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Coordinating Space Nuclear
Research Advancement and
Education
John Bess
Idaho National Laboratory
Jon Webb, Brian Gross, Aaron Craft
    Webb        Gross
Center for Space Nuclear Research

ANS/YPC 2009
November 18,
No ember 18 2009
History of the CSNR
• Established October 2005
• Partnership
  – Battelle Energy Alliance
  – Universities Space Research
    Association
    A      i ti
  – Idaho National Lab
• USRA-Managed
  – Non-profit association of
    universities
  – Founded by the National Academy
    of Science
• Science Council                     CSNR Director:
  – Comprised of academic and          Dr. Steve Howe
    professional members
  – Oversees CSNR activities

                                                        2
Purpose of the CSNR
• Support space nuclear research and educational needs of the U.S.
  DOE
• INL’s primary conduit for collaborative research and educational
  activities with universities in space nuclear systems
• Create opportunities for program participants:
  – Academic researchers and students
  – Government representatives from
    Go e      e t ep ese tat es o
    national laboratories and other
    U.S. organizations
  – Representatives from corporate and
    industrial entities
  – International cooperative efforts




                                                                     3
Challenges with Space Nuclear Development
• Funding Restrictions
• Lack of Political, Corporate, or
  Public Support
• Limitations in Educational
  Opportunities
• Loss of Early Space Nuclear
  Data, Skills, and Pioneers
• Development and Maintenance
  of Trained Leadership




                                            4
Educating the Summer Fellows
                      • The Director oversees the summer
                        project
                           j t
                        – Additional support provided
                          by CSNR employees
                      • Education augmentation
                        – Access to the INL Technical Library
                        – Invited professional lecturers
                      • Computational workshops
                        relevant to the project goals
                        – MCNP™, ANSYS®, RELAP-3D™
                      • Opportunities for synergistic
                          pp               y   g
                        laboratory research
                        – Tungsten-cermet fuel fabrication
                        – Space nuclear systems applications
                        – Risk analysis and human
                          factors studies…
                                                                5
Additional Student Benefits
• Develop personal skills
  and education
    d d    ti
• Establish networking connections
• Experience the challenges and
  latest developments in the space
  nuclear field
• Find mentors, committee members,
               p y
  and future employment
• Participate in the next Summer
  Fellowship program or the Next
  Degree Program
• Experience the many local and
  regional activities found around
  Idaho Falls and Eastern Idaho



                                     6
The 2006 Summer Fellows




                          7
2006 Summer Results
• Augmentation of NASA Lunar       • Use NTR to Enable Current
  Mission ith
  Mi i with NTR                      Launch Fleet
                                     L    h Fl t
  – Increase Lunar Payload 36.2%     – 4-6 Delta IV Heavy and/or Atlas V
  – or Decrease IMLEO 24.1%            HLV for 20 tons to lunar surface
                                     – Requires In Orbit Assembly
                                                 In-Orbit




                                                                           8
The 2007 Summer Fellows




                          9
2007 Results
• Lunar Isotope Power Source          • Radioisotope Powered UAV
  – 2.5 kWe, 5 yr Life-Time             – 7-36 month Operation
  – 244Cm, 238Pu, 90Sr,                 – 10-27 kWth
    or 232U                             – Propulsion and Radioisotope Trade
  – Trade Studies and Preconceptual       Studies
    Ideas




                                                                              10
The 2008 Summer Fellows




                          11
2008 Results
• Unmanned Underwater Vehicle   • Mobile Nuclear Outpost
  – Port Security                 – Enable Complete Lunar
  – SNM Ship Scanner                Exploration Independence
  – Radioisotope Powered          – Smart Shield Concept




                                                               12
The 2009 Summer Fellows




                          13
2009 Results
• Comet Interception with                • Fission Surface Power
  Nuclear Th
  N l     Thermal Rockets
                 lR k t                    Shielding St di
                                           Shi ldi Studies
  – Deflection or Destruction of Long-
    Period Comets
  – Delivery of Thermonuclear Devices
  – Not Feasible with Chemical
    Rockets




