Design of Isotope Heat Source for Automatic Modular Dispersal During Reentry, and Its Integration with Heat Exchangers of 6-kWe Dynamic Isotope Power System [report]

Alfred Schock
1989 unpublished
In late 1986 the Air Force Space Division (AF/SD) had expressed an interest in using a Dynamic Isotope Power System (DIPS) of approximately 6 kWe to power the Boost Surveillance and Tracking System (BSTS) satellites. In support of that objective, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requested Fairchild Space Company to perform a conceptual design study of the DIPS heat source and of its integration with the dynamic power conversion system, with particular emphasis on system safety. This paper
more » ... fety. This paper describes the results of that study. The study resulted in a design for a single heat source of ~30 kWt, employing the standard 250 W General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules which DOE had previously developed and safetytested for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators. A scheme was devised for holding the individual heat source modules together during launch but automatically releasing them during reentry, so as to minimize their impact velocity., The ability of that scheme to withstand 3axis launch vibration to 25 G(rms) was demonstrated in vibration tests using GPHS module mockups of prototypical size, mass, and wear surfaces. The heat source design also contains passive provisions against overheating in case active cooling is lost. Designs were developed for integrating the sealed heat source with Brayton, Rankine, and thermoelectrically topped Rankine conversion systems. The heat source and conversion system are discrete assemblies, produced and tested separately, and joined at the launch site.
doi:10.2172/1033407 fatcat:yvmydwlkbbhurmpgjueqr5zoom