overall successful but did show a La plating on some surfaces and had multiple recommendations for improvement. The most recent detailed study on the NTP scrubber concept was performed by the ARES Corporation in 2006. The concept is based on a 50,000 lbf thrust engine

  13. Electro-optic architecture for servicing sensors and actuators in advanced aircraft propulsion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Poppel, G. L.; Glasheen, W. M.

    1989-01-01

    A detailed design of a fiber optic propulsion control system, integrating favored sensors and electro-optics architecture is presented. Layouts, schematics, and sensor lists describe an advanced fighter engine system model. Components and attributes of candidate fiber optic sensors are identified, and evaluation criteria are used in a trade study resulting in favored sensors for each measurand. System architectural ground rules were applied to accomplish an electro-optics architecture for the favored sensors. A key result was a considerable reduction in signal conductors. Drawings, schematics, specifications, and printed circuit board layouts describe the detailed system design, including application of a planar optical waveguide interface.

  14. Investigation of advanced propulsion technologies: The RAM accelerator and the flowing gas radiation heater

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bruckner, A. P.; Knowlen, C.; Mattick, A. T.; Hertzberg, A.

    1992-01-01

    The two principal areas of advanced propulsion investigated are the ram accelerator and the flowing gas radiation heater. The concept of the ram accelerator is presented as a hypervelocity launcher for large-scale aeroballistic range applications in hypersonics and aerothermodynamics research. The ram accelerator is an in-bore ramjet device in which a projectile shaped like the centerbody of a supersonic ramjet is propelled in a stationary tube filled with a tailored combustible gas mixture. Combustion on and behind the projectile generates thrust which accelerates it to very high velocities. The acceleration can be tailored for the 'soft launch' of instrumented models. The distinctive reacting flow phenomena that have been observed in the ram accelerator are relevant to the aerothermodynamic processes in airbreathing hypersonic propulsion systems and are useful for validating sophisticated CFD codes. The recently demonstrated scalability of the device and the ability to control the rate of acceleration offer unique opportunities for the use of the ram accelerator as a large-scale hypersonic ground test facility. The flowing gas radiation receiver is a novel concept for using solar energy to heat a working fluid for space power or propulsion. Focused solar radiation is absorbed directly in a working gas, rather than by heat transfer through a solid surface. Previous theoretical analysis had demonstrated that radiation trapping reduces energy loss compared to that of blackbody receivers, and enables higher efficiencies and higher peak temperatures. An experiment was carried out to measure the temperature profile of an infrared-active gas and demonstrate the effect of radiation trapping. The success of this effort validates analytical models of heat transfer in this receiver, and confirms the potential of this approach for achieving high efficiency space power and propulsion.

  15. Optimal low-thrust trajectories for nuclear and solar electric propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Genta, G.; Maffione, P. F.

    2016-01-01

    The optimization of the trajectory and of the thrust profile of a low-thrust interplanetary transfer is usually solved under the assumption that the specific mass of the power generator is constant. While this is reasonable in the case of nuclear electric propulsion, if solar electric propulsion is used the specific mass depends on the distance of the spacecraft from the Sun. In the present paper the optimization of the trajectory of the spacecraft and of the thrust profile is solved under the latter assumption, to obtain optimized interplanetary trajectories for solar electric spacecraft, also taking into account all phases of the journey, from low orbit about the starting planet to low orbit about the destination one. General plots linking together the travel time, the specific mass of the generator and the propellant consumption are obtained.

  16. 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.

  17. An End-To-End Test of A Simulated Nuclear Electric Propulsion System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    VanDyke, Melissa; Hrbud, Ivana; Goddfellow, Keith; Rodgers, Stephen L. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The Safe Affordable Fission Engine (SAFE) test series addresses Phase I Space Fission Systems issues in it particular non-nuclear testing and system integration issues leading to the testing and non-nuclear demonstration of a 400-kW fully integrated flight unit. The first part of the SAFE 30 test series demonstrated operation of the simulated nuclear core and heat pipe system. Experimental data acquired in a number of different test scenarios will validate existing computational models, demonstrated system flexibility (fast start-ups, multiple start-ups/shut downs), simulate predictable failure modes and operating environments. The objective of the second part is to demonstrate an integrated propulsion system consisting of a core, conversion system and a thruster where the system converts thermal heat into jet power. This end-to-end system demonstration sets a precedent for ground testing of nuclear electric propulsion systems. The paper describes the SAFE 30 end-to-end system demonstration and its subsystems.

  18. SOLID SOLUTION CARBIDES ARE THE KEY FUELS FOR FUTURE NUCLEAR THERMAL PROPULSION

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Panda, Binayak; Hickman, Robert R.; Shah, Sandeep

    2005-01-01

    Nuclear thermal propulsion uses nuclear energy to directly heat a propellant (such as liquid hydrogen) to generate thrust for space transportation. In the 1960 s, the early Rover/Nuclear Engine for Rocket Propulsion Application (NERVA) program showed very encouraging test results for space nuclear propulsion but, in recent years, fuel research has been dismal. With NASA s renewed interest in long-term space exploration, fuel researchers are now revisiting the RoverMERVA findings, which indicated several problems with such fuels (such as erosion, chemical reaction of the fuel with propellant, fuel cracking, and cladding issues) that must be addressed. It is also well known that the higher the temperature reached by a propellant, the larger the thrust generated from the same weight of propellant. Better use of fuel and propellant requires development of fuels capable of reaching very high temperatures. Carbides have the highest melting points of any known material. Efforts are underway to develop carbide mixtures and solid solutions that contain uranium carbide, in order to achieve very high fuel temperatures. Binary solid solution carbides (U, Zr)C have proven to be very effective in this regard. Ternary carbides such as (U, Zr, X) carbides (where X represents Nb, Ta, W, and Hf) also hold great promise as fuel material, since the carbide mixtures in solid solution generate a very hard and tough compact material. This paper highlights past experience with early fuel materials and bi-carbides, technical problems associated with consolidation of the ingredients, and current techniques being developed to consolidate ternary carbides as fuel materials.

  19. ESCORT: A Pratt & Whitney nuclear thermal propulsion and power system for manned mars missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feller, Gerald J.; Joyner, Russell

    1999-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to describe the conceptual design of an upgrade to the Pratt & Whitney ESCORT nuclear thermal rocket engine. The ESCORT is a bimodal engine capable of supporting a wide range of vehicle propulsive and electrical power requirements. The ESCORT engine is powered by a fast-spectrum beryllium-reflected CERMET-fueled nuclear reactor. In propulsive mode, the reactor is used to heat hot hydrogen to approximately 2700 K which is expanded through a converging/diverging nozzle to generate thrust. Heat pickup in the nozzle and the radial beryllium reflectors is used to drive the turbomachinery in the ESCORT expander cycle. In electrical mode, the reactor is used to heat a mixture of helium and xenon to drive a closed-loop Brayton cycle in order to generate electrical energy. This closed loop system has the additional function of a decay heat removal system after the propulsive mode operation is discontinued. The original ESCORT design was capable of delivering 4448.2 N (1000 lbf) of thrust at a vacuum impulse level of approximately 900 s. Design Reference Mission requirements (DRM) from NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Lewis Research Center studies in 1997 and 1998 have detailed upgraded requirements for potential manned Mars missions. The current NASA DRM requires a nuclear thermal propulsion system capable of delivering total mission requirements of 200170 N (45000 lbf) thrust and 50 kWe of spacecraft electrical power. This is met assuming three engines capable of each delivering 66723 N (15000 lbf) of vacuum thrust and 25 kWe of electrical power. The individual engine requirements were developed assuming three out of three engine reliability for propulsion and two out of three engine reliability for spacecraft electrical power. The approximate target vacuum impulse is 925 s. The Pratt & Whitney ESCORT concept was upgraded to meet these requirements. The hexagonal prismatic fuel elements were modified to address the uprated power requirements