                                                                   14
Where are they now?
• Many are completing graduate engineering degrees
• Others are currently employed
  – P & W Rocketdyne
  – South Texas Project
  – NASA JSC
  – Norfolk Naval Shipyard
  – Id h N ti
    Idaho National L b t
                 l Laboratory
  – Engineering Consultant
  – Caterpillar
  – CSNR Next Degree Program




                                                     15
The Next Degree Program
• Students working on an             • Various research activities
  advanced degree in space
   d      dd        i                  – LEGO Reactor
  nuclear related research
                                       – Infrared Beam Reactor
• Work part-time for various           – Airbreathing Propulsion on Titan
  sponsored projects while
            d     j t    hil
                                       – W-Re Superalloy with SPS
  finishing their education
                                       – W-Cermet Fuel for a Fission
• Participate in CSNR-sponsored,         Surface Power System
  year-round activities
  year round activities, including     – Frozen Pebble Bed Nuclear
  the Summer Fellowships                 Thermal Rocket
• Paid to be an engineer while         – Mars Hopper
  still working as a student




                                                                            16
LEGO Reactor
• Cluster reactor system design
• Subcritical units
• 5 kw/unit
• <450 kg/unit
  (unshielded)
• Designed using
  conventional nuclear
  components
  – HEU-O2 fuel
  – Stainless steel clad
  – Liquid sodium coolant




                                  17
Infrared Beam (“Lightbulb”) Reactor
              ( Lightbulb )
                                                           Sun
   Lunar
   Habitat       Thermophoto
                  -voltaic Cell
                                                         Mirror
                                                        Reflectors




                                  Parabolic
                                   Mirror

              Lunar                                     Reactor
             Regolith                         Reactor   Sphere
                                              Support
                                                                  18
Titan Explorer
• Radioisotope powered
• Long duration
• Map the surface of Titan




                             • Turboprop
                               – low power demand
                                     p
                             • Heated with 238Pu




                                                    19
W-Re Superalloy
• High energy ball milling
• SPS production samples
• NTR and FSP applications
  – Used in ANL rocket program
  – Used in GE-710 program
• High melting temperature
  – 3200 to 3600 K




                                 20
W-Cermet Fuel for a FSP
• NERVA graphite fuel element
  (left)
  (l ft)
• Cast tungsten fuel element
  (right)
  – N machining required
    No      hi i       i d
  – Fabricated at nearly full theoretical
    density
• Complete encapsulation of
  radioisotope material
  – Non-proliferation
  – Accident conditions
  – Assembly and handling safety
  – Self-shielding
  –R d
    Reduced material reactions
            d    t i l   ti

                                            21
Frozen Pebble Bed Nuclear Thermal Rocket
• Offers higher power density than prismatic fuel NTR
• Frozen pebble bed eliminates frit design
• FPB fuel element analog
   – Sintered tungsten BB’s form frozen p
                 g                      pellets




       Pebble Bed Fuel Element                    FPB Fuel Element Analog   22
Mars Hopper
• Radioisotope Thermal Rocket
  (RTR) t store energy and
        to t              d
  “hop” a vehicle across the
  Martian surface
  – Science data collection from
    several regions and potentially a
    sample return mission
  – Pole-to-pole coverage in 2 years
  – Multiple hoppers could be operated
    by universities
  – PuO2 cermet in Be core
  – CO2 coolant
             l t
  – Essentially a NTR using decay
    heat



                                         23
Conclusions
 • Provide Opportunities for Advancing
 Space N l
 S      Nuclear Ed
                Education and Research
                      ti      dR       h
• Present Avenues for Funding Activities
• Train and Develop Our Future Leaders
                  p
      • Enable Space Exploration




                                           24
Questions and Contact Info




    John Bess
john.bess@inl.gov
     Jon Webb
     J W bb                     CSNR Director:
 jon.webb@inl.gov
    Brian Gross                  Dr. Steve Howe
brian.gross@inl.gov
brian gross@inl gov           showe@csnr.usra.edu
                              showe@csnr usra edu
   Aaron Craft                 www.csnr.usra.edu
acraft@mines.edu                                   25
26
Extra Slides




