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However, it seems unlikely that all of the and the budget for the remaining RPS technologies was cut. Indeed, come to pass. Thus, the actual shortfall is likely to be with the central and more pressing issue that threatens the future of RPS-powered missions: Griffin to Secretary of Energy Samuel D. Bodman, April 29, reprinted in Appendix C.

The next space missions. The RPS pro- verifies that all credible life-limiting mechanisms have been gram and mission planners should jointly develop a set identified and assessed, and demonstrate that ASRGs are of flight-readiness requirements for RPSs in general and ready for flight. In lieu of any formal guidance or require- Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generators in particular, as ments concerning what constitutes flight readiness, ongoing well as a plan and a timetable for meeting the requirements. This plan establishment of formal guidance for flight certification of should include, for example:.

ASRG reliability, power, power degradation, electrical inter- Development.


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Spacecraft require electrical energy. This energy must be available in the outer reaches of the solar system where sunlight is very faint. It must be available through lunar nights that last for 14 days, through long periods of dark and cold at the higher latitudes on Mars, and in high-radiation fields such as those around Jupiter.

Radioisotope power systems RPSs are the only available power source that can operate unconstrained in these environments for the long periods of time needed to accomplish many missions, and plutonium Pu is the only practical isotope for fueling them. Plutonium does not occur in nature. The committee does not believe that there is any additional Pu or any operational Pu production facilities available anywhere in the world.

Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration

The total amount of Pu available for NASA is fixed, and essentially all of it is already dedicated to support several pending missions--the Mars Science Laboratory, Discovery 12, the Outer Planets Flagship 1 OPF 1 , and perhaps a small number of additional missions with a very small demand for Pu. If the status quo persists, the United States will not be able to provide RPSs for any subsequent missions. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

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Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration

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Radioisotope Power Systems An Imperative for Maintaining U S Leadership in Space Exploration

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Spacecraft require electrical energy. This energy must be available in the outer reaches of the solar system where sunlight is very faint. It must be available through lunar nights that last for 14 days, through long periods of dark and cold at the higher latitudes on Mars, and in high-radiation fields such as those around Jupiter. Radioisotope power systems RPSs are the only available power source that can operate unconstrained in these environments for the long periods of time needed to accomplish many missions, and plutonium Pu is the only practical isotope for fueling them.

Plutonium does not occur in nature. The committee does not believe that there is any additional Pu or any operational Pu production facilities available anywhere in the world. The total amount of Pu available for NASA is fixed, and essentially all of it is already dedicated to support several pending missions--the Mars Science Laboratory, Discovery 12, the Outer Planets Flagship 1 OPF 1 , and perhaps a small number of additional missions with a very small demand for Pu.