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Advanced Exploration Systems Division

Advanced Modular Power Systems (AMPS)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Advanced Modular Power Systems (AMPS) project is infusing new technology into power systems and components and proving their capabilities through exploration-based ground demonstrations.

The AMPS technology portfolio includes the development of modular power units which, when combined with standardized interfaces, will provide commonality across a variety of exploration vehicles for future NASA missions. The project has developed the Modular Electronic Standard for Space Power Systems, which defines the form, fit, and function of each modular power unit for human exploration missions and systems. 

Additionally, the AMPS technology portfolio includes the development of an autonomous power controller (APC) to manage electrical space power systems without a human operator in the loop. The APC provides 3 main functions:

  • Energy management: Manage the on-board electrical power system to ensure safe and stable operations, all power system constraints are not violated, and power qualifications are met.
  • Fault management: Detect and identify the size, location, and type of fault, and quickly isolate hazardous failures in the system. This enables the autonomous controller to take the proper corrective and facilitate system recovery.
  • Contingency management: Manage the electrical power system configuration and create plans for distributing power during fault scenarios and ability to return the electrical power system back to nominal configuration/operation.

The AMPS APC team is collaborating with external partners in developing the APC capability for a lunar surface based electrical power utility. A collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories is focused on managing power of the lunar electrical power utility, which is made up of smaller islanded microgrids that contain their own power generation and energy storage. This hierarchical power controller enables the sharing of power between the islanded microgrids to ensure all higher level lunar surface objectives are met even during failure scenarios. The APC team is also working with the US Army on expandable and reconfigurable electrical microgrids that can seamlessly integrate dissimilar power sources to maximize electrical power availability. In this effort, the APC team will integrate the US Army developed Tactical Microgrid Standard (TMS) into an AMPS modular hardware based power system and evaluate the ability for TMS to support evolvable and reconfigurable electrical power systems. If this effort is successful, NASA will be able to leverage additional capabilities developed under the TMS effort and take advantage of DoD supply chain in developing power system components for the lunar surface.

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