               27
The CSNR Summer Fellows
• Apply to participate in activities pertinent to
  objectives of the CSNR and sponsoring
  organizations
• Function in an open-office setting for
  increased interaction and cooperation
• Operate in smaller teams to address
  subtasks or alternative projects
• Predominantly housed together in CSNR-
  subsidized housing to encourage strong
  team-building relationships




                                                    28
Milestones for the Fellows
                        • Weekly formal meetings to address
                          primary and secondary project goals
                        • Weekly informal activities to contribute
                          to a well-rounded educational
                          experience
                        • Students are expected to present at
                          least once regarding personal research
                          or experience
                        • The final project results will be
                          presented before employees and
                          directors of INL
                          di t        f
                        • Final reports are compiled into
                          summaries that can be submitted to
                          conferences




                                                                     29
Funding Space Nuclear Research
• Often the challenges associated with the promotion of space
  nuclear applications involve the slight d t il of money
      l       li ti    i   l th li ht detail f

• We continue to spend money using proven systems and measures
  that are becoming antiquated, and thus limit our ultimate space
                     antiquated
  exploration potential, even when the benefits of space nuclear
  technology have calculated benefit




                                                                    30
An Approach to Economics
• CSNR provides an avenue for fielding
  designs and problems
• Students
  – Often represent “cheap labor”
  – Have a zest to learn and work
• Can potentially cost less to perform
  preliminary design and development
  activities by utilizing
  a captive researcher audience
      p
• An educational atmosphere represents
  one of the last realms where pure
  engineering practices, and “tinkering”,
  can be experienced at a minimal cost




                                            31
An Approach to Politics
• Congressional policy and international treaty limitations can often deter the
  promotion of space nuclear research activities
• Students are willing to
  – Learn the rules that guide our current
    protocol for space nuclear activities
  – Develop technologies capable of
    withstanding these rigorous requirements
  – Demonstrate the appropriate measures
    to overcome challenges and restrictions
• Sometimes the question arises as to whether an idea should be investigated;
  students will perform the preliminary research and then let you know whether it
   t d t    ill    f    th     li i            h d th l t         k     h th
  was a good idea or not




                                                                                    32
An Approach to Leadership
• The CSNR offers access to some of the best and brightest students
  interested in space nuclear research
• Sponsored projects
  – Allow for guided direction and participation throughout the course of the project
  – Increased cooperation on activities beyond the scope of the CSNR research activities
     • Graduate Research
     • Employment
     • University Relations




                                                                                           33
Student Fun and Adventures
• Yellowstone National Park
• Idaho Falls Model
  Rocketry Club
• Weird Physics Meetings
• Firefly Thursdays
• And whatever else we
  can get into…
      g




                              34
The Home of CSNR




• Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES)
  – CSNR Offices and Meeting Rooms
  – S k Pl
    Spark Plasma Si t i (SPS) F
                 Sintering    Furnace
  – Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) System
  – And whatever else we need for fabrication and analysis


