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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Innovative High Temperature Heat Pipes for Spacecraft Nuclear Fission Systems

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Innovative High Temperature Heat Pipes for Spacecraft Nuclear Fission Systems
NASA Glenn is examining small fission reactors for future space transportation and surface power applications. The reactors would have an 8 to 15 year design life that could be available for a 2020 launch to support future NASA science missions. Both 1 kWe thermoelectric and 3 kWe Stirling systems have been examined. The proposed design will use alkali metal heat pipes to transfer heat from the reactor to the Stirling or Thermoelectrics (TEs) convertors. This SBIR project by ACT will develop alkali metal heat pipes for space nuclear fission reactors. Three types of alkali metal heat pipes will be investigated over the course of the 6 month Phase I program; arterial heat pipes, grooved heat pipes and self-venting arterial heat pipes that use a screen wick artery with vent holes. Grooved and self-venting heat pipes will be fabricated and tested to determine which design would be best suited for the space fission reactor application. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.