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Space Fission Power Post #8:Second Generation Space Fission Power (SFP) Systems

17 Apr 2012, 03:40 UTC
Space Fission Power Post #8:Second Generation Space Fission Power (SFP) Systems
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The previous set blog posts were focused on the need for space fission power (SFP) systems and the entry-level systems that could establish their use in space. There are numerous potential applications of SFP systems that could be performed by second generation systems; i.e. systems that are hard to develop affordably from scratch, but rather easy to develop after the technology, infrastructure, and programmatic precedent has been established for an entry-level system. One of the main anticipated uses of second generation systems are high power science mission systems that produce 10 kWe to 200 kWe at specific powers of 25 to 100 W/kg. This class of reactor might be referred to as “traditional” space reactors, which has been the focus of two significant US space reactor efforts: SP-100 and JIMO. These SFP concepts were deemed too expensive to continue development generally because of material issues associated with high temperatures and the need for a nuclear-powered ground test. First and second generation SFP systems have many potential uses, some of which are included below.Ambitious space science and exploration.- Mars/lunar/asteroid surface power/propulsion (robotic and manned).- Outer-planet missions: Jupiter/Saturn moon orbiters/landers, Pluto orbiter, etc.- Interstellar precursor or near-Sun missions.Enhanced national and planetary defense.- ...

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