                                                             35

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CSNR - YPC 2009

  • 1. Coordinating Space Nuclear Research Advancement and Education John Bess Idaho National Laboratory Jon Webb, Brian Gross, Aaron Craft Webb Gross Center for Space Nuclear Research ANS/YPC 2009 November 18, No ember 18 2009
  • 2. History of the CSNR • Established October 2005 • Partnership – Battelle Energy Alliance – Universities Space Research Association A i ti – Idaho National Lab • USRA-Managed – Non-profit association of universities – Founded by the National Academy of Science • Science Council CSNR Director: – Comprised of academic and Dr. Steve Howe professional members – Oversees CSNR activities 2
  • 3. Purpose of the CSNR • Support space nuclear research and educational needs of the U.S. DOE • INL’s primary conduit for collaborative research and educational activities with universities in space nuclear systems • Create opportunities for program participants: – Academic researchers and students – Government representatives from Go e e t ep ese tat es o national laboratories and other U.S. organizations – Representatives from corporate and industrial entities – International cooperative efforts 3
  • 4. Challenges with Space Nuclear Development • Funding Restrictions • Lack of Political, Corporate, or Public Support • Limitations in Educational Opportunities • Loss of Early Space Nuclear Data, Skills, and Pioneers • Development and Maintenance of Trained Leadership 4
  • 5. Educating the Summer Fellows • The Director oversees the summer project j t – Additional support provided by CSNR employees • Education augmentation – Access to the INL Technical Library – Invited professional lecturers • Computational workshops relevant to the project goals – MCNP™, ANSYS®, RELAP-3D™ • Opportunities for synergistic pp y g laboratory research – Tungsten-cermet fuel fabrication – Space nuclear systems applications – Risk analysis and human factors studies… 5
  • 6. Additional Student Benefits • Develop personal skills and education d d ti • Establish networking connections • Experience the challenges and latest developments in the space nuclear field • Find mentors, committee members, p y and future employment • Participate in the next Summer Fellowship program or the Next Degree Program • Experience the many local and regional activities found around Idaho Falls and Eastern Idaho 6
  • 7. The 2006 Summer Fellows 7
  • 8. 2006 Summer Results • Augmentation of NASA Lunar • Use NTR to Enable Current Mission ith Mi i with NTR Launch Fleet L h Fl t – Increase Lunar Payload 36.2% – 4-6 Delta IV Heavy and/or Atlas V – or Decrease IMLEO 24.1% HLV for 20 tons to lunar surface – Requires In Orbit Assembly In-Orbit 8
  • 9. The 2007 Summer Fellows 9
  • 10. 2007 Results • Lunar Isotope Power Source • Radioisotope Powered UAV – 2.5 kWe, 5 yr Life-Time – 7-36 month Operation – 244Cm, 238Pu, 90Sr, – 10-27 kWth or 232U – Propulsion and Radioisotope Trade – Trade Studies and Preconceptual Studies Ideas 10
  • 11. The 2008 Summer Fellows 11
  • 12. 2008 Results • Unmanned Underwater Vehicle • Mobile Nuclear Outpost – Port Security – Enable Complete Lunar – SNM Ship Scanner Exploration Independence – Radioisotope Powered – Smart Shield Concept 12
  • 13. The 2009 Summer Fellows 13
  • 14. 2009 Results • Comet Interception with • Fission Surface Power Nuclear Th N l Thermal Rockets lR k t Shielding St di Shi ldi Studies – Deflection or Destruction of Long- Period Comets – Delivery of Thermonuclear Devices – Not Feasible with Chemical Rockets 14
  • 15. Where are they now? • Many are completing graduate engineering degrees • Others are currently employed – P & W Rocketdyne – South Texas Project – NASA JSC – Norfolk Naval Shipyard – Id h N ti Idaho National L b t l Laboratory – Engineering Consultant – Caterpillar – CSNR Next Degree Program 15
  • 16. The Next Degree Program • Students working on an • Various research activities advanced degree in space d dd i – LEGO Reactor nuclear related research – Infrared Beam Reactor • Work part-time for various – Airbreathing Propulsion on Titan sponsored projects while d j t hil – W-Re Superalloy with SPS finishing their education – W-Cermet Fuel for a Fission • Participate in CSNR-sponsored, Surface Power System year-round activities year round activities, including – Frozen Pebble Bed Nuclear the Summer Fellowships Thermal Rocket • Paid to be an engineer while – Mars Hopper still working as a student 16
  • 17. LEGO Reactor • Cluster reactor system design • Subcritical units • 5 kw/unit • <450 kg/unit (unshielded) • Designed using conventional nuclear components – HEU-O2 fuel – Stainless steel clad – Liquid sodium coolant 17
  • 18. Infrared Beam (“Lightbulb”) Reactor ( Lightbulb ) Sun Lunar Habitat Thermophoto -voltaic Cell Mirror Reflectors Parabolic Mirror Lunar Reactor Regolith Reactor Sphere Support 18
  • 19. Titan Explorer • Radioisotope powered • Long duration • Map the surface of Titan • Turboprop – low power demand p • Heated with 238Pu 19
