Nuclear Power Systems for Manned Mission to Mars
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
Pagination or Media Count:
Nuclear power is the next enabling technology in manned exploration of the solar system. Scientists and engineers continue to design multi-megawatt power systems, yet no power system in the 100 kilowatt, electric range has been built and flown. Technology demonstrations and studies leave a myriad of systems from which decision makers can choose to build the first manned space nuclear power system. While many subsystem engineers plan in parallel, an accurate specific mass value becomes an important design specification, which is still uncertain. This thesis goes through the design features of the manned Mars mission, its power system requirements, their design attributes as well as their design faults. Specific mass is calculated statistically as well as empirically for 1-15MWe systems. Conclusions are presented on each subsystem as well as recommendations for decision makers on where development needs to begin today in order for the mission to launch in the future.
- Nuclear Propulsion