Idaho National Laboratory: NASA, INL Take Next Step Toward Developing Dynamic Radioisotope Power System

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne as the lead subcontractor for the first of three phases toward the development of a dynamic radioisotope power system for a lunar demonstration mission by the late 2020s as outlined in Space Policy Directive-6.

The goal of this technology demonstration is to develop and demonstrate performance of a system that is three times more efficient than the current radioisotope power system technology. The dynamic radioisotope power system will use decay heat from plutonium-238 to create electricity via dynamic power conversion.

The first phase of this multiphase project is a 13-month contract worth approximately $3 million to design a system-level dynamic radioisotope power system concept. With successful completion of the first phase, the project will progress through additional phases to fabricate and qualify a dynamic radioisotope power system for demonstration on the moon and for future science exploration missions. This effort is coordinated through NASA’s Radioisotope Power Systems program office.

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