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ULA Dual Thrust Axis lander small fission reactor hybrid powerplant; a NASA SBIR 2015 proposal

March 27, 2014

          ULA Dual Thrust Axis  lander small fission reactor hybrid power plant; a NASA SBIR 2015  proposal         inspired by this paper, DualThrustAxisLander(DTAL)2009


Uses the Centaur derived lunar lander as a small fission reactor hybrid with an Argon/Helium atmosphere in the empty centaur tank that houses the small fission reactor, length of the centaur derived landers LH2 tank informs us as to the size of the small fission reactor radiator, we know the volume is 100 M3 for the proposed DTAL. How would an inert small fission reactor radiator fair in LH2? perhaps we can install the  radiator after the flight con ops has ended and the Argon/Helium atmosphere has been introduced? This repurposed lunar lander becomes an efficient surface power source for the long lunar night or deep perpetually dark polar craters EDIT 17 June 2014 Use microwave power transmission to send power from the Centaur/small fission reactor lander to a rover in Lunar or Mercury deep south pole target areas.This permanent shadow mission architecture would involve no RTG heaters on the rover so the rover would need to stay in the line of site of the Centaur lander.In some cases the polar crater might be in partial sunlight part of the time in which case the lander could land in a “go to” site in wich the rover gathers ice and regolith in the permanent shadow to be followed by an end of mission scenario in sunlight.To do this with our rover all the while in the line of site of the microwave power beam might be a mission to far……………………………… The Centaur lander could operate for decades with its small fission reactor as a path finder for outer planet deep space missions   Co Ops;

To keep the lunar mission plutonium free would require not only the decadal survey small fission reactor as a Centaur coogeneration power plant but also any rover would need microwave power beaming to the rover in the lunar darkness, is a better bet to place the fission reactor  radiator in the Centaur LO2 tank as LH2 might make it to brittle.I am still leaning towards gas Xenon as the ullage and radiator waste heat sink
The radiator would displace so many moles of LO2 so that tank would have to be stretched for this mission.We would need to compensate for the weight of the reactor VS the payload weight also with a Centaur stretch of the tanks
the inert radiator would need to gradually warm as the chemical cryogenics where exhausted and the gases xenon could help this along before reactor start!
It should be pointed out that the Centaur hull and the payload would be warmed by the transfer of heat very important at very low temps in deep space.

repurposed Dragon landers could use Argon/Helium  in their pressure vessels to augment small fission reactors

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  1. LH2, LO2 boil off fuel cell cubesat flight experiment 2015 SBIR proposal | Yellow Dragon, a mission to Venus

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