  20. ESCORT: A Pratt and Whitney nuclear thermal propulsion and power system for manned mars missions

    SciTech Connect

    Feller, Gerald J.; Joyner, Russell

    1999-01-22

    The purpose of this paper is to describe the conceptual design of an upgrade to the Pratt and Whitney ESCORT nuclear thermal rocket engine. The ESCORT is a bimodal engine capable of supporting a wide range of vehicle propulsive and electrical power requirements. The ESCORT engine is powered by a fast-spectrum beryllium-reflected CERMET-fueled nuclear reactor. In propulsive mode, the reactor is used to heat hot hydrogen to approximately 2700 K which is expanded through a converging/diverging nozzle to generate thrust. Heat pickup in the nozzle and the radial beryllium reflectors is used to drive the turbomachinery in the ESCORT expander cycle. In electrical mode, the reactor is used to heat a mixture of helium and xenon to drive a closed-loop Brayton cycle in order to generate electrical energy. This closed loop system has the additional function of a decay heat removal system after the propulsive mode operation is discontinued. The original ESCORT design was capable of delivering 4448.2 N (1000 lbf) of thrust at a vacuum impulse level of approximately 900 s. Design Reference Mission requirements (DRM) from NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Lewis Research Center studies in 1997 and 1998 have detailed upgraded requirements for potential manned Mars missions. The current NASA DRM requires a nuclear thermal propulsion system capable of delivering total mission requirements of 200170 N (45000 lbf) thrust and 50 kWe of spacecraft electrical power. This is met assuming three engines capable of each delivering 66723 N (15000 lbf) of vacuum thrust and 25 kWe of electrical power. The individual engine requirements were developed assuming three out of three engine reliability for propulsion and two out of three engine reliability for spacecraft electrical power. The approximate target vacuum impulse is 925 s. The Pratt and Whitney ESCORT concept was upgraded to meet these requirements. The hexagonal prismatic fuel elements were modified to address the uprated power

  1. A performance comparison of nuclear electric and nuclear thermal propulsion for Mars cargo missions across the 15-17 year synodic cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sponaugle, Steven J.; Davis, Steven F.; Everett, Shonn F.

    This paper examines the effects of the Earth-Mars synodic cycle on Mars cargo missions. Cargo vehicles that use nuclear thermal propulsion are compared with those that use nuclear electric propulsion. It will be shown that for low energy class cargo missions, nuclear electric systems exhibit far less variation in peak performance over the synodic cycle than comparable nuclear thermal systems. Performance is measured by the amount of usable mass delivered to Mars, as well as the initial mass requirements in nuclear safe orbit. Nuclear electric propulsion systems also have significantly longer injection window opportunities for a given 26 month synodic period, resulting in much greater mission design flexibility. Injection window opportunities over a 20 year period from 2010 to 2030 are examined. This covers a complete synodic cycle and shows its effects on performance for Mars cargo missions.

  2. A performance comparison of nuclear electric and nuclear thermal propulsion for Mars cargo missions across the 15-17 year synodic cycle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sponaugle, Steven J.; Davis, Steven F.; Everett, Shonn F.

    1992-01-01

    This paper examines the effects of the Earth-Mars synodic cycle on Mars cargo missions. Cargo vehicles that use nuclear thermal propulsion are compared with those that use nuclear electric propulsion. It will be shown that for low energy class cargo missions, nuclear electric systems exhibit far less variation in peak performance over the synodic cycle than comparable nuclear thermal systems. Performance is measured by the amount of usable mass delivered to Mars, as well as the initial mass requirements in nuclear safe orbit. Nuclear electric propulsion systems also have significantly longer injection window opportunities for a given 26 month synodic period, resulting in much greater mission design flexibility. Injection window opportunities over a 20 year period from 2010 to 2030 are examined. This covers a complete synodic cycle and shows its effects on performance for Mars cargo missions.

  3. A review of carbide fuel corrosion for nuclear thermal propulsion applications

    SciTech Connect

    Pelaccio, D.G.; El-Genk, M.S.; Butt, D.P.

    1993-12-01

    At the operation conditions of interest in nuclear thermal propulsion reactors, carbide materials have been known to exhibit a number of life limiting phenomena. These include the formation of liquid, loss by vaporization, creep and corresponding gas flow restrictions, and local corrosion and fuel structure degradation due to excessive mechanical and/or thermal loading. In addition, the radiation environment in the reactor core can produce a substantial change in its local physical properties, which can produce high thermal stresses and corresponding stress fractures (cracking). Time-temperature history and cyclic operation of the nuclear reactor can also accelerate some of these processes. The University of New Mexico`s Institute for Space Nuclear Power Studies, under NASA sponsorship has recently initiated a study to model the complicated hydrogen corrosion process. In support of this effort, an extensive review of the open literature was performed, and a technical expert workshop was conducted. This paper summarizes the results of this review.

  4. A review of carbide fuel corrosion for nuclear thermal propulsion applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelaccio, Dennis G.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Butt, Darryl P.

    1993-10-01

    At the operation conditions of interest in nuclear thermal propulsion reactors, carbide materials have been known to exhibit a number of life limiting phenomena. These include the formation of liquid, loss by vaporization, creep and corresponding gas flow restrictions, and local corrosion and fuel structure degradation due to excessive mechanical and/or thermal loading. In addition, the radiation environment in the reactor core can produce a substantial change in its local physical properties, which can produce high thermal stresses and corresponding stress fractures (cracking). Time-temperature history and cyclic operation of the nuclear reactor can also accelerate some of these processes. The University of New Mexico's Institute for Space Nuclear Power Studies, under NASA sponsorship has recently initiated a study to model the complicated hydrogen corrosion process. In support of this effort, an extensive review of the open literature was performed, and a technical expert workshop was conducted. This paper summarizes the results of this review.

  5. A Review of Carbide Fuel Corrosion for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelaccio, Dennis G.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Butt, Darryl P.

    1994-07-01

    At the operation conditions of interest in nuclear thermal propulsion reactors, carbide materials have been known to exhibit a number of life limiting phenomena. These include the formation of liquid, loss by vaporization, creep and corresponding gas flow restrictions, and local corrosion and fuel structure degradation due to excessive mechanical and/or thermal loading. In addition, the radiation environment in the reactor core can produce a substantial change in its local physical properties, which can produce high thermal stresses and corresponding stress fractures (cracking). Time-temperature history and cyclic operation of the nuclear reactor can also accelerate some of these processes. The University of New Mexico's Institute for Space Nuclear Power Studies, under NASA sponsorship has recently initiated a study to model the complicated hydrogen corrosion process. In support of this effort, an extensive review of the open literature was performed, and a technical expert workshop was conducted. This paper summarizes the results of this review.

  6. Advanced supersonic propulsion study, phases 3 and 4. [variable cycle engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allan, R. D.; Joy, W.

    1977-01-01

    An evaluation of various advanced propulsion concepts for supersonic cruise aircraft resulted in the identification of the double-bypass variable cycle engine as the most promising concept. This engine design utilizes special variable geometry components and an annular exhaust nozzle to provide high take-off thrust and low jet noise. The engine also provides good performance at both supersonic cruise and subsonic cruise. Emission characteristics are excellent. The advanced technology double-bypass variable cycle engine offers an improvement in aircraft range performance relative to earlier supersonic jet engine designs and yet at a lower level of engine noise. Research and technology programs required in certain design areas for this engine concept to realize its potential benefits include refined parametric analysis of selected variable cycle engines, screening of additional unconventional concepts, and engine preliminary design studies. Required critical technology programs are summarized.

  7. Condition monitoring requirements for the development of a space nuclear propulsion module

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wagner, Robert C.

    1993-01-01

    To facilitate the development of a space nuclear propulsion module for manned flights to Mars, requirements must be established early in the technology cycle. The long lead times for the acquisition of the engine system and nuclear test facilities demands that the engine system, size, performance, safety goals and condition monitoring philosophy be defined at the earliest possible time. These systems are highly complex and require a large multi-disciplinary systems engineering team to develop and track the requirements and to ensure that the as-built system reflects the intent of the mission. An effective methodology has been devised coupled with sophisticated computer tools to effectivly develop and interpret the functional requirements. These requirements can then be decomposed down to the specification level for implementation. This paper discusses the application of the methodology and the analyses to develop condition monitoring requirements under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center (LeRC) Nuclear Propulsion Office (NPO).

  8. Mini-fission fusion explosive devices (mini-nukes) for nuclear pulse propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winterberg, F.

    2005-11-01

    Nuclear pulse propulsion demands low-yield nuclear explosive devices. Because the critical mass of a fission explosive is rather large, this leads to extravagant fission devices with a very low fuel burn-up. For non-fission ignited pure fusion microexplosions the problem is the large ignition apparatus (laser, particle beam, etc.). Fission ignited large fusion explosive devices are for obvious reasons even less desirable. A third category (mini-nukes) are devices where the critical mass of the fission explosive is substantially reduced by its coupling to a DT fusion reaction, with the DT fusion neutrons increasing the fission rate. Whereas in pure fission devices a reduction of the critical mass is achieved by the implosive compression of the fissile core with a chemical high explosive, in the third category the implosion must at the same time heat the DT surrounding the fissile core to a temperature of ⩾107K, at which enough fusion neutrons are generated to increase the fission rate which in turn further increases the temperature and fusion neutron production rate. As has been shown by the author many years ago, such mini-nukes lead to astonishingly small critical masses. In their application to nuclear pulse propulsion the combustion products from the chemical high explosive are further heated by the neutrons and are becoming part of the propellant.

