AstroVinci™ Microreactor

Westinghouse is leveraging the eVinci™ microreactor technology to develop the AstroVinci™ microreactor – a resilient and mass efficient power source for Satellite and Lunar surface applications.

The AstroVinci™ microreactor leverages the features of the eVinci™ heat pipe reactor including a matrixed core design, industry leading heat pipe design and manufacturing, and integrated controls and power conversion. The AstroVinci microreactor design can support various mission types with power outputs ranging from 10kWe to 100kWe, easily addressing the power needs of on-orbit or lunar surface applications. The core is designed to run for up to 10 years to support extended mission durations. The simple design of the AstroVinci microreactor fission power system allows for the reduction of failure points, simple operation and increased reliability for the harsh environment of space.

Key Systems/Components

  • Heat Pipes - Passive heat transport devices eliminate the need for reactor coolant and associated systems. These self-regulating components are based on the proven advancements of the eVinci technology
  • Shut Down Rods - Inserted during transport/launch as well as providing defense-in-depth shutdown capabilities
  • Control Drums - Adjust reactivity and reactor power by passively rotating from the off position to full operation state
  • Power Conversion System – Closed Brayton Cycle System provides integrated power from the heat transferred from the fission power system core through the heat pipes to a heat exchanger – can accommodate Stirling Engines for lower power systems
  • Heat Rejection System – Removes any excess heat during operation and power cycles through the use of high performance radiators
  • Avionics/Control – The Fission Power system leverages the ALS v2 platform to control the system power level, a Westinghouse-developed, owned, and tested system

heat pipe

Key Applications

The AstroVinci microreactor fission power system can scale up or down to address the end use application or mission and be tailored to the specific mission life duration. The fission power system can be incorporated into various space vehicles or space systems and fits within standard launch vehicle fairings.

  • Defense, Civil or Commercial Satellite Power Systems
  • Lunar Surface Power Systems – Energy and process heat to power habitat bases, in-situ resource utilization, construction and surface operations
  • Martian Surface Power Systems – Extensible to support NASA’s Moon to Mars initiative with similar Lunar applications
  • Nuclear Electric Propulsion – Powering spacecraft propulsion systems for extended space missions/travel