Heatpipe Power System (HPS): a Near-Term, Low-Cost Space Fission Power Supply
Michael G. Houts, David I. Poston, and Deborah R. Bennett, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Marc V. Berte, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts
The Heatpipe Power System (HPS) is a potential, near-term, low-cost space fission power system. The Heatpipe Bimodal System (HBS) is a potential, near-term, low-cost space fission power and/or propulsion system. Both systems will be composed of independent modules, and all components use existing technology and operate within the existing database. The HPS and HBS have relatively few system integration issues; thus, the successful development of a module is a significant step toward verifying system feasibility and performance estimates. A prototypic HPS module was fabricated, and initial testing was completed in April 1997. All test objectives were accomplished, demonstrating the basic feasibility of the HPS. Fabrication of an HBS module is underway, and testing should begin in late 1998. The presentation will provide a system description in addition to pictures and results from the test program.