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Title: NUCLEAR ELECTRIC SPACECRAFT FOR UNMANNED PLANETARY AND INTERPLANETARY MISSIONS

Abstract

>Advanced electric propulsion spacecraft are shown to exhibit a unique capability in performing planetary and interplanetary missions. In particular, performance analyses initial weight can perform all fifteen high-energy missions which are of interest to space scientists. Comparable chemical and nuclear heat exchanger spacecraft can perform only seven and nine of these missions, respectively. Based on what are believed to be realistic estimates of system weight, the two powerplant types considered, thermionic and turbogenerator, appear to have comparable specific weights (12 to 14 lb/kwe) at the 0.3 to 1.5 Mwe power level. This provides a strong incentive to adequately support both concepts, at least in the early phases of research and development. System considerations regarding the utilization of these powerplants indicate a preference for the static (thermionic) type. For example, attitude control requirements of the spacecraft are minimized with the thermionic system by eliminating rotating mechanical devices and by providing a smaller radiator area, thus a less severe dynamic stability problem at the same power level. Probably the most important factor is the inherent reliability associated with a static system. In addition, demonstration of this reliability is feasible in ground testing. Because low-thrust propulsion units must operate for unusually long times,more » this factor will be extremely important. It is recognized that many problems exist in developing a flyable thermionic or turbogenerator powerplant, however, based on the preceding arguments, a highly accelerated research and development program for both systems is deemed warranted. (auth)« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
California Inst. of Tech., Pasadena. Jet Propulsion Lab.
OSTI Identifier:
4757862
Report Number(s):
JPL-TR-32-281
NSA Number:
NSA-16-032611
DOE Contract Number:  
NAS-7-100
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Orig. Receipt Date: 31-DEC-62
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
SPACE APPLICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY; CHEMICALS; CONTROL; ELECTRICITY; GENERATORS; HEAT EXCHANGERS; JETS; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; MAN; PLANETS; POWER; PROPULSION; REACTORS; SPACE FLIGHT; SPACE VEHICLES; STABILITY; SURFACES; TESTING; THERMIONICS; THERMOELECTRIC CELLS; TURBINES; WEIGHT

Citation Formats

Spencer, D F, Jaffe, L D, Lucas, J W, Merrill, O S, and Shafer, J I. NUCLEAR ELECTRIC SPACECRAFT FOR UNMANNED PLANETARY AND INTERPLANETARY MISSIONS. United States: N. p., 1962. Web.
Spencer, D F, Jaffe, L D, Lucas, J W, Merrill, O S, & Shafer, J I. NUCLEAR ELECTRIC SPACECRAFT FOR UNMANNED PLANETARY AND INTERPLANETARY MISSIONS. United States.
Spencer, D F, Jaffe, L D, Lucas, J W, Merrill, O S, and Shafer, J I. Wed . "NUCLEAR ELECTRIC SPACECRAFT FOR UNMANNED PLANETARY AND INTERPLANETARY MISSIONS". United States.
@article{osti_4757862,
title = {NUCLEAR ELECTRIC SPACECRAFT FOR UNMANNED PLANETARY AND INTERPLANETARY MISSIONS},
author = {Spencer, D F and Jaffe, L D and Lucas, J W and Merrill, O S and Shafer, J I},
abstractNote = {>Advanced electric propulsion spacecraft are shown to exhibit a unique capability in performing planetary and interplanetary missions. In particular, performance analyses initial weight can perform all fifteen high-energy missions which are of interest to space scientists. Comparable chemical and nuclear heat exchanger spacecraft can perform only seven and nine of these missions, respectively. Based on what are believed to be realistic estimates of system weight, the two powerplant types considered, thermionic and turbogenerator, appear to have comparable specific weights (12 to 14 lb/kwe) at the 0.3 to 1.5 Mwe power level. This provides a strong incentive to adequately support both concepts, at least in the early phases of research and development. System considerations regarding the utilization of these powerplants indicate a preference for the static (thermionic) type. For example, attitude control requirements of the spacecraft are minimized with the thermionic system by eliminating rotating mechanical devices and by providing a smaller radiator area, thus a less severe dynamic stability problem at the same power level. Probably the most important factor is the inherent reliability associated with a static system. In addition, demonstration of this reliability is feasible in ground testing. Because low-thrust propulsion units must operate for unusually long times, this factor will be extremely important. It is recognized that many problems exist in developing a flyable thermionic or turbogenerator powerplant, however, based on the preceding arguments, a highly accelerated research and development program for both systems is deemed warranted. (auth)},
doi = {},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/4757862}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1962},
month = {4}
}

Technical Report:
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