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Open Access Long Life Radioisotopic Power Sources Encapsulated in Platinum Metal Alloys

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The platinum metals alloys, DOP-26 iridium and platinum-30 per cent rhodium, have been successfully used to encapsulate plutonia fuel pellets for the Cassini Spacecraft. The iridium-encapsulated heat sources provide approximately 900 watts of electrical power for the spacecraft and its experiments, whereas the platinum alloy clad pellets will supply about 150 watts of heat to various parts of the spacecraft and its lunar probe, Huygens. The particular alloys used on this mission have been selected to fulfil the critical function of maintaining fuel containment during normal service and for projected malfunction or accident scenarios. Their ability to perform satisfactorily has been demonstrated through extensive testing of their mechanical, physical and impact properties. The Cassini heat source manufacturing yields were significantly higher than those obtained for previous missions.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1997

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