679 K
32 pp.
 
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TitleNuclear Power in Space
Publication Date1994
Report NumberDOE/NE-0071
Unique IdentifierACC0477
Sponsoring OrgU.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology
Other InformationPublication Date is estimated.
KeywordsRTG, Pioneer, Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo, Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, Space, Nuclear Power Generators
Related Web PagesRTG -- History, the Curiosity, and New Horizons
AbstractIn the early years of the United States space program, lightweight batteries, fuel cells, and solar modules provided electric power for space missions. As missions became more ambitious and complex, power needs increased and scientists investigated various options to meet these challenging power requirements. One of the options was nuclear energy. By the mid-1950s, research had begun in earnest on ways to use nuclear power in space. These efforts resulted in the first radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs), which are nuclear power generators build specifically for space and special terrestrial uses. These RTGs convert the heat generated from the natural decay of their radioactive fuel into electricity. RTGs have powered many spacecraft used for exploring the outer planets of the solar system and orbiting the sun and Earth. They have also landed on Mars and the moon. They provide the power that enables us to see and learn about even the farthermost objects in our solar system.
679 K
32 pp.
 
View Document 
  


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