The world shortage of radioisotope plutonium-238 is a cause for concern regarding potential future space missions. With limited stock remaining, there is demand for more efficient systems to better utilise the remaining fuel. One such system currently still in development is the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator utilising Stirling technology that is expected to quadruple the efficiency of current radioisotope power systems.
This project has put forward a potential CubeSat Stirling Radioisotope Generator (CSRG) designed to be launched as a CubeSat payload allowing for easier access to space for easier acquisition of space heritage for Stirling technology. It’s initial theoretical efficiency is then analysed using the isothermal, adiabatic, and simple analyses. Although successful, due to the constraints imposed by the CubeSat design requirements, namely the limited working pressure, the calculated efficiency
is limited to 2.4%.
Overall, the primary objectives of providing a CubeSat based Stirling generator design and applying an analysis of its efficiency were successful and further recommendation were made pertaining to its future development.