Progress Toward the Evolution of a Stirling Space Engine 880545
Following the successful testing of the 25 kWe Space Power Demonstrator (SPD) engine in 1985, a Stirling Space Engine (SSE) technology advancement program was initiated. The program's objective was to advance free-piston Stirling engine/alternator technology sufficiently so that a Stirling engine system may become a viable candidate for space power applications.
Evolution of the SSE technology is planned to occur at three different engine heater temperature levels: 650, 1050, and 1300 K. These temperatures define three phases of technology development with the first phase involving the 650 K SPD engine. Technology development of the 650 K engine and preliminary design of the 1050 K engine will be discussed in this paper.