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NASA tests KRUSTY - Kilopower reactor

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 2:16 pm
by PMac
Saw this and thought it might be interesting to some here.

U.S. tests nuclear power system to sustain astronauts on Mars

It looks like this was briefly referenced in a post in 2015 but looks like it is something being developed a bit further now.

Wikipedia has some background and links to NASA's project page and other information about the KRUSTY reactor.

Re: NASA tests KRUSTY - Kilopower reactor

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 11:32 am
by ReedmanBassoon
FYI, the NASA Kilopower/KRUSTY testing was successful and has been completed. This is a big step forward (away) from a reliance on RTGs and Pu238 for electrical power in space.

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/kilopower

Re: NASA tests KRUSTY - Kilopower reactor

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 1:52 pm
by E Ireland
I can't imagine reactor life is limited by fuel burnup.

At which point they are certainly far more suitable for outer planets missions than RTGs.
Much better transciever power would be possible, and you might even be able to throw a Dawn type spacecraft out there with one on and allow it to make serious delta-V maneuvres once it gets there.

With the advances in very compact sensors and the like I wouldn't be surprised if you could achieve something comparable to the projected JIMO mission at a small fraction fo the cost.

Re: NASA tests KRUSTY - Kilopower reactor

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 6:51 pm
by Asteroza
Actually I would look at the following blog, which has much nicer writeups regarding the KRUSTY work, and other high performance nuclear technologies aimed for space use.

https://beyondnerva.wordpress.com/