- Conference date: 26-30 Jan 1997
- Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA)
A terrestrial reactor that uses the same design approach as the Heatpipe Power System (HPS) may have applications both on earth and on other planetary surfaces. The baseline HPS is a potential, near-term, low-cost space fission power system. The system will be composed of independent modules, and all components operate within the existing database. The HPS has relatively few system integration issues; thus, the successful development of a module is a significant step toward verifying system feasibility and performance estimates. A prototypic, refractory-metal HPS module is being fabricated, and testing is scheduled to begin in November 1996. A successful test will provide high confidence that the HPS can achieve its predicted performance. An HPS incorporating superalloys will be better suited for some terrestrial or planetary applications. Fabrication and testing of a superalloy HPS module should be less challenging than that of the refractory metal module. A superalloy HPS core capable of delivering to a power conversion subsystem could be fabricated for about $500k (unfueled). Tests of the core with electric heat (used to simulate heat from fission) could demonstrate normal and off-normal operation of the core, including the effects of heatpipe failure. A power conversion system also could be coupled to the core to demonstrate full system operation.
- Power systems
- Testing procedures
- Physics demonstrations
- Planetary surfaces
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