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Fusion Science and Technology
Trump leaves space nuclear policy executive order for Biden team
A hot fire test of the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi was not completed as planned. The SLS is the vehicle meant to propel a crewed mission to the moon in 2024. Source: NASA Television
Among the executive orders President Trump issued during his last weeks in office was “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” which builds on the Space Policy Directives published during his term. The order, issued on January 12, calls for actions within the next six months by NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD), together with the Department of Energy and other federal entities. Whether the Biden administration will retain some, all, or none of the specific goals of the Trump administration’s space nuclear policy remains to be seen, but one thing is very clear: If deep space exploration remains a priority, nuclear-powered and -propelled spacecraft will be needed.
The prospects for near-term deployment of nuclear propulsion and power systems in space improved during Trump’s presidency. However, Trump left office days after a hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket did not go as planned. The SLS rocket is meant to propel crewed missions to the moon in 2024 and to enable a series of long-duration lunar missions that could be powered by small lunar reactor installations. The test on January 16 of four engines that were supposed to fire for over eight minutes was automatically aborted after one minute, casting some doubt that a planned November 2021 Artemis I mission can go ahead on schedule.
N. K. Hicks, W. Suttrop, K. Behler, M. García-Muñoz, L. Giannone, M. Maraschek, G. Raupp, M. Reich, A. C. C. Sips, J. Stober, W. Treutterer, F. Volpe, Asdex Upgrade Team, S. Cirant, G. D'Antona
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 57 | Number 1 | January 2010 | Pages 1-9
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST57-1-1
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The ASDEX Upgrade tokamak employs a 60-channel electron cyclotron emission (ECE) radiometer diagnostic for the measurement of radial electron temperature profiles of the plasma. The data acquisition (DAQ) portion of the system has now been upgraded to sample at 1 to 2 MHz, and accordingly, electron temperature fluctuations from 500 kHz to 1 MHz may be measured. The high spatial resolution of [approximately]1 cm and flexible magnetic field coverage from 1.5 to 3.0 T remain unchanged. The system can now provide observations of plasma phenomena on the magnetohydrodynamic timescale, such as neoclassical tearing modes (NTMs) and toroidal Alfvén eigenmodes (TAEs). The upgraded and existing DAQ systems may be run in parallel for comparison, and some of the first plasma measurements using the two systems together are presented, along with an example of localization of [approximately]120-kHz TAEs in the fast ECE data. A principal planned application of the upgraded radiometer is integration into a real-time NTM stabilization loop using targeted deposition of electron cyclotron resonance heating (ECRH) or electron cyclotron current drive. For this loop, it is necessary to determine the locations of the NTM and ECRH deposition using ECE measurements. The NTM location is determined via correlation between ECE and Mirnov coil measurements, and results of this technique for (2,1) and (3,2) NTMs are presented. ECRH deposition is located by observing the modulation signature of the injected ECRH power in ECE measurements. Several additional applications enabled by the upgraded radiometer are also discussed.