By Topic

Pluto Orbiter/lander/sample return missions using the MITEE nuclear engine

Sign In

Cookies must be enabled to login.After enabling cookies , please use refresh or reload or ctrl+f5 on the browser for the login options.

Formats Non-Member Member
$33 $13
Learn how you can qualify for the best price for this item!
Become an IEEE Member or Subscribe to
IEEE Xplore for exclusive pricing!
close button

puzzle piece

IEEE membership options for an individual and IEEE Xplore subscriptions for an organization offer the most affordable access to essential journal articles, conference papers, standards, eBooks, and eLearning courses.

Learn more about:

IEEE membership

IEEE Xplore subscriptions

3 Author(s)
J. Powell ; Plus Ultra Technol. Inc., Shoreham, NY, USA ; G. Maise ; J. Paniagua

Pluto Orbiter/lander and sample return missions are not impossible using chemical propulsion, but are possible with nuclear thermal propulsion. Using the MITEE nuclear engine, a spacecraft could first orbit Pluto, mapping it, and then land at a selected site, 12 years after the departure form Earth. If surface water/ice is available, fresh H2 propellant could be manufactured by electrolysis of melt H2O using power from the bi-modal nuclear engine, enabling multiple hops to new sites for further data collection. A warm water probe could also be deployed to explore the interior of Pluto's ice sheets. After completing exploration, the spacecraft could return samples from Pluto to Earth with a 12-year trip time. Mission architectures and the design of the spacecraft, nuclear propulsion engine, propellant manufacturing unit and warm water probe are described herein.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2003. Proceedings. 2003 IEEE  (Volume:1 )

Date of Conference:

March 8-15, 2003