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Radioisotope AMTEC power system designs for spacecraft applications

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4 Author(s)
Ivanenok, J.F., III ; Adv. Modular Power Syst. Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Sievers, R.K. ; Hunt, T.K. ; Johnson, G.A.

The authors describe and compare small (two-module) and larger (16-module) AMTEC (alkali metal thermal-to-electric converter) radioisotope powered systems and describe the computer model developed to predict their performance. The high efficiency and static conversion process combined with minimized parasitic losses and operating temperatures that allow the use of current materials while still maintaining a competitive radiator area are found to make AMTEC an excellent candidate for enhanced performance space power systems. AMTEC has the capability of reducing mission costs relative to other static conversion systems because of its high efficiency. AMTEC can also reduce cost relative to dynamic systems simply by being less massive (10 to 5000 W level), and its use eliminates the torque and vibration issues of dynamic systems.<>

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 12 )