  9. Structural integrity of a confinement vessel for testing nuclear fuels for space propulsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergmann, V. L.

    Nuclear propulsion systems for rockets could significantly reduce the travel time to distant destinations in space. However, long before such a concept can become reality, a significant effort must be invested in analysis and ground testing to guide the development of nuclear fuels. Any testing in support of development of nuclear fuels for space propulsion must be safely contained to prevent the release of radioactive materials. This paper describes analyses performed to assess the structural integrity of a test confinement vessel. The confinement structure, a stainless steel pressure vessel with bolted flanges, was designed for operating static pressures in accordance with the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. In addition to the static operating pressures, the confinement barrier must withstand static overpressures from off-normal conditions without releasing radioactive material. Results from axisymmetric finite element analyses are used to evaluate the response of the confinement structure under design and accident conditions. For the static design conditions, the stresses computed from the ASME code are compared with the stresses computed by the finite element method.

  10. 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.

  11. Mars Mission Analysis Trades Based on Legacy and Future Nuclear Propulsion Options

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joyner, Russell; Lentati, Andrea; Cichon, Jaclyn

    2007-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the results of mission-based system trades when using a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system for Solar System exploration. The results are based on comparing reactor designs that use a ceramic-metallic (CERMET), graphite matrix, graphite composite matrix, or carbide matrix fuel element designs. The composite graphite matrix and CERMET designs have been examined for providing power as well as propulsion. Approaches to the design of the NTP to be discussed will include an examination of graphite, composite, carbide, and CERMET core designs and the attributes of each in regards to performance and power generation capability. The focus is on NTP approaches based on tested fuel materials within a prismatic fuel form per the Argonne National Laboratory testing and the ROVER/NERVA program. NTP concepts have been examined for several years at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne for use as the primary propulsion for human missions beyond earth. Recently, an approach was taken to examine the design trades between specific NTP concepts; NERVA-based (UC)C-Graphite, (UC,ZrC)C-Composite, (U,Zr)C-Solid Carbide and UO2-W CERMET. Using Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's multidisciplinary design analysis capability, a detailed mission and vehicle model has been used to examine how several of these NTP designs impact a human Mars mission. Trends for the propulsion system mass as a function of power level (i.e. thrust size) for the graphite-carbide and CERMET designs were established and correlated against data created over the past forty years. These were used for the mission trade study. The resulting mission trades presented in this paper used a comprehensive modeling approach that captures the mission, vehicle subsystems, and NTP sizing.

  12. Mars Mission Analysis Trades Based on Legacy and Future Nuclear Propulsion Options

    SciTech Connect

    Joyner, Russell; Lentati, Andrea; Cichon, Jaclyn

    2007-01-30

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the results of mission-based system trades when using a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system for Solar System exploration. The results are based on comparing reactor designs that use a ceramic-metallic (CERMET), graphite matrix, graphite composite matrix, or carbide matrix fuel element designs. The composite graphite matrix and CERMET designs have been examined for providing power as well as propulsion. Approaches to the design of the NTP to be discussed will include an examination of graphite, composite, carbide, and CERMET core designs and the attributes of each in regards to performance and power generation capability. The focus is on NTP approaches based on tested fuel materials within a prismatic fuel form per the Argonne National Laboratory testing and the ROVER/NERVA program. NTP concepts have been examined for several years at Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne for use as the primary propulsion for human missions beyond earth. Recently, an approach was taken to examine the design trades between specific NTP concepts; NERVA-based (UC)C-Graphite, (UC,ZrC)C-Composite, (U,Zr)C-Solid Carbide and UO2-W CERMET. Using Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne's multidisciplinary design analysis capability, a detailed mission and vehicle model has been used to examine how several of these NTP designs impact a human Mars mission. Trends for the propulsion system mass as a function of power level (i.e. thrust size) for the graphite-carbide and CERMET designs were established and correlated against data created over the past forty years. These were used for the mission trade study. The resulting mission trades presented in this paper used a comprehensive modeling approach that captures the mission, vehicle subsystems, and NTP sizing.

  13. Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion - a basic Tool for the manned Exploration of the Solar System

    SciTech Connect

    Frischauf, Norbert; Hamilton, Booz Allen

    2004-07-01

    Humanity has started to explore space more than 40 years ago. Numerous spacecraft have left the Earth in this endeavour, but while unmanned spacecraft were already sent out on missions, where they would eventually reach the outer limits of the Solar System, manned exploration has always been confined to the tiny bubble of the Earth's gravitational well, stretching out at maximum to our closest celestial companion - the Moon - during the era of the Apollo programme in the late 60's and early 70's. When mankind made its giant leap, the exploration of our cosmic neighbour was seen as the initial step for the manned exploration of the whole Solar System. Consequently ambitious research and development programmes were undertaken at that time to enable what seemed to be the next logical steps: the establishment of a permanent settled base on the Moon and the first manned mission to Mars in the 80's. Nuclear space power and propulsion played an important role in these entire future scenarios, hence ambitious development programmes were undertaken to make these technologies available. Unfortunately the 70's-paradigm shift in space policies did not only bring an end to the Apollo programme, but it also brought a complete halt to all of these technology programmes and confined the human presence in space to a tiny bubble including nothing more than the Earth's sphere and a mere shell of a few hundred kilometres of altitude, too small to even include the Moon. Today, after more than three decades, manned exploration of the Solar System has become an issue again and so are missions to Moon and Mars. However, studies and analyses show that all of these future plans are hampered by today's available propulsion systems and by the problematic of solar power generation at distances at and beyond of Mars, a problem, however, that can readily be solved by the utilisation of space nuclear reactors and propulsion systems. This paper intends to provide an overview on the various fission

  14. Advanced nuclear energy analysis technology.

    SciTech Connect

    Gauntt, Randall O.; Murata, Kenneth K.; Romero, Vicente JosÔe; Young, Michael Francis; Rochau, Gary Eugene

    2004-05-01

    A two-year effort focused on applying ASCI technology developed for the analysis of weapons systems to the state-of-the-art accident analysis of a nuclear reactor system was proposed. The Sandia SIERRA parallel computing platform for ASCI codes includes high-fidelity thermal, fluids, and structural codes whose coupling through SIERRA can be specifically tailored to the particular problem at hand to analyze complex multiphysics problems. Presently, however, the suite lacks several physics modules unique to the analysis of nuclear reactors. The NRC MELCOR code, not presently part of SIERRA, was developed to analyze severe accidents in present-technology reactor systems. We attempted to: (1) evaluate the SIERRA code suite for its current applicability to the analysis of next generation nuclear reactors, and the feasibility of implementing MELCOR models into the SIERRA suite, (2) examine the possibility of augmenting ASCI codes or alternatives by coupling to the MELCOR code, or portions thereof, to address physics particular to nuclear reactor issues, especially those facing next generation reactor designs, and (3) apply the coupled code set to a demonstration problem involving a nuclear reactor system. We were successful in completing the first two in sufficient detail to determine that an extensive demonstration problem was not feasible at this time. In the future, completion of this research would demonstrate the feasibility of performing high fidelity and rapid analyses of safety and design issues needed to support the development of next generation power reactor systems.

  15. ``Bimodal'' Nuclear Thermal Rocket (BNTR) Propulsion for an Artificial Gravity HOPE Mission to Callisto

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.; McGuire, Melissa L.; Mason, Lee M.; Gilland, James H.; Packard, Thomas W.

    2003-01-01

    This paper summarizes the results of a year long, multi-center NASA study which examined the viability of nuclear fission propulsion systems for Human Outer Planet Exploration (HOPE). The HOPE mission assumes a crew of six is sent to Callisto. Jupiter's outermost large moon, to establish a surface base and propellant production facility. The Asgard asteroid formation, a region potentially rich in water-ice, is selected as the landing site. High thrust BNTR propulsion is used to transport the crew from the Earth-Moon L1 staging node to Callisto then back to Earth in less than 5 years. Cargo and LH2 ``return'' propellant for the piloted Callisto transfer vehicle (PCTV) is pre-deployed at the moon (before the crew's departure) using low thrust, high power, nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) cargo and tanker vehicles powered by hydrogen magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters. The PCTV is powered by three 25 klbf BNTR engines which also produce 50 kWe of power for crew life support and spacecraft operational needs. To counter the debilitating effects of long duration space flight (~855 days out and ~836 days back) under ``0-gE'' conditions, the PCTV generates an artificial gravity environment of ``1-gE'' via rotation of the vehicle about its center-of-mass at a rate of ~4 rpm. After ~123 days at Callisto, the ``refueled'' PCTV leaves orbit for the trip home. Direct capsule re-entry of the crew at mission end is assumed. Dynamic Brayton power conversion and high temperature uranium dioxide (UO2) in tungsten metal ``cermet'' fuel is used in both the BNTR and NEP vehicles to maximize hardware commonality. Technology performance levels and vehicle characteristics are presented, and requirements for PCTV reusability are also discussed.

