National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research CenterGlenn Research Center

AES Modular Power Systems (AMPS) for Space Exploration

AMPS will infuse and demonstrate batteries, fuel cells, and other power modules for exploration ground system demonstrations; and, develop modular power design concepts that will guide the ground system demonstrations and modular assembly development for the duration of this project, and will ultimately be realized in exploration flight hardware subsequent to this project.

The goals of this project are to:

  1. Develop modular power design concepts for human exploration flight vehicles (longer-term) and AMPS ground demonstrations (short-term).
  2. Demonstrate the modular power design concepts, by participating in yearly field analog and ground demonstrations, infusing power technologies developed by the Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) Space Power Systems (SPS) project, the former Exploration Technology Development and Demonstration (ETDD) Program, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), and other government agencies as practicable.
  3. Demonstrate and verify the operation of the modular power systems in a relevant, end-to-end ground test environment.

AMPS will pursue rapid hardware development cycles for such exploration systems. Also, AMPS will determine a family of common power modules, delivering at least one system each year and repeating the requirements, design, build, test, learn process each year.

In year one (FY12), this project will focus on development and demonstration of power modules for the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV), Extravehicular Activity (EVA) battery, fuel cells and Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) for a Mars In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) lander, and other demonstrations of opportunity. These short-term ground demonstration activities will inform the design studies and concepts (SE&I) in year one, which in turn will inform AMPS of the target, flight-like, modular hardware to develop and demonstrate in years two (FY13) and three (FY14).

New technologies that will be incorporated into AMPS system designs and demonstrations include:

  • Non-Flow-Through (NFT) fuel cells that will infuse into the SCARAB rover, the MMSEV, and possibly other NASA vehicles.
  • Advanced Passive-Flow-Through (PFT) fuel cells with Ejector/Regulator technology for a Mars ISRU Lander and its auxiliary utility pallet.
  • Novel solar array panel cell and structure technology development and test, for potential infusion into the MM-SEV, Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP), and possibly other NASA vehicles. This can be accomplished via infusion of OCT-developed advanced inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) cells with a self-deployable, rollout solar array (ROSA) structure developed under SBIRs.
  • PMAD regulators
  • Ultra-High Energy (UHE) battery cells for EVA and other vehicles with small design margins