NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 X6.07-9561
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In-Space Propulsion (Nuclear)
PROPOSAL TITLE: Demonstration of Fission Product Retention in a Novel NTR Fuel

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
HBAR TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
1275 Roosevelt Road, Suite 103
West Chicago, IL 60185-4833
(630)231-7077

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Gerald P Jackson
gjackson@hbartech.com
1275 Roosevelt Road, Suite 103
West Chicago, IL 60185-4833
(630)231-7077

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Several studies over the past few decades have recognized the need for advanced propulsion to explore the solar system. As early as the 1960s, Werner Von Braun and others recognized the need for a nuclear rocket for sending humans to Mars. The great distances, the intense radiation levels, and the physiological response to zero-gravity all supported the concept of using a nuclear rocket to decrease mission time. These same needs have been recognized in later studies, especially in the Space Exploration Initiative in 1989. One of the key questions that has arisen in later studies, however, is the need to utilize a nuclear fuel form that does not emit fission products into the exhaust stream. Unlike the Rover/NERVA programs in the 1960s, the rocket exhaust in a current day nuclear rocket should contain no radioactivity. We will investigate a series of coated fuel forms that will inhibit fission products and actinides from diffusing out into the surrounding coolant. A demonstration experiment will be designed that will allow fuels containing uranium-238 to be fissioned, heated to very high temperatures, and assessed for emission of any products.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
This project will result in the ability of NASA to develop a nuclear thermal rocket. Such a rocket will revolutionize space flight in the solar system. The nuclear rocket is applicable to Moon base construction, missions to Mars, and fast missions to the outer planets. If a nuclear fuel can be developed that does not expel radioactivity, the nuclear rocket can be used from Low Earth Orbit outward with no need for any type of "shuttle" vehicle to high orbit. Development of a nuclear rocket with clean exhaust will enable the human race to expand into the solar system safely.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The commercial potential of this project is extremely high. The ability to inhibit the diffusion of atoms at very high temperatures by coating the fuel with a series of appropriately chosen metals layers will be applicable to several markets where high temperature gases are contained by metallic structures. In addition, the migration of fission products through media at low temperatures may also be addressed. The results of this project could impact the fabrication of turbine blades, long term storage of nuclear waste, and high temperature energy conversion systems as examples.