TABLE 2.2 RPS Contribution to Space Science and Exploration Missions

NOTE: ATHLETE, All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (rover); CSSR, Comet Surface Sample Return; EAL, Europa Astrobiology Lander; EE, Europa Explorer; GO, Ganymede Observer; ILN, International Lunar Network; IO, Io Observer; MSL, Mars Science Laboratory; MSR, Mars Sample Return; NTE, Neptune-Triton Explorer; PR, Pressurized Rover; SB, small bodies; S/M NET, seismological/meteorological network science; SPABSR, South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return; TE, Titan/Enceladus Explorer; VISE, Venus In-Situ Explorer; VME, Venus Mobile Explorer.

SOURCE: T.J. Sutliff, NASA, “Space Science and RPSs, What Missions Cannot Be Accomplished without RPSs,” presentation to the Radioisotope Power Systems Committee, January 12, 2009, Irvine, California.

Agreements between NASA and the DOE

A memorandum of understanding between the secretary of energy and the NASA administrator defines NASA’s and DOE’s roles and responsibilities regarding research, technology development, design, production, delivery, space-vehicle integration, launch, and operation of RPSs (DOE, 1991).

DOE’s responsibilities include the design, development, fabrication, evaluation, testing, and delivery of RPSs to meet NASA system-performance and schedule requirements. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 1970), the DOE assesses potential environmental impacts from activities related to nuclear material operations, transportation, and storage. The DOE also provides nuclear risk assessments in support of environmental impact statements that NASA prepares to comply with NEPA for the launch of a spacecraft utilizing an RPS system. The DOE is also responsible for specifying minimum radiological, public-health, and safety criteria and procedures for the use of RPSs; providing safeguards and security guidance for NASA facilities and services; supporting NASA operational plans, mission definition, environmental analysis, launch



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