skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: General-Purpose Heat Source development: Extended series test program large fragment tests

Abstract

General-Purpose Heat Source radioisotope thermoelectric generators (GPHS-RTGs) will provide electric power for the NASA Galileo and European Space Agency Ulysses missions. Each GPHS-RTG comprises two major components: GPHS modules, which provide thermal energy, and a thermoelectric converter, which converts the thermal energy into electric power. Each of the 18 GPHS modules in a GPHS-RTG contains four /sup 238/PuO/sub 2/-fueled capsules. LANL conducted a series of safety verification tests on the GPHS-RTG before the scheduled May 1986 launch of the Galileo spacecraft to assess the ability of the GPHS modules to contain the plutonia in potential accident environments. As a result of the Challenger 51-L accident in January 1986, NASA postponed the launch of Galileo; the launch vehicle was reconfigured and the spacecraft trajectory was modified. These actions prompted NASA to reevaluate potential mission accidents, and an extended series safety test program was initiated. The program included a series of large fragment tests that simulated the collision of solid rocket booster (SRB) fragments, generated in an SRB motor case rupture or resulting from a range safety officer SRB destruct action, with the GPHS-RTG. The tests indicated that fueled clads, inside a converter, will not breach or release fuel after a squaremore » (142 cm on a side) SRB fragment impacts flat-on at velocities up to 212 m/s, and that only the leading fueled capsules breach and release fuel after the square SRB fragment impacts the modules, inside the converter, edge-on at 95 m/s. 8 refs., 32 figs., 7 tabs.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab., NM (USA)
OSTI Identifier:
5857636
Report Number(s):
LA-11597-MS
ON: DE89014000
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Portions of this document are illegible in microfiche products
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
07 ISOTOPES AND RADIATION SOURCES; RADIOISOTOPE HEAT SOURCES; IMPACT TESTS; ACCIDENTS; NASA; PLUTONIUM DIOXIDE; REENTRY; SPACECRAFT POWER SUPPLIES; TESTING; THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS; ACTINIDE COMPOUNDS; CHALCOGENIDES; DIRECT ENERGY CONVERTERS; ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT; EQUIPMENT; HEAT SOURCES; MATERIALS TESTING; MECHANICAL TESTS; NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS; OXIDES; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; PLUTONIUM COMPOUNDS; PLUTONIUM OXIDES; POWER SUPPLIES; TRANSURANIUM COMPOUNDS; US ORGANIZATIONS; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 070300* - Isotopic Power Supplies

Citation Formats

Cull, T A. General-Purpose Heat Source development: Extended series test program large fragment tests. United States: N. p., 1989. Web. doi:10.2172/5857636.
Cull, T A. General-Purpose Heat Source development: Extended series test program large fragment tests. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/5857636
Cull, T A. Tue . "General-Purpose Heat Source development: Extended series test program large fragment tests". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/5857636. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/5857636.
@article{osti_5857636,
title = {General-Purpose Heat Source development: Extended series test program large fragment tests},
author = {Cull, T A},
abstractNote = {General-Purpose Heat Source radioisotope thermoelectric generators (GPHS-RTGs) will provide electric power for the NASA Galileo and European Space Agency Ulysses missions. Each GPHS-RTG comprises two major components: GPHS modules, which provide thermal energy, and a thermoelectric converter, which converts the thermal energy into electric power. Each of the 18 GPHS modules in a GPHS-RTG contains four /sup 238/PuO/sub 2/-fueled capsules. LANL conducted a series of safety verification tests on the GPHS-RTG before the scheduled May 1986 launch of the Galileo spacecraft to assess the ability of the GPHS modules to contain the plutonia in potential accident environments. As a result of the Challenger 51-L accident in January 1986, NASA postponed the launch of Galileo; the launch vehicle was reconfigured and the spacecraft trajectory was modified. These actions prompted NASA to reevaluate potential mission accidents, and an extended series safety test program was initiated. The program included a series of large fragment tests that simulated the collision of solid rocket booster (SRB) fragments, generated in an SRB motor case rupture or resulting from a range safety officer SRB destruct action, with the GPHS-RTG. The tests indicated that fueled clads, inside a converter, will not breach or release fuel after a square (142 cm on a side) SRB fragment impacts flat-on at velocities up to 212 m/s, and that only the leading fueled capsules breach and release fuel after the square SRB fragment impacts the modules, inside the converter, edge-on at 95 m/s. 8 refs., 32 figs., 7 tabs.},
doi = {10.2172/5857636},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/5857636}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1989},
month = {8}
}