  16. Temperature Profile in Fuel and Tie-Tubes for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Vishal Patel

    2015-02-01

    A finite element method to calculate temperature profiles in heterogeneous geometries of tie-tube moderated LEU nuclear thermal propulsion systems and HEU designs with tie-tubes is developed and implemented in MATLAB. This new method is compared to previous methods to demonstrate shortcomings in those methods. Typical methods to analyze peak fuel centerline temperature in hexagonal geometries rely on spatial homogenization to derive an analytical expression. These methods are not applicable to cores with tie-tube elements because conduction to tie-tubes cannot be accurately modeled with the homogenized models. The fuel centerline temperature directly impacts safety and performance so it must be predicted carefully. The temperature profile in tie-tubes is also important when high temperatures are expected in the fuel because conduction to the tie-tubes may cause melting in tie-tubes, which may set maximum allowable performance. Estimations of maximum tie-tube temperature can be found from equivalent tube methods, however this method tends to be approximate and overly conservative. A finite element model of heat conduction on a unit cell can model spatial dependence and non-linear conductivity for fuel and tie-tube systems allowing for higher design fidelity of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion.

  17. Pluto/Charon exploration utilizing a bi-modal PBR nuclear propulsion/power system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Venetoklis, Peter S.

    1995-01-01

    The paper describes a Pluto/Charon orbiter utilizing a bi-modal nuclear propulsion and power system based on the Particle Bed Reactor. The orbiter is sized for launch to Nuclear-Safe orbit atop a Titan IV or equivalent launch veicle. The bi-modal system provides thermal propulsion for Earth orbital departure and Pluto orbital capture, and 10 kWe of electric power for payload functions and for in-system maneuvering with ion thrusters. Ion thrusters are used to perform inclination changes about Pluto, a transfer from low Pluto orbit to low Charon orbit, and inclination changes about charon. A nominal payload can be deliverd in as little as 15 years, 1000 kg in 17 years, and close to 2000 kg in 20 years. Scientific return is enormously aided by the availability of up to 10 kWe, due to greater data transfer rates and more/better instruments. The bi-modal system can provide power at Pluto/Charon for 10 or more years, enabling an extremely robust, scientifically rewarding, and cost-effective exploration mission.

  18. Effect of reactor coolant radioactivity upon configuration feasibility for a nuclear electric propulsion vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Soffer, L.; Wright, G. N.

    1973-01-01

    A preliminary shielding analysis was carried out for a conceptual nuclear electric propulsion vehicle designed to transport payloads from low earth orbit to synchronous orbit. The vehicle employed a thermionic nuclear reactor operating at 1575 kilowatts and generated 120 kilowatts of electricity for a round-trip mission time of 2000 hours. Propulsion was via axially directed ion engines employing 3300 pounds of mercury as a propellant. The vehicle configuration permitted a reactor shadow shield geometry using LiH and the mercury propellant for shielding. However, much of the radioactive NaK reactor coolant was unshielded and in close proximity to the power conditioning electronics. An estimate of the radioactivity of the NaK coolant was made and its unshielded dose rate to the power conditioning equipment calculated. It was found that the activated NaK contributed about three-fourths of the gamma dose constraint. The NaK dose was considered a sufficiently high fraction of the allowable gamma dose to necessitate modifications in configuration.

  19. Propulsion system advances that enable a reusable Liquid Fly Back Booster (LFBB)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keith, E. L.; Rothschild, W. J.

    1998-01-01

    This paper provides an overview of the booster propulsion system for the Liquid Fly Back Booster (LFBB). This includes, system requirements, design approach, concept of operations, reliability, safety and cost assumptions. The paper summarizes the findings of the Boeing propulsion team that has been studying the LFBB feasibility as a booster replacement for the Space Shuttle. This paper will discuss recent advances including a new generation of kerosene and oxygen rich pre-burner staged combustion cycle main rocket engines. The engine reliability and safety is expected to be much higher than current standards by adding extra operating margins into the design and normally operating the engines at 75% of engine rated power. This allows for engine out capability. The new generation of main engines operates at significantly higher chamber pressure than the prior generation of gas generator cycle engines. The oxygen rich pre-burner engine cycle, unlike the fuel rich gas generator cycle, results in internally self-cleaning firings which facilitates reusability. Maintenance is further enhanced with integrated health monitoring to improve safety and turn-around efficiency. The maintainability of the LFBB LOX/kerosene engines is being improved by designing the vehicle/engine interfaces for easy access to key engine components.

  20. Propulsion Simulations Using Advanced Turbulence Models with the Unstructured Grid CFD Tool, TetrUSS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abdol-Hamid, Khaled S.; Frink, Neal T.; Deere, Karen A.; Pandya, Mohangna J.

    2004-01-01

    A computational investigation has been completed to assess the capability of TetrUSS for exhaust nozzle flows. Three configurations were chosen for this study (1) an axisymmetric supersonic jet, (2) a transonic axisymmetric boattail with solid sting operated at different Reynolds number and Mach number, and (3) an isolated non-axisymmetric nacelle with a supersonic cruise nozzle. These configurations were chosen because existing experimental data provided a means for measuring the ability of TetrUSS for simulating complex nozzle flows. The main objective of this paper is to validate the implementation of advanced two-equation turbulence models in the unstructured-grid CFD code USM3D for propulsion flow cases. USM3D is the flow solver of the TetrUSS system. Three different turbulence models, namely, Menter Shear Stress Transport (SST), basic k epsilon, and the Spalart-Allmaras (SA) are used in the present study. The results are generally in agreement with other implementations of these models in structured-grid CFD codes. Results indicate that USM3D provides accurate simulations for complex aerodynamic configurations with propulsion integration.

  1. Propulsion System Advances that Enable a Reusable Liquid Fly Back Booster (LFBB)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keith, Edward L.; Rothschild, William J.

    1998-01-01

    This paper provides an overview of the booster propulsion system for the Liquid Fly Back Booster (LFBB). This includes, system requirements, design approach, concept of operations, reliability, safety and cost assumptions. The paper summarizes the findings of the Boeing propulsion team that has been studying the LFBB feasibility as a booster replacement for the Space Shuttle. This paper will discuss recent advances including a new generation of kerosene and oxygen rich pre-burner staged combustion cycle main rocket engines. The engine reliability and safety is expected to be much higher than current standards by adding extra operating margins into the design and normally operating the engines at 75% of engine rated power. This allows for engine out capability. The new generation of main engines operates at significantly higher chamber pressure than the prior generation of gas generator cycle engines. The oxygen rich pre-burner engine cycle, unlike the fuel rich gas generator cycle, results in internally self-cleaning firings which facilitates reusability. Maintenance is further enhanced with integrated health monitoring to improve safety and turn-around efficiency. The maintainability of the LFBB LOX / kerosene engines is being improved by designing the vehicle/engine interfaces for easy access to key engine components.

  2. Aerodynamics of the advanced launch system (ALS) propulsion and avionics (P/A) module

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferguson, Stan; Savage, Dick

    1992-01-01

    This paper discusses the design and testing of candidate Advanced Launch System (ALS) Propulsion and Avionics (P/A) Module configurations. The P/A Module is a key element of future launch systems because it is essential to the recovery and reuse of high-value propulsion and avionics hardware. The ALS approach involves landing of first stage (booster) and/or second stage (core) P/A modules near the launch site to minimize logistics and refurbishment cost. The key issue addressed herein is the aerodynamic design of the P/A module, including the stability characteristics and the lift-to-drag (L/D) performance required to achieve the necessary landing guidance accuracy. The reference P/A module configuration was found to be statically stable for the desired flight regime, to provide adequate L/D for targeting, and to have effective modulation of the L/D performance using a body flap. The hypersonic aerodynamic trends for nose corner radius, boattail angle and body flap deflections were consistent with pretest predictions. However, the levels for the L/D and axial force for hypersonic Mach numbers were overpredicted by impact theories.

