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Title: A development approach for nuclear thermal propulsion

Abstract

The cost and time to develop nuclear thermal propulsion systems are very approach dependent. The objectives addressed are the development of an ``acceptable`` nuclear thermal propulsion system that can be used as part of the transportation system for people to explore Mars and the enhancement performance of other missions, within highly constrained budgets and schedules. To accomplish this, it was necessary to identify the cost drivers considering mission parameters, safety of the crew, mission success, facility availability and time and cost to construct new facilities, qualification criteria, status of technologies, management structure, and use of such system engineering techniques as concurrent engineering.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
EG and G Idaho, Inc., Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
10170221
Report Number(s):
EGG-M-92359; CONF-9208114-1
ON: DE92018020
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-76ID01570
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: American Nuclear Society meeting,Jackson Hole, WY (United States),16-19 Aug 1992; Other Information: PBD: [1992]
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; SPACE PROPULSION REACTORS; RESEARCH PROGRAMS; COST; REACTOR SAFETY; PERFORMANCE; TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT; SCHEDULES; TEST FACILITIES; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 210600; POWER REACTORS, MOBILE, PROPULSION, PACKAGE, AND TRANSPORTABLE

Citation Formats

Buden, D. A development approach for nuclear thermal propulsion. United States: N. p., 1992. Web.
Buden, D. A development approach for nuclear thermal propulsion. United States.
Buden, D. Tue . "A development approach for nuclear thermal propulsion". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10170221.
@article{osti_10170221,
title = {A development approach for nuclear thermal propulsion},
author = {Buden, D.},
abstractNote = {The cost and time to develop nuclear thermal propulsion systems are very approach dependent. The objectives addressed are the development of an ``acceptable`` nuclear thermal propulsion system that can be used as part of the transportation system for people to explore Mars and the enhancement performance of other missions, within highly constrained budgets and schedules. To accomplish this, it was necessary to identify the cost drivers considering mission parameters, safety of the crew, mission success, facility availability and time and cost to construct new facilities, qualification criteria, status of technologies, management structure, and use of such system engineering techniques as concurrent engineering.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 1992},
month = {Tue Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 1992}
}

Conference:
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  • The cost and time to develop nuclear thermal propulsion systems are very approach dependent. The objectives addressed are the development of an acceptable'' nuclear thermal propulsion system that can be used as part of the transportation system for people to explore Mars and the enhancement performance of other missions, within highly constrained budgets and schedules. To accomplish this, it was necessary to identify the cost drivers considering mission parameters, safety of the crew, mission success, facility availability and time and cost to construct new facilities, qualification criteria, status of technologies, management structure, and use of such system engineering techniques asmore » concurrent engineering.« less
  • 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 safetymore » 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.« less
  • Test facility requirements to support the development of nuclear propulsion have been evaluated and shortfalls within current test facility capabilities identified. The development of a nonnuclear heat source capable of heating the high-pressure, high mass flowrate hydrogen propellant to the required operating temperature has been identified as a key enabling technology. Other significant issues identified were the safety aspects associated with the cooling, pumping, and disposal of the hot hydrogen exhaust gas. The rocket test facilities at the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) were evaluated to determine the ability to support the operationally realistic testing of 'nonirradiated'more » nuclear propulsion components and/or subassemblies under simulated altitude conditions. An overview of the results from this evaluation process is presented herein. 3 refs.« less
  • 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.more » 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.« less
  • 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 fuelmore » 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.« less