Commonly Used Primary Power Sources

In terms of primary power sources, there are a number of options (including solar arrays), and the main candidates are listed in Table 9.1. Figure 9.6 shows the most suitable primary power source for a spacecraft, given the duration of its mission and its electrical power requirement. From this we can see that, of the six sources listed in Table 9.1, only four are suitable for long-duration space missions, and of these only two—solar arrays and radioisotope thermal generators (RTG)—are commonly used.

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