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Kilopower experiment.jpg
Prototype NASA 1kW Kilopower nuclear reactor for use in space and planet surfaces
Project overview
Formed October 2015 (2015-10)
Parent department NASA

KRUSTY or Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology is a NASA project aimed at producing a new design for nuclear reactors for space travel.[1] The project started in October 2015.[2] Kilopower reactors will come in a variety of sizes able to produce from one to 10 kilowatts of electrical power, continuously for 10 years or more.[3] The fission reactor uses Uranium-235 to generate heat that is carried to the Stirling converters via passive sodium heat pipes.[4]

As of September 2017 a test reactor has been constructed. It is designed to produce up to 1 kilowatt of electric power and is about 6.5 feet tall (1.9 meters).[5] The prototype Kilopower uses a solid, cast uranium-235 reactor core, about the size of a paper towel roll. Reactor heat is transferred via passive sodium heat pipes, with the heat being converted to electricity by Stirling engines. Testing to gain TRL 5 started in November 2017 and continued into 2018.[3]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "NASA TechPort - Public Data". 2011-08-09. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  3. ^ a b Loura Hall. "Powering Up NASA's Human Reach for the Red Planet". NASA.GOV. NASA. Retrieved November 15, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Kilopower Project media slides" (PDF). NASA.GOV. NASA and Los Alamos. Retrieved January 26, 2018. 
  5. ^ Irene Klotz (June 29, 2017). "NASA to Test Fission Power for Future Mars Colony". Retrieved November 15, 2017. 

External links

  • Kilopower NASA web site
  • KRUSTY - Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology on YouTube
  • Small Reactor for Deep Space Exploration - Los Alamos National Laboratory on YouTube
  • Kilowatt-Class Fission Power Systems for Science and Human Precursor Missions (paper from 2013)
  • KiloPower Space Reactor Concept - Reactor Materials Study
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