  3. Electric propulsion, circa 2000

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hudson, W. R.; Finke, R. C.

    1980-01-01

    This paper discusses the future of electric propulsion, circa 2000. Starting with the first generation Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) technology as the first step toward the next century's advanced propulsion systems, the current status and future trends of other systems such as the magnetoplasmadynamic accelerator, the mass driver, the laser propulsion system, and the rail gun are described.

  4. Effluent Containment System for space thermal nuclear propulsion ground test facilities

    SciTech Connect

    1995-08-01

    This report presents the research and development study work performed for the Space Reactor Power System Division of the U.S. Department of Energy on an innovative ECS that would be used during ground testing of a space nuclear thermal rocket engine. A significant portion of the ground test facilities for a space nuclear thermal propulsion engine are the effluent treatment and containment systems. The proposed ECS configuration developed recycles all engine coolant media and does not impact the environment by venting radioactive material. All coolant media, hydrogen and water, are collected, treated for removal of radioactive particulates, and recycled for use in subsequent tests until the end of the facility life. Radioactive materials removed by the treatment systems are recovered, stored for decay of short-lived isotopes, or packaged for disposal as waste. At the end of the useful life, the facility will be decontaminated and dismantled for disposal.

  5. Structured system engineering methodologies used to develop a nuclear thermal propulsion engine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Corban, R.; Wagner, R.

    1993-01-01

    To facilitate the development of a space nuclear thermal propulsion engine for manned flights to Mars, requirements must be established early in the technology development cycle. The long lead times for the acquisition of the engine system and nuclear test facilities demands that the engine system size, performance and safety goals be defined at the earliest possible time. These systems are highly complex and require a large multidisciplinary systems engineering team to develop and track requirements, and to ensure that the as-built system reflects the intent of the mission. A methodology has been devised which uses sophisticated computer tools to effectively develop and interpret functional requirements, and furnish these to the specification level for implementation.

  6. Mission needs and system commonality for space nuclear power and propulsion

    SciTech Connect

    Buden, D.; Zuppero, A.; Redd, L.

    1993-07-01

    Nuclear power enables or significantly enhances a variety of space missions whether near-Earth, or for solar system exploration, lunar-Mars exploration and recovery of near-Earth resources. Performance optimizations for individual missions leads to a large number of power and propulsion systems to be developed. However, the realities of the budget and schedules indicates that the number of nuclear systems that will be developed are limited. One needs to seek the ``minimum requirements`` to do a job rather than the last ounce of performance, and areas of commonality. To develop a minimum number of systems to meet the overall DoD, NASA, and commercial needs, the broad spectrum of requirements has been examined along with cost drivers.

  7. Advanced Earth-to-orbit propulsion technology program overview: Impact of civil space technology initiative

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stephenson, Frank W., Jr.

    1988-01-01

    The NASA Earth-to-Orbit (ETO) Propulsion Technology Program is dedicated to advancing rocket engine technologies for the development of fully reusable engine systems that will enable space transportation systems to achieve low cost, routine access to space. The program addresses technology advancements in the areas of engine life extension/prediction, performance enhancements, reduced ground operations costs, and in-flight fault tolerant engine operations. The primary objective is to acquire increased knowledge and understanding of rocket engine chemical and physical processes in order to evolve more realistic analytical simulations of engine internal environments, to derive more accurate predictions of steady and unsteady loads, and using improved structural analyses, to more accurately predict component life and performance, and finally to identify and verify more durable advanced design concepts. In addition, efforts were focused on engine diagnostic needs and advances that would allow integrated health monitoring systems to be developed for enhanced maintainability, automated servicing, inspection, and checkout, and ultimately, in-flight fault tolerant engine operations.

  8. Advances in livestock nuclear transfer.

    PubMed

    Kühholzer, B; Prather, R S

    2000-09-01

    Cloning and transgenic animal production have been greatly enhanced by the development of nuclear transfer technology. In the past, genetic modification in domestic animals was not tightly controlled. With the nuclear transfer technology one can now create some domestic animals with specific genetic modifications. An ever-expanding variety of cell types have been successfully used as donors to create the clones. Both cell fusion and microinjection are successfully being used to create these animals. However, it is still not clear which stage(s) of the cell cycle for donor and recipient cells yield the greatest degree of development. While for the most part gene expression is reprogrammed in nuclear transfer embryos, all structural changes may not be corrected as evidenced by the length of the telomeres in sheep resulting from nuclear transfer. Even after these animals are created the question of "are they really clones?" arises due to mitochondrial inheritance from the donor cell versus the recipient oocyte. This review discusses these issues as they relate to livestock.

  9. A radiological assessment of nuclear power and propulsion operations near Space Station Freedom

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bolch, Wesley E.; Thomas, J. Kelly; Peddicord, K. Lee; Nelson, Paul; Marshall, David T.; Busche, Donna M.

    1990-01-01

    Scenarios were identified which involve the use of nuclear power systems in the vicinity of Space Station Freedom (SSF) and their radiological impact on the SSF crew was quantified. Several of the developed scenarios relate to the use of SSF as an evolutionary transportation node for lunar and Mars missions. In particular, radiation doses delivered to SSF crew were calculated for both the launch and subsequent return of a Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) cargo vehicle and a Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) personnel vehicle to low earth orbit. The use of nuclear power on co-orbiting platforms and the storage and handling issues associated with radioisotope power systems were also explored as they relate to SSF. A central philosophy in these analyses was the utilization of a radiation dose budget, defined as the difference between recommended dose limits from all radiation sources and estimated doses received by crew members from natural space radiations. Consequently, for each scenario examined, the dose budget concept was used to identify and quantify constraints on operational parameters such as launch separation distances, returned vehicle parking distances, and reactor shutdown times prior to vehicle approach. The results indicate that realistic scenarios do not exist which would preclude the use of nuclear power sources in the vicinity of SSF. The radiation dose to the SSF crew can be maintained at safe levels solely by implementing proper and reasonable operating procedures.

  10. Advances in Engine Test Capabilities at the NASA Glenn Research Center's Propulsion Systems Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pachlhofer, Peter M.; Panek, Joseph W.; Dicki, Dennis J.; Piendl, Barry R.; Lizanich, Paul J.; Klann, Gary A.

    2006-01-01

    The Propulsion Systems Laboratory at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center is one of the premier U.S. facilities for research on advanced aeropropulsion systems. The facility can simulate a wide range of altitude and Mach number conditions while supplying the aeropropulsion system with all the support services necessary to operate at those conditions. Test data are recorded on a combination of steady-state and highspeed data-acquisition systems. Recently a number of upgrades were made to the facility to meet demanding new requirements for the latest aeropropulsion concepts and to improve operational efficiency. Improvements were made to data-acquisition systems, facility and engine-control systems, test-condition simulation systems, video capture and display capabilities, and personnel training procedures. This paper discusses the facility s capabilities, recent upgrades, and planned future improvements.

  11. Use of Nuclear Electric Power and Propulsion for a Neptune Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bienstock, B.; Atkinson, D.; Baines, K.; Mahaffy, P.; Atreya, S.; Stern, A.; Steffes, P.; Wright, M.

    2005-12-01

    Over one year ago, our response to a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for Space Science Vision Missions resulted in the award of a NASA Vision Mission contract to study a Neptune Orbiter with Probes mission using nuclear electric propulsion (NEP). Our national team of engineers and scientists from aerospace, academia, NASA centers and the Southwest Research Institute has developed a mission concept that satisfies the goals of our scientists. Our poster describes the science and highlights the numerous engineering challenges that must be resolved in order to accomplish our ambitious mission. The giant planets of the outer solar system divide into two distinct classes: the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, primarily comprising hydrogen and helium; and the ice giants Uranus and Neptune that are believed to contain significant amounts of the heavier elements including oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur. Detailed comparisons of the internal structures and compositions of the gas giants with those of the ice giants will yield valuable insights into the processes that formed the solar system and, by extension, extrasolar systems. Recognizing the tremendous spacecraft resources made available by nuclear electric power, our science team specified that Neptune's fascinating moon, Triton, be included as another target for in situ science. Although our overall plan is a Neptune Orbiter with Probes mission utilizing nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) to study Triton, Nereid, the other icy satellites of Neptune, Neptune's system of rings, and the deep Neptune atmosphere to a depth of 100 bars, the science goals and objectives pertain to any detailed study of the Neptune system. For our mission, power and propulsion would be provided using nuclear electric technologies. Such a grand mission requires that a number of technical issues be investigated and resolved, including: (1) developing a realizable mission design that allows proper targeting and timing of the entry probes while

  12. Coordinating Space Nuclear Research Advancement and Education

    SciTech Connect

    John D. Bess; Jonathon A. Webb; Brian J. Gross; Aaron E. Craft

    2009-11-01

    The advancement of space exploration using nuclear science and technology has been a goal sought by many individuals over the years. The quest to enable space nuclear applications has experienced many challenges such as funding restrictions; lack of political, corporate, or public support; and limitations in educational opportunities. The Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) was established at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) with the mission to address the numerous challenges and opportunities relevant to the promotion of space nuclear research and education.1 The CSNR is operated by the Universities Space Research Association and its activities are overseen by a Science Council comprised of various representatives from academic and professional entities with space nuclear experience. Program participants in the CSNR include academic researchers and students, government representatives, and representatives from industrial and corporate entities. Space nuclear educational opportunities have traditionally been limited to various sponsored research projects through government agencies or industrial partners, and dedicated research centers. Centralized research opportunities are vital to the growth and development of space nuclear advancement. Coordinated and focused research plays a key role in developing the future leaders in the space nuclear field. The CSNR strives to synchronize research efforts and provide means to train and educate students with skills to help them excel as leaders.

