Radioisotope Power Subsystems for Space Application 650791

Space power requirements in the 0.1–10 kw regime are imminent. Radioisotope power subsystems potentially satisfy these requirements. This paper examines the technical advancements necessary to realize the potential utility of radioisotope power subsystems.
Isotope heat source and conversion devices are considered. A survey of isotope production costs and rates is presented. Isotope heat source, cladding compatibility, and operational safety requirements are reviewed. The performance of the Brayton (argon) and Rankine (mercury and Dowtherm “A”) cycles is outlined. Thermoelectric and thermionic converter performance is also reviewed.


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