Trade Studies for a Manned High-Power Nuclear Electric Propulsion Vehicle

Michael SanSoucie, Patrick Hull, Ryan Irwin, Michael Tinker, Bruce Patton
2005 1st Space Exploration Conference: Continuing the Voyage of Discovery   unpublished
Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) vehicles will be needed for future manned missions to Mars and beyond. Candidate vehicles must be identified through trade studies for further detailed design from a large array of possibilities. Genetic algorithms have proven their utility in conceptual design studies by effectively searching a large design space to pinpoint unique optimal designs. This research combines analysis codes for NEP subsystems with genetic algorithm-based optimization. Trade studies
more » ... for a NEP reference mission to the asteroids were conducted to identify important trends, and to determine the effects of various technologies and subsystems on vehicle performance. It was found that the electric thruster type and thruster performance have a major impact on the achievable system performance, and that significant effort in thruster research and development is merited. Nomenclature AU L1 MPD NEP NE VOT PMAD P SRPS xdesign Xcomtroint astronomical units Lagrange point magnetoplasmadynamic nuclear electric propulsion nuclear electric vehicle optimization toolset power management and distribution penalty ratio space reactor power system calculated value of vehicle or mission parameter target or constraint value of vehicle or mission parameter
doi:10.2514/6.2005-2729 fatcat:7ssva7tzgjghnaqpcreutbh2n4