JAXA Repository / AIREX 未来へ続く、宙(そら)への英知

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Other TitleSpace reactors: The application and status
Author(jpn)川口 淳一郎
Author(eng)Kawaguchi, Junichiro
Author Affiliation(jpn)宇宙航空研究開発機構 宇宙科学研究本部
Author Affiliation(eng)Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
Issue Date2004-06
PublisherInstitute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA/ISAS)
Publication title第23回宇宙エネルギーシンポジウム 平成15年度
The 23rd ISAS Space Energy Symposium March 9, 2004
Start page26
End page30
Publication date2004-06
AbstractAs the space activity expands to the outer and far solar system, the question on how the electric power is obtained has become the hardest but an impending problem the world-wide planetary exploration missions face. Not only the electric power but the propulsion are now looking at the advantage by the use of nuclear power in space, since the ion propulsion is now conceived as a useful and mighty means in cruising in outer solar regions. Used to be, the nuclear propulsion engine stands for nuclear thermal engines, however, nowadays it is very clear that the electric propulsion takes the place of it. Despite a large variety of researches and investigations, the use of 'light-weight and efficient' space reactors is still not envisioned. So far, so called the Radio-Thermal-Generators (RTG) have been used for the deep space missions primarily owing to the mass deficit in carrying reactors to the interplanetary field. They are affordable but very short for providing enough power to the propulsion. This has now begged the fundamental power necessity in distant space. Even contemporary space reactors are still not efficient and heavy. It might be some advantage in reactors that they do not use Plutonium but Uranium which can be left dormant at launch, they say. The paper here describes the usefulness of the reactors, while at the same time, the paper points out even dormant Uranium easily burns and the oxides, when breathed, do risks to the human health. The use of them should prepare enough heat shield that preserves Uranium even in the case of launch failure. There will be some, probably three major technical issues in developing space reactors. They are, 1) Light weight, 2) High Temperature system, and 3) Electric conversion with no moving parts. The solution will be Fast Reactor with highly enriched Uranium with liquid Lithium for heat carrier, and the thermionic or AMTEC technology which has been demonstrated little. The paper, however, stresses that it may be very future but not far to initiate studying these technologies which may be used on the ground.
Keywordsnuclear reactor; onboard equipment; space exploration; radioisotope battery; plutonium 239; space reactor; thermoelectric conversion; alkali metal; 原子炉; 搭載機器; 宇宙探査; アイソトープ電池; プルトニウム239; 宇宙原子炉; 熱電変換; アルカリ金属
Document TypeConference Paper
JAXA Categoryシンポジウム・研究会

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