Multi-Physics NTR Safety Analyses, Phase I

Metadata Updated: February 28, 2019

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) offers high promise to reduce launch mass, decrease mission costs and increase mission effectiveness, particularly for crewed missions to the planets. However, NTP has been plagued with high uncertainties in cost, schedule and safety, particularly launch safety. To reduce programmatic uncertainty, an unambiguous approach to documenting NTP safety prior to, during and after launch needs to be made. Until recently, the multi-physics models and computing power were not available to perform compelling analyses, and testing is exceptionally expensive, and unrevealing in many cases.

This proposal directly addresses programmatic uncertainty by providing benchmarked, definitive product documenting the safety of a NTP system during all launch phases. The proposal takes work performed by the SBC under IR&D which has performed detailed hydrocode modeling of a NTP impacting an unyielding surface from heights of 50 and 150 meters. These impact and compaction results, in this SBIR will be analyzed using the meash0based Serpent 2 nuclear code to demonstrate that the reactor will not become critical during compaction events, or will demonstrate what design changes must be incorporated in order to ensure this end.

If the NTP system can document an unambiguous safety case prior to major program decisions, it will dramatically reduce programmatic uncertainty, and provide decision-makers with a far less costly approach to NTP development.

Because the entire reactor must be designed, modeled and subject to impact scenarios, it is not possible to obtain meaningful results at the component level. Small-scale analyses have sown the viability of this approach and the LPS team is ready to proceed to a full-scale NTP engine.

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: U.S. Government Work

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Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019

Metadata Source

Harvested from NASA Data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_93660
Maintainer Email
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id cf4af01b-ed6f-469f-8383-7fb2be7bbf1e
Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2017-12-01
Homepage URL
Data Last Modified 2018-07-19
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash b23de664f1d54f2efcdd65190708b4dc5dfacc23
Source Schema Version 1.1

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