Health Physics Innovations Developed During Cassini for Future Space Applications


R. Nickell, T. Rutherford, G. Marmaro


The Cassini program utilized four radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) (three flight and one spare) as a power source for the deep space exploration mission. Approximately 124 radioisotope heater units (RHUs) also were utilized as part of the Cassini mission. Additionally, some of the scientific experiment packages flew custom-fabricated minor radioactive sources for internal calibration. Major radiological source missions require extensive radiological planning with regard to launch site handling, transportation, radiological controls, use/storage facility criteria, access, surveillance, and monitoring requirements. The United States has an outstanding record of safety, utilizing major radiological sources on 23 missions over the past three decades. Experiences in these missions have useful benefits in health physics planning for future missions. The Health Physics Program developed several innovations and enhancements for ground operations during the Cassini campaign. These enhancements are summarized.


This abstract was presented at the 32nd Annual Midyear Meeting, "Creation and Future Legacy of Stockpile Stewardship Isotope Production, Applications, and Consumption", Space Applications Session, 1/24/1999 - 1/27/1999, held in Albuquerque, NM.

Index of Midyear Meeting Abstracts