The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) Program Mission Analysis Team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) requested a JPL Innovation Foundry Architecture Team (A-Team) study to assess mission pull for small RPS [1 to 40 W(electric)] and define the focus of future power system developments required to enable small RPS missions. The A-Team is JPL’s concurrent engineering design team for science definition and early mission concept development, targeting concept maturation levels of 1, 2, and 3. The requested small RPS study aimed to identify the architecture space of potential small RPS missions and suggest power levels that could enable or enhance potential future small spacecraft missions.

This technical note describes the collaborative engineering processes that the A-Team and Mission Analysis Team used to reach results quickly and presents the findings on power requirements for small RPS mission concepts.