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Isro plans new propulsion for missions in deep space | India News


MUMBAI: The Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) is exploring the possibility of developing a new propulsion technology to power spacecraft for their future missions in deep space.
On January 28, the UR Rao de Isro Satellite Center in Bengaluru issued an invitation for ‘expression of interest’ in “design and modeling; simulation and analysis; Testing and Qualification of 100W Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTEG) without Radio Isotopes. ” Isro calls it alpha source thermoelectric propulsion technology.
RTEG will have less mass than solar cells of equivalent power and will allow for more compact spacecraft that can more easily navigate in space. Many NASA and Russian missions, in addition to China’s 2013 Chang’e 3 mission to the moon and its Yutu rover, had used RTG.
Former Isro president AS Kiran Kumar said RTEG is futuristic. “It will be useful for long-duration missions where alternative energy is not available,” he said. After another mission to Mars, Isro could be looking at Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus.
According to the Isro document, “RTEG development is resumed as it is expected to be part of Isro’s deep space missions for power generation and thermal management.”
According to the document, the system should be capable of operating under vacuum in deep space, dusty, carbon dioxide-rich and corrosive environments. Isro says the weight of the RTG should be 20kg or less, with a shelf life of 20 years or more, and survive indefinitely without damage when stored in the atmosphere at temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius.
Emphasizing safety regulations, the document says: “It must be safe for human handling in the immediate vicinity in all conditions, even with the nuclear fuel hidden inside … the unit must be resistant to any explosion prior to launch or post launch so as not to cause any nuclear contamination in the environment.

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