This effort describes a Fission Stirling Convertor (FSC) that is ideally suited for use with fission-based Space Nuclear Power Systems (SNPS) and/or Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) systems. FSC adapts the ongoing development of a 1-kW Free-Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) (as used in this context “engine” and “convertor” are equivalent) for terrestrial applications to meet NASA needs for SNPS. This is effort is focused on Fission Surface Power Generation, and more specifically Space Power and Energy Storage. FSC offers multifunctional versatility that can efficiently convert thermal energy from a wide variety of heat sources into useful distributed electric power. The focus here is on heat extraction from a fission power system using heat pipes, or potentially a pumped liquid metal loop.
Onboard energy generation for long-term space missions.
Surface energy generation for extra-terrestrial missions.