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FOIA: Compact Lunar Power Station - NASA 1963

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posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 01:21 PM
Compact Lunar Power Station
The report "Compact Lunar Power Station" investigates the requirements of a electrical power source for a manned lunar scientific base.

Document date: 1963-08-23
Department: George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL.
Author: Ronald E. Dungan
Document type: report
pages: 21


Archivist's Notes: Fair to good quality document. Security and technical approval page and distribution list. A few black outs on cover page.

posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:20 AM
PDF page 1:
Cover page from the George C. Marshall Space Flight Centre
August 23, 1963
There are several codes and a few blacked out lines:
N64 13063
Code-1 TMX-51372

Edward E. Dungan

One of the initial requirements for a manned lunar scientific base
will be an adequate, dependable supply of electric power. Minimum weight
and long operating capabilities necessitate the use of nuclear energy.
McMurdo Sound Operations in the Antarctic and the radar site in Sundance,
Wyoming, have demonstrated the vast potential of nuclear power under
severe operating conditions.
Application studies have been inade on existing systems for nuclear
auxiliary power (SNAP); however, these systems were not designed for
large power output for extended periods and do not appear feasible .
Therefore, an entirely new type of station should be designed and developed for the lunar environment.
The power requirements for such a station should be in the megawatt
(electrical ) range. A conceptual design of a compact lunar power station
includes a partially - shielded , liquid-metal cooled, fast reactor heat
source; a primary heat exchanger; a redundant potassium Rankine cycle
turbo - electric generation system; and either a radiator or a lunar heat sink.
A modular-designed compact lunar power station becomes an immediate
candidate for l missions utilizing the Saturn V Lunar Logistic
vehicle . The technology exists for designing and developing a power station of this type; however, lead time spans up to 10 years and a research and development program should be initiated at an early date.

There are a few graphs and tables in this document....

The following is the Conclusion PDF page 17:
A review of studies that result in modifying existing nuclear power plant designs reveals a number of significant reservations; notably, the method of reactor control, shielding, and weight optimization. A designer's primary prerequisites include physical properties and nuclear characteristics of the materials of interest. Since such data are not available for lunar materials, their initial utilization would be undesirable.
Even if such data became available within the next few years,
methods of extraction and fabrication on the moon do not exist. If the lunar surface is rock or some other hard material, it does not appear practical to excavate extensively during the early exploratory years.
Such problems appear to necessitate a modular-designed nuclear heat source. Consequently, a small, light weight, liquid-metal cooled, fast type reactor becomes the leading candidate. The technology exists for designing and developing a power system of this nature. However, lead time spans up to 10 years and initiation of such a research and development program becomes highly important at an early date. It most definitely should not depend upon adaptation of such systems as present day remote power stations or advanced SNAP systems.

A modular-designed complete lunar power station becomes an immediate
candidate for early logistics missions utilizing the Saturn V Lunar
Logistics vehicle (LLV). One LLV would be sufficient for the nuclear heat
source and the primary heat exchanger modules while an additional LLV
could transport the remaining modules of a minimum weight system. Table 4 gives an estimated weight summary of the conceptual CLP-1. The heaviest
single component would be the core-shield-ref lector assembly which has a
maximum weight of 9310 kg. I f transportation of a maximum auxiliary
(neutron) shield was required, it could be manufactured i n segments of
4540 kg or less and thus be readily transportable by one or more LLV's.


posted on Dec, 27 2007 @ 09:01 PM
While I can add little to the excellent summary of FS on this subject, this might be a good time to speculate ob what has been a thirty year chance for technological inventions to catch up with the needs and desires of the Lunar "settlement" planners.

To get an idea of where we stand now:

And the Russians have naturally been bust as well:

I think it is safe to say that with the progress made in the last three decades, both America and the Russians have the ability to build power plants on the Lunar surface that would more than meet the needs of a scientific outpost.

[edit on 27-12-2007 by NGC2736]

posted on Dec, 29 2007 @ 11:23 AM
No doubt they have. but the problem has always been (and will probably always be) the public's aversion to having nuclear fueled power plants launched through earth's atmosphere. Like this hasn't been happening all along any way.

Most people have the images of the shuttle disasters fresh in their mind and that's the first thing they think of when someone mentions radioactive material in a launch. Until the space agencies find a way to convince the public of the launch safety, I'm afraid this will be a no-go.

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