Status Report

NASA: National Environmental Policy Act – Development of Advanced Radioisotope Power Systems

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2004
Filed under , ,

[Federal Register: July 21, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 139)]
[Page 43629]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []


[Notice 04-091]

National Environmental Policy Act; Development of Advanced
Radioisotope Power Systems

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

ACTION: Extension of the scoping period.

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as
amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental
Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA
(40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and NASA’s policy and procedures (14 CFR
subpart 1216.3), NASA announced its intent to conduct scoping and to
prepare a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the
development of advanced Radioisotope Power Systems (RPSs) on April 22,
2004 in the Federal Register (69 FR 21867). This notice is to inform
the public that the scoping period for the Advanced Radioisotope Power
Systems EIS has been extended through July 30, 2004.

NASA, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE),
proposes to develop two types of advanced RPSs to satisfy a wide of
range of future space exploration mission requirements. These advanced
RPSs would be capable of functioning in the vacuum of space and in the
environments encountered on the surfaces of the planets, moons and
other solar system bodies. These power systems would be based upon the
General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) previously developed by DOE and used
in the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators for the Galileo, Ulysses,
and Cassini missions. The advanced RPSs would be capable of providing
long-term, reliable electrical power to spacecraft across the range of
conditions encountered in space and planetary surface missions. The
Tier I EIS will address in general terms the development and
qualification for flight of advanced RPSs using passive or dynamic
systems to convert the heat generated from the decay of plutonium to
electrical energy, and research and development of technologies that
could enhance the capability of future RPS systems. This development
activity would include, but not necessarily be limited to: (1) New
power conversion technologies to more efficiently use the heat energy
from the GPHS module, and (2) improving the versatility of the RPS so
that it would be capable of operating for extended periods both in the
vacuum of space and in planetary atmospheres. For more detailed
information see the original Federal Register notice cited above.

DATES: Interested parties are invited to submit comments on
environmental concerns in writing on or before July 30, 2004, to assure
full consideration during the scoping process.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Dr. George Schmidt, NASA
Headquarters, Code S, Washington, DC 20546-0001. While hardcopy
comments are preferred, comments may be sent by electronic mail to:

Code S, Washington, DC 20546-0001, by telephone at 202-358-0113, or by
electronic mail at

Jeffrey E. Sutton,
Assistant Administrator for Institutional and Corporate Management.
[FR Doc. 04-16592 Filed 7-20-04; 8:45 am]


SpaceRef staff editor.