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Nuclear-Electric Spacecraft Concepts for Unmanned Planetary Exploration

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1 Author(s)
Robert J. Beale ; Jet Propulsion laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

The utilization of advanced, high-powered nuclear-electric spacecraft in the near future for the unmanned scientific exploration of space will provide significant weight allowances and power levels for scientific payloads and communication equipment. The electronic system designer, presently faced with minimum weight and power limitations imposed by today's chemically-propelled spacecraft, must develop new techniques to take advantage of the greater capabilities promised by nuclear-electric spacecraft. Power levels approaching 1 Mwe may be expected. Systems capable of employing this power must operate under an intense nuclear radiation flux at elevated temperatures for long time periods. Development of such equipment must be initiated at an early date.

Published in:

IRE Transactions on Space Electronics and Telemetry  (Volume:SET-8 ,  Issue: 2 )