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Title: Advanced hybrid nuclear propulsion Mars mission performance enhancement

Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP), compared with chemical and nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), can effectively deliver the same mass to Mars using much less propellant, consequently requiring less mass delivered to Earth orbit. The lower thrust of NEP requires a spiral trajectory near planetary bodies, which significantly increases the travel time. Although the total travel time is long, the portion of the flight time spent during interplanetary transfer is shorter, because the vehicle is thrusting for much longer periods of time. This has led to the supposition that NEP, although very attractive for cargo missions, is not suitable for piloted missions to Mars. However, with the application of a hybrid approach to propulsion, the benefits of NEP can be utilized while drastically reducing the overall travel time required. Development of a dual-mode system, which utilizes high-thrust NTP to propel the spacecraft from the planetary gravitational influence and low-thrust NEP to accelerate in interplanetary space, eliminates the spiral trajectory and results in a much faster transit time than could be obtained by either NEP or NTP alone. This results in a mission profile with a lower initial mass in low Earth orbit. In addition, the propulsion system would have the capability tomore » provide electrical power for mission applications.« less
Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
7144807
Report Number(s):
PNL-SA-20523; CONF-9208114--4
ON: DE93001309
DOE Contract Number:
AC06-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: American Nuclear Society meeting, Jackson Hole, WY (United States), 16-19 Aug 1992
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest Lab., Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
DOE; USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; HYBRID SYSTEMS; FEASIBILITY STUDIES; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; SPACE PROPULSION REACTORS; EXPLORATION; MARS PLANET; SPACE FLIGHT; SPACE TRANSPORT; SPACECRAFT POWER SUPPLIES; ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT; EQUIPMENT; MOBILE REACTORS; PLANETS; POWER REACTORS; POWER SUPPLIES; PROPULSION REACTORS; REACTORS; SPACE POWER REACTORS; TRANSPORT NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems 210600* -- Power Reactors, Auxiliary, Mobile Package, & Transportable