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Space Power Systems

Radioisotope power systems can heat and power autonomous machinery for extended operation periods. INL assembles such generators by adding the radioactive power source.


A team of INL experts then conducts extensive testing to ensure the device will be able to withstand conditions it will experience during the rocket launch and deep space journey. Generators fueled and tested at INL are currently powering the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover.

READ: Atomic Power in Space II: A History 2015

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Chapters 1-2

Chapters 3-5

Chapters 6-10

Chapters 11-14


READ: Atomic Power in Space: A History (1987)

atomic power 1987 web image


Chapters 1-3

Chapter 4

Chapters 5-6

Chapters 7-8



Virtual tour: INL’s Space & Security Power Systems Facility