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Reactor's waste heat dissipation in space

  1. Oct 10, 2010 #1
    So, hypothetically if we had a spaceship of some kind using a nuclear fission reactor for power, in order to dump the waste heat into space, how big of a radiator would be needed? How much heat, in watts, can be dumped per square meter of radiator in a vacuum?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2010 #2


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    The size of the radiator depends on the temperature and emissivity of the material.

    Eventually all of the heat is radiated to space, which when far enough from a star is at about 4 K. The trade off is between radiator effectiveness (temperature) and thermodynamic efficiency of whatever power conversion system one develops.

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