Space: Science & Technology / 2021 / Article / Tab 2

Review Article

Application Prospect of Fission-Powered Spacecraft in Solar System Exploration Missions

Table 2

Chiron Orbiter mission comparison of Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP) and Fission Electric Propulsion (FEP).

Power subsystemREPFEP

Science and mission duration44 kg CBEa/13 yr trip, 1 yr science44 kg CBE/13 yr trip, 1 yr science
Launch vehicleAtlas 551/Star 48Atlas 55
Launch mass (kg)13004000
Power level (EOLb)/mass αSix, 150 W ASRGc, 900 We/189 kg (4.7 We/kg)Single fast reactor, Stirling convertors 8000 We/1142 kg (7 We/kg)
Electric propulsion trust/weightThree 600 W Hall, ~450 kg XeThree 7000 W Ion, ~1600 kg Xe
Size (m)
 Launch4 (includes Star 48)7
Nuclear material~6 kg, 239Pu~75 kg, 93% HEUd
Initial radioactivity (Ci)918404.8

aCurrent best estimate. bEnd of life. cAdvanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator. dHighly enriched uranium.