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Title: Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power Lunar applications

Abstract

NASA`s Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) has proposed the use of high power nuclear power systems on the lunar surface as a necessary alternative to solar power. Because of the long lunar night ({approximately} 14 earth days) solar powered systems with the requisite energy storage in the form of regenerative fuel cells or batteries becomes prohibitively heavy at high power levels ({approximately} 100 kWe). At these high power levels nuclear power systems become an enabling technology for variety of missions. One way of producing power on the lunar surface is with an SP-100 class reactor coupled with Stirling power converters. In this study, analysis and characterization of the SP-100 class reactor coupled with Free Piston Stirling Power Conversion (FPSPC) system will be performed. Comparison of results with previous studies of other systems, particularly Brayton and Thermionic, are made.

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Sverdrup Technology, Inc., Brook Park, OH (United States). Lewis Research Center Group
  2. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cleveland, OH (United States). Lewis Research Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cleveland, OH (United States). Lewis Research Center
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States); National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
10181300
Report Number(s):
NASA-TM-103698; CONF-910116-32
ON: DE94051230; TRN: 94:008303
DOE Contract Number:
AI03-86SF16310
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 8. symposium on space nuclear power systems,Albuquerque, NM (United States),6-10 Jan 1991; Other Information: PBD: [1994]
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; SPACE POWER REACTORS; DESIGN; STIRLING ENGINES; TESTING; TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT; REACTOR COMPONENTS; LUNA SPACE PROBES; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 210600; 330201; POWER REACTORS, MOBILE, PROPULSION, PACKAGE, AND TRANSPORTABLE; STIRLING CYCLE

Citation Formats

Schmitz, P.D., and Mason, L.S. Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power Lunar applications. United States: N. p., 1994. Web.
Schmitz, P.D., & Mason, L.S. Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power Lunar applications. United States.
Schmitz, P.D., and Mason, L.S. Thu . "Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power Lunar applications". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10181300.
@article{osti_10181300,
title = {Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power Lunar applications},
author = {Schmitz, P.D. and Mason, L.S.},
abstractNote = {NASA`s Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) has proposed the use of high power nuclear power systems on the lunar surface as a necessary alternative to solar power. Because of the long lunar night ({approximately} 14 earth days) solar powered systems with the requisite energy storage in the form of regenerative fuel cells or batteries becomes prohibitively heavy at high power levels ({approximately} 100 kWe). At these high power levels nuclear power systems become an enabling technology for variety of missions. One way of producing power on the lunar surface is with an SP-100 class reactor coupled with Stirling power converters. In this study, analysis and characterization of the SP-100 class reactor coupled with Free Piston Stirling Power Conversion (FPSPC) system will be performed. Comparison of results with previous studies of other systems, particularly Brayton and Thermionic, are made.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 1994},
month = {Thu Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 1994}
}

Conference:
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  • It is desired to estimate performance and mass of a 550 kWe SP-100/Stirling nuclear power lunar base. Mass and efficiency estimates are made by modeling the components as a function of thermal or electrical power output requirements. It is found that utilizing a 1050 K heater head the total system mass is 13537 kg. For the 1300 K heater head temperature the system mass is 11474 kg. Mass and radiator area comparisons are made with a SP-100/Brayton and an Incore thermionic reactor. Two technology levels are looked at which correspond to low and high temperature systems (for the thermionic systemmore » it also includes a increase in thermionic output voltage). Stirling converter systems are the lightest of the low temperatures systems. At higher temperatures all of the systems masses are similar. Thermionic systems always produced the smallest radiators because of their high heat rejection temperature with Stirling systems coming in a close second.« less
  • The purpose of this analysis was to determine the mass and reliability characteristics of nuclear reactor/Stirling cycle power plant configurations that could provide 800 kW of electricity for a proposed National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lunar surface base. The specific goal of the work was to define and characterize minimum mass power plant configurations that could provide an acceptable system reliability risk. A generic power plant design concept that exhibited potential construction feasibility and met human-rated radiation dose criteria was developed to serve as the basis for the power plant configurations assessed in this study. A combinatorial reliability analysismore » model based on parallel, redundant, series, and r-out-of-n system and component configurations was used to improve system reliability to an acceptable risk level. As a result of this study, an increased awareness of the importance of reliability analyses on high-capacity space power system design configurations has evolved, and future NASA mission application studies requiring high power levels for electric propulsion and orbital or planetary surface operations will benefit from this type of analysis.« less
  • A computer simulation was performed on a kinematic Stirling heat pump (modified from the GPU-3 heat engine mode) using the NASA third-order code. The effects of outdoor air temperature, mean gas pressure, crank speed, dead volume, and working-space isothermalization were investigated. It was found that COP and heat capacity were relatively insensitive to outdoor air temperatures.
  • A computer simulation was performed on a kinematic Stirling heat pump (modified from the GPU-3 heat engine mode) using the NASA third-order code. The effects of outdoor air temperature, mean gas pressure, crank speed, dead volume, and working-space isothermalization were investigated. It was found that COP and heat capacity were relatively insensitive to outdoor air temperatures.
  • This paper presents the past history, present status and future prospects for closed Brayton cycle power conversion systems to be used in space when requirements have been established. Since there is a classic lack of coordination between advanced technology and its perceived need that can be strongly affected by associated factors, recommendations will be made to assist in the current situation. 4 refs.