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Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration
A prioritized set of program goals.
A prioritized list of technologies.
A list of critical facilities and skills.
A plan for documenting and archiving the knowledge base.
A plan for maturing technology in key areas, such as reliability, power, power degradation, electrical interfaces between the RPS and the spacecraft, thermal interfaces, and verification and validation.
A plan for assessing and mitigating technical and schedule risk.
RECOMMENDATION. Multi-Mission RTGs. NASA and/or the Department of Energy should maintain theability to produce Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators.
HIGH-PRIORITY RECOMMENDATION. ASRGDevelopment. NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) should complete the development of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) with all deliberate speed, with the goal of demonstrating that ASRGs are a viable option for the Outer Planets Flagship 1 mission. As part of this effort, NASA and the DOE should put final-design ASRGs on life test as soon as possible (to demonstrate reliability on the ground) and pursue an early opportunity for operating an ASRG in space (e.g., on Discovery 12).