  13. The nuclear thermal electric rocket: a proposed innovative propulsion concept for manned interplanetary missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dujarric, C.; Santovincenzo, A.; Summerer, L.

    2013-03-01

    Conventional propulsion technology (chemical and electric) currently limits the possibilities for human space exploration to the neighborhood of the Earth. If farther destinations (such as Mars) are to be reached with humans on board, a more capable interplanetary transfer engine featuring high thrust, high specific impulse is required. The source of energy which could in principle best meet these engine requirements is nuclear thermal. However, the nuclear thermal rocket technology is not yet ready for flight application. The development of new materials which is necessary for the nuclear core will require further testing on ground of full-scale nuclear rocket engines. Such testing is a powerful inhibitor to the nuclear rocket development, as the risks of nuclear contamination of the environment cannot be entirely avoided with current concepts. Alongside already further matured activities in the field of space nuclear power sources for generating on-board power, a low level investigation on nuclear propulsion has been running since long within ESA, and innovative concepts have already been proposed at an IAF conference in 1999 [1, 2]. Following a slow maturation process, a new concept was defined which was submitted to a concurrent design exercise in ESTEC in 2007. Great care was taken in the selection of the design parameters to ensure that this quite innovative concept would in all respects likely be feasible with margins. However, a thorough feasibility demonstration will require a more detailed design including the selection of appropriate materials and the verification that these can withstand the expected mechanical, thermal, and chemical environment. So far, the predefinition work made clear that, based on conservative technology assumptions, a specific impulse of 920 s could be obtained with a thrust of 110 kN. Despite the heavy engine dry mass, a preliminary mission analysis using conservative assumptions showed that the concept was reducing the required

  14. Preliminary Comparison Between Nuclear-Electric and Solar-Electric Propulsion Systems for Future Mars Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koppel, Christophe R.; Valentian, Dominique; Latham, Paul; Fearn, David; Bruno, Claudio; Nicolini, David; Roux, Jean-Pierre; Paganucci, F.; Saverdi, Massimo

    2004-02-01

    Recent US and European initiatives in Nuclear Propulsion lend themselves naturally to raising the question of comparing various options and particularly Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) with Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP). SEP is in fact mentioned in one of the latest versions of the NASA Mars Manned Mission as a possible candidate. The purpose of this paper is to compare NEP, for instance, using high power MPD, Ion or Plasma thrusters, with SEP systems. The same payload is assumed in both cases. The task remains to find the final mass ratios and cost estimates and to determine the particular features of each technology. Each technology has its own virtues and vices: NEP implies orbiting a sizeable nuclear reactor and a power generation system capable of converting thermal into electric power, with minimum mass and volumes compatible with Ariane 5 or the Space Shuttle bay. Issues of safety and launch risks are especially important to public opinion, which is a factor to be reckoned with. Power conversion in space, including thermal cycle efficiency and radiators, is a technical issue in need of attention if power is large, i.e., of order 0.1 MW and above, and so is power conditioning and other ancillary systems. Type of mission, Isp and thrust will ultimately determine a large fraction of the mass to be orbited, as they drive propellant mass. For manned missions, the trade-off also involves consumables and travel time because of exposure to Solar wind and cosmic radiation. Future manned NEP missions will probably need superconducting coils, entailing cryostat technology. The on-board presence of cryogenic propellant (e.g., LH2) may reassure the feasibility of this technology, implying, however, a trade-off between propellant volume to be orbited and reduced thruster mass. SEP is attractive right now in the mind of the public, but also of scientists involved in Solar system exploration. Some of the appeal derives from the hope of reducing propellant mass because

  15. NASA Propulsion Engineering Research Center, volume 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1993-01-01

    On 8-9 Sep. 1993, the Propulsion Engineering Research Center (PERC) at The Pennsylvania State University held its Fifth Annual Symposium. PERC was initiated in 1988 by a grant from the NASA Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology as a part of the University Space Engineering Research Center (USERC) program; the purpose of the USERC program is to replenish and enhance the capabilities of our Nation's engineering community to meet its future space technology needs. The Centers are designed to advance the state-of-the-art in key space-related engineering disciplines and to promote and support engineering education for the next generation of engineers for the national space program and related commercial space endeavors. Research on the following areas was initiated: liquid, solid, and hybrid chemical propulsion, nuclear propulsion, electrical propulsion, and advanced propulsion concepts.

  16. Mars mission opportunity and transit time sensitivity for a nuclear thermal rocket propulsion application

    SciTech Connect

    Young, A.C.; Mulqueen, J.A.; Nishimuta, E.L.; Emrich, W.J. )

    1993-01-10

    President George Bush's 1989 challenge to America to support the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) of Back to the Moon and Human Mission to Mars'' gives the space industry an opportunity to develop effective and efficient space transportation systems. This paper presents stage performance and requirements for a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) Mars transportation system to support the human Mars mission of the SEI. Two classes of Mars mission profiles are considered in developing the NTR propulsion vehicle performance and requirements. The two Mars mission classes include the opposition class and conjunction class. The opposition class mission is associated with relatively short Mars stay times ranging from 30 to 90 days and total mission duration of 350 to 600 days. The conjunction class mission is associated with much longer Mars stay times ranging from 500 to 600 days and total mission durations of 875 to 1,000 days. Vehicle mass scaling equations are used to determine the NTR stage mass, size, and performance range required for different Mars mission opportunities and for different Mars mission durations. Mission opportunities considered include launch years 2010 to 2018. The 2010 opportunity is the most demanding launch opportunity and the 2018 opportunity is the least demanding opportunity. NTR vehicle mass and size sensitivity to NTR engine thrust level, engine specific impulse, NTR engine thrust-to-weight ratio, and Mars surface payload are presented. NTR propulsion parameter ranges include those associated with NERVA, particle bed reactor (PBR), low-pressure, and ceramic-metal-type engine design.

  17. Performance impact on nuclear thermal propulsion of piloted Mars missions with short transit times

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wickenheiser, T. J.; Gessner, K. S.; Alexander, S. W.

    1991-01-01

    The requirements of nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) are examined with respect to a specific mission scenario derived from Stafford Committee recommendations. The recommended mission scenario is a split/sprint opposition mission which includes a piloted vehicle and a cargo vehicle, and the baseline mission is developed from a reference trajectory. Key mision parameters are developed from the baseline mission, including engine-thrust levels, mission opportunity, and engine burn-time requirements. The impact of engine failure is also considered in terms of burn-time requirements, and other mission-performance issues considered include propulsion-technology assumptions, triple-perigee earth-departure burns, and Mars parking-orbit selection. The engine requirements call for a 50-75-klb engine-thrust level, maximum single burn time of 0.6 hours, and a maximum total-mission burn time of 1.7 hours. For a crew of 6, a 475-day total-mission trip with a 90-day stay at Mars is possible.

  18. Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) Propulsion and Power Systems for Outer Planetary Exploration Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, S. K.; Cataldo, R. L.

