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Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) and heater units (RHU) are being developed by the University of Leicester for space nuclear power systems. Aimed at enabling or significantly enhancing space science missions, these systems rely on the cost-effective production of americium-241 for the fuel.

The use of an iterative approach and the application of lean methodologies for the development of the systems have been the focus of this technology program. Isotope containment architectures and, in the case of RTG systems, bismuth telluride based thermoelectric generators were developed. At the small end of the scale, the RHU configuration is based on a 3 W thermal power output. The first version of this system has been designed and analysed. Electrically-heated and mechanical models have been produced and tested.

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