Author Topic: NASA's LEU NTP Mars spacecraft  (Read 963 times)

Offline BeyondNERVA

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NASA's LEU NTP Mars spacecraft
« on: 05/25/2018 06:33 PM »
Continuing my blog posts on NASA's nuclear thermal spacecraft for Mars, I did a writeup of the spacecraft itself, focusing on the spacecraft itself this time, especially propellant tank architecture, main reactor radiation shield, and a breakdown of the modules used to construct the spacecraft itself.

It's amazing how similar the spacecraft has stayed for almost 20 years (it's VERY similar to the Copernicus-A concept that Stan Borowski came up with at then- Lewis Research Center in the 90s, and also very similar to the Arthur C Clarke concept used as the basis for The Martian, just using a different crew habitation module and artificial gravity method - tumbling pigeon instead of longitudinal rotation)

What does everyone think of the spacecraft? What are the improvements that could be made?

https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/leu-ntp-part-three-spacecraft-overview/

Previous posts focused on the new nuclear fuel element materials to be able to use low-enriched uranium:

https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/leu-ntp-part-two-cermet-fuel-nasas-path-to-nuclear-thermal-propulsion/

And a brief history of NTP at NASA

https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/leu-ntp-nasas-new-nuclear-rocket-part-1-where-weve-been-before/

Offline speedevil

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Re: NASA's LEU NTP Mars spacecraft
« Reply #1 on: 05/25/2018 08:14 PM »
An interesting post I have to read carefully.
As a related question - is there a link to all of these somewhere - there seems to be no clear way to get a list of all articles.

Offline BeyondNERVA

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Re: NASA's LEU NTP Mars spacecraft
« Reply #2 on: 05/25/2018 08:26 PM »
Sadly, no. The downsides to having the free WordPress account. I listed all three of the NTP blog posts in the OP. There's two more pages, one for NTRs in general:
https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/nuclear-thermal-propulsion/

And one for solid core NTRs:
https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/nuclear-thermal-propulsion/solid-core-ntr/

Three for test stands:
https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/nuclear-test-stands-and-equipment/
https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/nuclear-test-stands-and-equipment/cfeet-compact-fuel-element-environmental-test/
https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/nuclear-test-stands-and-equipment/ntrees/

I've also got a forthcoming (written, but no links or images yet) page on nuclear fuel elements for astronuclear reactors in general, and one on radioisotope systems (both electrical power and radioisotope thermal rockets), but that one's not even halfway done yet.
 

There are three blog posts for Kilopower:

https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/duff-father-of-krusty-kilopower-part-1/
https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/krusty-first-of-a-new-breed-of-reactors-kilopower-part-ii/
https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/krusty-we-have-fission-kilopower-part-iii/

But I'm pretty sure you've seen all them.

I'm planning on upgrading the site soon, but until then I'm kinda stuck with the freebie stuff (and the generally crappy templates and capabilities that you get with it).

There's also a Facebook group, where I'll usually release the text-only version of a blog post a week or two beforehand to get some proofreading and fact-checking (if anyone feels like), and whatever people feel like discussing on the astronuclear side of things. It's a pretty good mix of people, including a former JIMO team member, a nuclear launch safety expert, a couple health physicists, aerospace engineers, and lots of amateurs.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1952126725019764/

Offline BeyondNERVA

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Re: NASA's LEU NTP Mars spacecraft
« Reply #3 on: 05/25/2018 08:40 PM »
I ended up putting the YouTube videos on indefinite hold, because there's so much to cover just to get the basics accessible as backup (I don't want to do hour-long videos, and all of this is WAY DOWN on the order I want to do the videos in).

When I set up Patreon/crowdfunding (at some point soon), and have some income from this, I'll be able to devote more time to this, and hopefully get more caught up, including animated diagrams and flow charts of different reactor concepts, spacecraft, mission profiles, etc., as well as things like neutronic and thermal behavior animations (not simulations, Blender's good but not THAT good). Even without that, I've got at least 3 years' worth of information in printouts of technical papers, and about 5 times that in digital documents, just from easily-accessed (but dense) sources like NASA and DOE technical papers, ESA documents, some stuff for Russia... which no one but Winchell Chung has categorized.

As much as I love Atomic Rockets (it's one of my two main inspirations for starting this project), I can never seem to be able to find exactly what I'm looking for as reference... it always ends up being "check about 3/8ths of the way down the page, after the RocketCat quote," and the site is SO extensive at this point that a major rewrite sounds like a series of nervous breakdowns waiting to happen.

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