Space and Surface Power for the Space Exploration Initiative

Results from Project Outreach

by Calvin Shipbaugh, Kenneth A. Solomon, Dan Gonzales, M. L. Juncosa

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This Note describes the findings of the Space and Surface Power panel, one of eight project panels evaluating submissions to the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) Outreach Program, or Project Outreach. The submissions screened by the Space and Surface Power panel proposed systems that can be classified into at least one of five technical areas: (1) power generation (solar power, nuclear power, fuel cells, batteries, and "other"), (2) power transmission, (3) energy storage, (4) thermal management, and (5) handling. The panel screened 167 submissions and selected the 22 highest-ranked ones for further analysis. The submissions that appeared to offer the best overall potential dealt with nuclear power sources, power beaming, the development of in-situ resources (including the use of solar dynamic power), and thermal management. Some lower-ranked submissions also contained interesting and potentially useful system concepts, and the authors evaluated some concepts not suggested in the submissions, including rechargeable high-energy density batteries, high-speed flywheels, and superconducting storage rings. A number of space and surface power issues became apparent and were examined by the panel members: (1) environmental implications of SEI power systems, (2) use of in-situ materials, (3) nuclear vs. nonnuclear power, (4) start-up vs. evolutionary power needs, (5) manned vs. unmanned system requirements, and (6) development of new power transmission methods.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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