    2001-01-01

    The high specific impulse (I (sub sp)) and engine thrust generated using liquid hydrogen (LH2)-cooled Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) propulsion makes them attractive for upper stage applications for difficult robotic science missions to the outer planets. Besides high (I (sub sp)) and thrust, NTR engines can also be designed for "bimodal" operation allowing substantial amounts of electrical power (10's of kWe ) to be generated for onboard spacecraft systems and high data rate communications with Earth during the course of the mission. Two possible options for using the NTR are examined here. A high performance injection stage utilizing a single 15 klbf thrust engine can inject large payloads to the outer planets using a 20 t-class launch vehicle when operated in an "expendable mode". A smaller bimodal NTR stage generating approx. 1 klbf of thrust and 20 to 40 kWe for electric propulsion can deliver approx. 100 kg using lower cost launch vehicles. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  19. The Use of Nuclear Propulsion, Power and 'In-Situ' Resources for Routine Lunar Space Transportation and Commercial Base Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.

    2003-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation illustrates possible future strategies for solar system exploration supported by Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) Propulsion. Topics addressed in the presentation include: lunar mining, Liquid Oxygen (LOX) augmented NTR (LANTR), 'Shuttle-Derived' Heavy Lift Vehicle (SDHLV) options for future human Lunar missions, and lunar-produced oxygen (LUNOX).

  20. Advanced research workshop: nuclear materials safety

    SciTech Connect

    Jardine, L J; Moshkov, M M

    1999-01-28

    The Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) on Nuclear Materials Safety held June 8-10, 1998, in St. Petersburg, Russia, was attended by 27 Russian experts from 14 different Russian organizations, seven European experts from six different organizations, and 14 U.S. experts from seven different organizations. The ARW was conducted at the State Education Center (SEC), a former Minatom nuclear training center in St. Petersburg. Thirty-three technical presentations were made using simultaneous translations. These presentations are reprinted in this volume as a formal ARW Proceedings in the NATO Science Series. The representative technical papers contained here cover nuclear material safety topics on the storage and disposition of excess plutonium and high enriched uranium (HEU) fissile materials, including vitrification, mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication, plutonium ceramics, reprocessing, geologic disposal, transportation, and Russian regulatory processes. This ARW completed discussions by experts of the nuclear materials safety topics that were not covered in the previous, companion ARW on Nuclear Materials Safety held in Amarillo, Texas, in March 1997. These two workshops, when viewed together as a set, have addressed most nuclear material aspects of the storage and disposition operations required for excess HEU and plutonium. As a result, specific experts in nuclear materials safety have been identified, know each other from their participation in t he two ARW interactions, and have developed a partial consensus and dialogue on the most urgent nuclear materials safety topics to be addressed in a formal bilateral program on t he subject. A strong basis now exists for maintaining and developing a continuing dialogue between Russian, European, and U.S. experts in nuclear materials safety that will improve the safety of future nuclear materials operations in all the countries involved because of t he positive synergistic effects of focusing these diverse backgrounds of

  1. The Advanced BWR Nuclear Plant: Safe, economic nuclear energy

    SciTech Connect

    Redding, J.R.

    1994-12-31

    The safety and economics of Advanced BWR Nuclear Power Plants are outlined. The topics discussed include: ABWR Programs: status in US and Japan; ABWR competitiveness: safety and economics; SBWR status; combining ABWR and SBWR: the passive ABWR; and Korean/GE partnership.

  2. An assessment of testing requirement impacts on nuclear thermal propulsion ground test facility design

    SciTech Connect

    Shipers, L.R.; Ottinger, C.A.; Sanchez, L.C.

    1993-10-25

    Programs to develop solid core nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems have been under way at the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Energy (DOE). These programs have recognized the need for a new ground test facility to support development of NTP systems. However, the different military and civilian applications have led to different ground test facility requirements. The Department of Energy (DOE) in its role as landlord and operator of the proposed research reactor test facilities has initiated an effort to explore opportunities for a common ground test facility to meet both DoD and NASA needs. The baseline design and operating limits of the proposed DoD NTP ground test facility are described. The NASA ground test facility requirements are reviewed and their potential impact on the DoD facility baseline is discussed.

  3. Multi-reactor power system configurations for multimegawatt nuclear electric propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    George, Jeffrey A.

    1991-01-01

    A modular, multi-reactor power system and vehicle configuration for piloted nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) missions to Mars is presented. Such a design could provide enhanced system and mission reliability, allowing a comfortable safety margin for early manned flights, and would allow a range of piloted and cargo missions to be performed with a single power system design. Early use of common power modules for cargo missions would also provide progressive flight experience and validation of standardized systems for use in later piloted applications. System and mission analysis are presented to compare single and multi-reactor configurations for piloted Mars missions. A conceptual design for the Hydra modular multi-reactor NEP vehicle is presented.

  4. KINETIC: A system code for analyzing Nuclear thermal propulsion rocket engine transients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, E.; Lazareth, O.; Ludewig, H.

    1993-07-01

    A system code suitable for analyzing Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) rocket engines is described in this paper. The code consists of a point reactor model and nodes to describe the fluid dynamics and heat transfer mechanism. Feedback from the fuel coolant, moderator and reflector are allowed for, and the control of the reactor is by motion of control elements (drums or rods). The worth of the control clement and feedback coefficients are predetermined. Separate models for the turbo-pump assembly (TPA) and nozzle are also included. The model to be described in this paper is specific for the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR). An illustrative problem is solved. This problem consists of a PBR operating in a blowdown mode.

  5. Application of a bi-modal PBR nuclear propulsion and power system to military missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Venetoklis, Peter S.

    1995-01-01

    The rapid proliferation of arms technology and space access combined with current economic realities in the United States are creating ever greater demands for more capable space-based military assets. The paper illustrates that bi-modal nuclear propulsion and power based on the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR) is a high-leverage tehcnology that can maximize utility while minimizing cost. Mission benefits offered by the bi-modal PBR, including enhanced maneuverability, lifetime, survivability, payload power, and operational flexibility, are discussed. The ability to deliver desired payloads on smaller boosters is also illustrated. System descriptions and parameters for 10 kWe and 100 kWe power output levels are summarized. It is demonstrated via design exercise that bi-modal PBR dramtically enhances performance of a military satellite in geosynchronous orbit, increasing payload mass, payload power, and maneuverability.

  6. Trade Studies for a Manned High-Power Nuclear Electric Propulsion Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    SanSoucie, Michael; Hull, Patrick V.; Irwin, Ryan W.; TInker, Michael L.; Patton, Bruce W.

    2005-01-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) vehicles will be needed for future manned missions to Mars and beyond. Candidate vehicles must be identified through trade studies for further detailed design from a large array of possibilities. Genetic algorithms have proven their utility in conceptual design studies by effectively searching a large design space to pinpoint unique optimal designs. This research combines analysis codes for NEP subsystems with genetic algorithm-based optimization. Trade studies for a NEP reference mission to the asteroids were conducted to identify important trends, and to determine the effects of various technologies and subsystems on vehicle performance. It was found that the electric thruster type and thruster performance have a major impact on the achievable system performance, and that significant effort in thruster research and development is merited.

  7. KINETIC -- a system code for analyzing Nuclear Thermal Propulsion rocket engine transients

    SciTech Connect

    Schmidt, E.; Lazareth, O.; Ludewig, H.

    1993-07-01

    A system code suitable for analyzing Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) rocket engines is described in this paper. The code consists of a point reactor model and nodes to describe the fluid dynamics and heat transfer mechanism. Feedback from the fuel coolant, moderator and reflector are allowed for, and the control of the reactor is by motion of control elements (drums or rods). The worth of the control clement and feedback coefficients are predetermined. Separate models for the turbo-pump assembly (TPA) and nozzle are also included. The model to be described in this paper is specific for the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR). An illustrative problem is solved. This problem consists of a PBR operating in a blowdown mode.

  8. Kinetic---a system code for analyzing nuclear thermal propulsion rocket engine transients

    SciTech Connect

    Schmidt, E.; Lazareth, O.; Ludewig, H. )

    1993-01-20

    A system code suitable for analyzing Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) rocket engines is described in this paper. The code consists of a point reactor model and nodes to describe the fluid dynamics and heat transfer mechanism. Feedback from the fuel, coolant, moderator and reflector are allowed for, and the control of the reactor is by motion of controls element (drums or rods). The worth of the control element and feedback coefficients are predetermined. Separate models for the turbo-pump assembly (TPA) and nozzle are also included. The model to be described in this paper is specific for the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR). An illustrative problem is solved. This problem consists of a PBR operating in a blowdown mode.

  9. Preliminary Design of a Manned Nuclear Electric Propulsion Vehicle Using Genetic Algorithms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Irwin, Ryan W.; Tinker, Michael L.

