National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Past Projects

2 kW Brayton Power Conversion Unit

2 kW Brayton Power Conversion Unit

The Brayton Power Conversion Unit (BPCU) is a fully integrated power conversion system including turbine-alternator-compressor (TAC), recuperator, and gas cooler with a 62.7% Xenon and 37.3% Helium (83.8 g/mol) working fluid designed for operation up to 2 kWe. The heat source used in the test was...
Brayton Ground Test Demonstrator (GTD)

Brayton Ground Test Demonstrator (GTD)

A Ground Test Demonstration (GTD) of a 2 kW SD space power system was completed at the NASA Glenn Research Center. The test included an off-axis solar concentrator, heat receiver with thermal energy storage (TES), recuperated-Brayton cycle heat engine, and waste heat radiator in a thermal vacuum...
High Power Dual Brayton Test Rig

High Power Dual Brayton Test Rig

The High Power Dual Brayton Test Rig at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is a uniquely configured power conversion system built around two modified commerical Capstone C-30 microturbines and employs two closed-Brayton-cycle (CBC) loops sharing a common gas inventory and heat source. Because both Brayton...
High Power Linear Alternator Test Rig

High Power Linear Alternator Test Rig

The High Power Linear Alternator Test Rig will be used to develop Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) techniques applicable to a lunar power system. The PMAD consists of the control algorithms and power electronics required for the conversion of a single phase AC output of the Stirling alternator...
Orion Stall Physics Experiment

Orion Stall Physics Experiment

NASA Glenn Research Center is responsible for managing development of the Service Module for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), which includes part of the heat rejection system for the CM (Crew Module) and SM (Service Module). The astronauts and electrical subsystems in the CM and SM generate...
Solar Concentrators

Solar Concentrators

Concentrators are used to collect and focus solar energy to be used in various space applications including power conversion, thermal propulsion and furnaces. GRC has a long heritage in concentrator development efforts as identified below.
Solar Thermal Vacuum Testing

Solar Thermal Vacuum Testing

The Tank 6 facility shown in Figure 1, is a 68-foot long by 25-foot diameter horizontal vacuum chamber with a liquid nitrogen cryo-wall and a solar simulator. The facility has a 10' diameter X 10' long test section, separated from the main chamber with a 10' gate valve. The solar simulator uses nine...
Large Free-Piston Stirling Engines

Large Free-Piston Stirling Engines

The first generation of hardware in the Large Free-Piston Stirling Engine (12.5 kW per cylinder) program, shown above, was the Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE). The SPDE was a free-piston Stirling engine coupled to a linear alternator. It was a double cylinder, opposed-piston convertor designed...
Thermal Interface Evaluation Test

Thermal Interface Evaluation Test

A test rig is assembled and operational at the Heat Pipe Testing Laboratory at Glenn Research Center's (GRC) Electric Propulsion Lab to evaluate the thermal interface between a pumped single-phase fluid (water) and a heat pipe evaporator. Several different titanium-water heat pipes with various external...