  • 20. W-Re Superalloy • High energy ball milling • SPS production samples • NTR and FSP applications – Used in ANL rocket program – Used in GE-710 program • High melting temperature – 3200 to 3600 K 20
  • 21. W-Cermet Fuel for a FSP • NERVA graphite fuel element (left) (l ft) • Cast tungsten fuel element (right) – N machining required No hi i i d – Fabricated at nearly full theoretical density • Complete encapsulation of radioisotope material – Non-proliferation – Accident conditions – Assembly and handling safety – Self-shielding –R d Reduced material reactions d t i l ti 21
  • 22. Frozen Pebble Bed Nuclear Thermal Rocket • Offers higher power density than prismatic fuel NTR • Frozen pebble bed eliminates frit design • FPB fuel element analog – Sintered tungsten BB’s form frozen p g pellets Pebble Bed Fuel Element FPB Fuel Element Analog 22
  • 23. Mars Hopper • Radioisotope Thermal Rocket (RTR) t store energy and to t d “hop” a vehicle across the Martian surface – Science data collection from several regions and potentially a sample return mission – Pole-to-pole coverage in 2 years – Multiple hoppers could be operated by universities – PuO2 cermet in Be core – CO2 coolant l t – Essentially a NTR using decay heat 23
  • 24. Conclusions • Provide Opportunities for Advancing Space N l S Nuclear Ed Education and Research ti dR h • Present Avenues for Funding Activities • Train and Develop Our Future Leaders p • Enable Space Exploration 24
  • 25. Questions and Contact Info John Bess john.bess@inl.gov Jon Webb J W bb CSNR Director: jon.webb@inl.gov Brian Gross Dr. Steve Howe brian.gross@inl.gov brian gross@inl gov showe@csnr.usra.edu showe@csnr usra edu Aaron Craft www.csnr.usra.edu acraft@mines.edu 25
  • 26. 26
  • 28. The CSNR Summer Fellows • Apply to participate in activities pertinent to objectives of the CSNR and sponsoring organizations • Function in an open-office setting for increased interaction and cooperation • Operate in smaller teams to address subtasks or alternative projects • Predominantly housed together in CSNR- subsidized housing to encourage strong team-building relationships 28
  • 29. Milestones for the Fellows • Weekly formal meetings to address primary and secondary project goals • Weekly informal activities to contribute to a well-rounded educational experience • Students are expected to present at least once regarding personal research or experience • The final project results will be presented before employees and directors of INL di t f • Final reports are compiled into summaries that can be submitted to conferences 29
  • 30. Funding Space Nuclear Research • Often the challenges associated with the promotion of space nuclear applications involve the slight d t il of money l li ti i l th li ht detail f • We continue to spend money using proven systems and measures that are becoming antiquated, and thus limit our ultimate space antiquated exploration potential, even when the benefits of space nuclear technology have calculated benefit 30
  • 31. An Approach to Economics • CSNR provides an avenue for fielding designs and problems • Students – Often represent “cheap labor” – Have a zest to learn and work • Can potentially cost less to perform preliminary design and development activities by utilizing a captive researcher audience p • An educational atmosphere represents one of the last realms where pure engineering practices, and “tinkering”, can be experienced at a minimal cost 31
  • 32. An Approach to Politics • Congressional policy and international treaty limitations can often deter the promotion of space nuclear research activities • Students are willing to – Learn the rules that guide our current protocol for space nuclear activities – Develop technologies capable of withstanding these rigorous requirements – Demonstrate the appropriate measures to overcome challenges and restrictions • Sometimes the question arises as to whether an idea should be investigated; students will perform the preliminary research and then let you know whether it t d t ill f th li i h d th l t k h th was a good idea or not 32
  • 33. An Approach to Leadership • The CSNR offers access to some of the best and brightest students interested in space nuclear research • Sponsored projects – Allow for guided direction and participation throughout the course of the project – Increased cooperation on activities beyond the scope of the CSNR research activities • Graduate Research • Employment • University Relations 33
  • 34. Student Fun and Adventures • Yellowstone National Park • Idaho Falls Model Rocketry Club • Weird Physics Meetings • Firefly Thursdays • And whatever else we can get into… g 34
  • 35. The Home of CSNR • Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) – CSNR Offices and Meeting Rooms – S k Pl Spark Plasma Si t i (SPS) F Sintering Furnace – Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) System – And whatever else we need for fabrication and analysis 35