    2005-02-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) vehicles will be needed for future manned missions to Mars and beyond. Candidate designs must be identified for further detailed design from a large array of possibilities. Genetic algorithms have proven their utility in conceptual design studies by effectively searching a large design space to pinpoint unique optimal designs. This research combined analysis codes for NEP subsystems with a genetic algorithm. The use of penalty functions with scaling ratios was investigated to increase computational efficiency. Also, the selection of design variables for optimization was considered to reduce computation time without losing beneficial design search space. Finally, trend analysis of a reference mission to the asteroids yielded a group of candidate designs for further analysis.

  10. Preliminary Design of a Manned Nuclear Electric Propulsion Vehicle Using Genetic Algorithms

    SciTech Connect

    Irwin, Ryan W.; Tinker, Michael L.

    2005-02-06

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) vehicles will be needed for future manned missions to Mars and beyond. Candidate designs must be identified for further detailed design from a large array of possibilities. Genetic algorithms have proven their utility in conceptual design studies by effectively searching a large design space to pinpoint unique optimal designs. This research combined analysis codes for NEP subsystems with a genetic algorithm. The use of penalty functions with scaling ratios was investigated to increase computational efficiency. Also, the selection of design variables for optimization was considered to reduce computation time without losing beneficial design search space. Finally, trend analysis of a reference mission to the asteroids yielded a group of candidate designs for further analysis.

  11. Preliminary Design of a Manned Nuclear Electric Propulsion Vehicle Using Genetic Algorithms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irwin, Ryan W.; Tinker, Michael L.

    2005-01-01

    Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) vehicles will be needed for future manned missions to Mars and beyond. Candidate designs must be identified for further detailed design from a large array of possibilities. Genetic algorithms have proven their utility in conceptual design studies by effectively searching a large design space to pinpoint unique optimal designs. This research combined analysis codes for NEP subsystems with a genetic algorithm. The use of penalty functions with scaling ratios was investigated to increase computational efficiency. Also, the selection of design variables for optimization was considered to reduce computation time without losing beneficial design search space. Finally, trend analysis of a reference mission to the asteroids yielded a group of candidate designs for further analysis.

  12. The ERDA thermionic program. [for nuclear propulsion and utility power plants

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Newby, G. A.

    1975-01-01

    A rationale for increased Federal support of thermionic research is considered and the objectives and milestones of the thermionic program of the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) are examined. The ERDA program is to provide very high specific power systems needed for planned future NASA nuclear electric propulsion missions. Another objective is the enhancement of the overall thermal conversion efficiency of the present utility power plants from approximately 35% to 50% or more. Attention is given to key problem areas, taking into account inadequate analytical tools, the reduction of the plasma arc-drop losses, aspects of hot shell materials development, and the coordination of the participating groups programmatic activities.

  13. Space nuclear thermal propulsion program. Final report, September 1989-May 1995

    SciTech Connect

    Haslett, R.A.

    1995-05-01

    The SNTP Program was an advanced technology development effort aimed at providing the Nation a new, dramatically higher performing rocket engine that would more than double the performance of the best conventional chemical rocket engines. The program consisted of three phases. Phase I ran from November 1987 through September 1989. The objective of this phase was to verify the feasibility of the Particle Bed Reactor (PBR) as the propulsion energy source for the upper stage of a ground-based Boost Phase Intercept (BPI) vehicle. The BPl mission was of interest to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) who sponsored the program. Phase II started under SDIO control and was transferred to the Air Force (AF) in October 1991. The BPI mission was de-emphasized, and engine requirements were revised to satisfy more general AF space missions. The goal of Phase II was to perform a ground demonstration of a prototypical PBR engine.

  14. A Review of Past Insights by Robert Forward and Current Advanced Propulsion Activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robertson, Tony; Norley, G. D.

    2003-01-01

    A review of various technologies discussed by Dr. Robert Forward is done as a tribute to Dr. Forward, and is based on selections from his writings. These speculations and predictions by Dr. Forward are used as a basis for discussing expected propulsion technology work over the next twenty years. Among the technologies to be discussed are antimatter propulsion, space elevators and tethers, and laser propulsion.

  15. 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

  16. Development of a propulsion system and component test facility for advanced radioisotope powered Mars Hopper platforms

    SciTech Connect

    Robert C. O'Brien; Nathan D. Jerred; Steven D. Howe

    2011-02-01

    Verification and validation of design and modeling activities for radioisotope powered Mars Hopper platforms undertaken at the Center for Space Nuclear Research is essential for proof of concept. Previous research at the center has driven the selection of advanced material combinations; some of which require specialized handling capabilities. The development of a closed and contained test facility to forward this research is discussed within this paper.

  17. Computational Design of Advanced Nuclear Fuels

    SciTech Connect

    Savrasov, Sergey; Kotliar, Gabriel; Haule, Kristjan

    2014-06-03

    The objective of the project was to develop a method for theoretical understanding of nuclear fuel materials whose physical and thermophysical properties can be predicted from first principles using a novel dynamical mean field method for electronic structure calculations. We concentrated our study on uranium, plutonium, their oxides, nitrides, carbides, as well as some rare earth materials whose 4f eletrons provide a simplified framework for understanding complex behavior of the f electrons. We addressed the issues connected to the electronic structure, lattice instabilities, phonon and magnon dynamics as well as thermal conductivity. This allowed us to evaluate characteristics of advanced nuclear fuel systems using computer based simulations and avoid costly experiments.

  18. A Preliminary Model for Spacecraft Propulsion Performance Analysis Based on Nuclear Gain and Subsystem Mass-Power Balances

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chakrabarti, S.; Schmidt, G. R.; Thio, Y. C.; Hurst, C. M.

    1999-01-01

    Rapid transportation of human crews to destinations throughout the solar system will require propulsion systems having not only very high exhaust velocities (i.e., I(sub sp) >= 10(exp 4) to 10(exp 5) sec) but also extremely low mass-power ratios (i.e., alpha <= 10(exp -2) kg/kW). These criteria are difficult to meet with electric propulsion and other power-limited systems, but may be achievable with propulsion concepts that use onboard power to produce a net gain in energy via fusion or some other nuclear process. This paper compares the fundamental performance of these gain-limited systems with that of power-limited systems, and determines from a generic power balance the gains required for ambitious planetary missions ranging up to 100 AU. Results show that energy gain reduces the required effective mass-power ratio of the system, thus enabling shorter trip times than those of power-limited concepts.

  19. An Integrated Analysis of a NERVA Based Nuclear Thermal Propulsion System

    SciTech Connect

    Ludewig, Hans; Cheng, L.-Y.; Ecker, Lynne; Todosow, Michael

    2006-01-20

    This paper presents results and conclusions derived from an integrated analysis of a NERVA based Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) system. The NTP system is sized to generate a thrust of 70,000 N (15,000 lbf), and have a specific impulse (Isp) of 860 s. This implies a reactor that operates at 350 MWth and has a mixed mean propellant outlet temperature of 2760 K. The integrated analysis will require that self-consistent neutronic/thermal-hydraulic/stress analyses be carried out. The major code packages used in this analysis are MCNP, RELAP, and ANSYS. Results from this analysis indicate that nuclear data will have to be re-generated to cover the wide temperature range, zone loading will be necessary to avoid entering the liquidus region for the fuel, and the effectiveness of the ZrC insulator will have implications for bi-modal applications. These results suggest a path forward in the development of a viable NTP system based on a NERVA reactor should initially concentrate on fuel and structural materials and associated coating development. A series of safety related criticality determinations were carried out addressing water immersion following a launch incident.

  20. An examination of bimodal nuclear power and propulsion benefits for outer solar system missions

    SciTech Connect

    Zubrin, R.; Mondt, J.

    1996-03-01

    This paper presents the results of an analysis of the capability of nuclear bimodal systems to perform outer solar system exploration missions. Missions of interest include orbiter missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. An initial technology baseline consisting of the NEBA 10 kWe, 1000 N thrust, 850 s, 1500 kg bimodal system was selected, and its performance examined against a data base for trajectories to outer solar system planetary destinations to select optimal direct and gravity assisted trajectories for study. A conceptual design for a common bimodal spacecraft capable of performing missions to all the planetary destinations was developed and made the basis of end to end mission designs for orbiter missions to Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. All mission designs considered use the Atlas 2AS for launch. The radiological hazard associated with using Earth gravity assists on such missions was examined and shown to be small compared to that currently accepted on Earth fly-by missions involving RTGs. It is shown that the bimodal nuclear power and propulsion system offers many attractive options for planetary missions, including both conventional planetary missions in which all instruments are carried by a single primary orbiting spacecraft, and unconventional missions in which the primary spacecraft acts as a carrier, relay, and mother ship for a fleet of micro spacecraft deployed at the planetary destination. {copyright} {ital 1996 American Institute of Physics.}