100-kWe Lunar/Mars Surface Power Utilizing the SP-100 Reactor with Dynamic Conversion 929446
An integration study was performed coupling an SP-100 reactor with either a Brayton or Stirling power conversion subsystem. A power level of 100 kWe was selected for the study. The power system was to be compatible with both the lunar and Mars surface environment and require no site preparation. In addition, the reactor was to have integral shielding and be completely self-contained, including its own auxiliary power for start-up. Initial reliability studies were performed to determine power conversion redundancy and engine module size. Previous studies were used to select the power conversion optimum operating conditions (ratio of hot-side temperature to cold-side temperature). Results of the study indicated that either the Brayton or Stirling power conversion subsystems could be integrated with the SP-100 reactor for either a lunar or Mars surface power application. For the lunar environment, the reactor and primary coolant loop would be contained in a guard vessel to protect from a loss of primary loop containment. For the Mars environment, all refractory components including the reactor, primary coolant, and power conversion components would be contained in a vacuum vessel for protection against the CO2 environment. The vacuum would be maintained by an active ion pumping system. These active ion vacuum systems have no moving parts and have a long history of reliable operation.