Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft (TOPS)

Graham1973

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The proposed Grand Tour spacecraft that was replaced by Voyager (Grand Tour). According to the final report I've linked to this was just a technology development effort that was to culminate in the construction of a ground test model. But I have heard otherwise.

The attached images include two of the Radiation Test mockup that represents the closest this project got to building a complete spacecraft.

1. TOPS Spacecraft (Main antenna has a diameter of 4.3m)

2. TOPS Science Payload & Launch Configuration

3. TOPS Radiation Test Model (Two Views)

Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft (TOPS), Advanced Systems Technology Project, Final Report (155mb)

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730012834_1973012834.pdf
 

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  • 03_TOPS_Radiation_Test_Model_01.png
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Last edited:
Found some documentation relating to TOPS Subsystem studies.

Attitude Propulsion Technology for TOPS (49mb)
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730005054_1973005054.pdf

Trajectory Correction Propulsion for TOPS (35mb)
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730005053_1973005053.pdf

Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft (TOPS) Electronic Packaging and Cabling Development Summary Report (Poor quality scan, 3mb)
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19750008664_1975008664.pdf

Explosive-actuated Valve Design Concept That Eliminates Blow-By for TOPS (Scan of best available copy, 2mb)
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19740019795_1974019795.pdf
 
Thanks for the data, Graham1973.

interesting this Between Grand Tour and Voyager probe.
it show also how much of this end up in Galileo orbiter, maybe even in Mariner Mark II study
 
Michel Van said:
Thanks for the data, Graham1973.

interesting this Between Grand Tour and Voyager probe.
it show also how much of this end up in Galileo orbiter, maybe even in Mariner Mark II study

Well, according to the Final Report, about half of the technology worked on found it's way into what became Voyager 1 & 2. I've not looked into the Mariner Mk II program, so I cannot be sure just what went from this project into that one.

One thing though, I cannot shake the feeling that this was intented to end in a flyable spacecraft, despite all the documents saying otherwise.

Anyway, here are the final two documents from the NTRS, the 4th Quarter 1969 and 1st/2nd Quarter 1970 reports by General Electric into their studies for the TOPS power system.


Power Conditioning Equipment For A Thermoelectric Outer Planet Spacecraft, Technical Report For Fourth Quarter, 1969
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19700014014_1970014014.pdf


Power Conditioning Equipment For A Thermoelectric Outer Planet Spacecraft, Technical Report For First & Second Quarters, 1970
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19700030193_1970030193.pdf
 
Graham1973 said:
I've not looked into the Mariner Mk II program, so I cannot be sure just what went from this project into that one.

MMII was much later. I think the concept was early-mid 1980s, but it did not get serious attention until mid-late 1980s.
 
Here are all the reports on TOPS as saved by the Internet Archive

Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft (TOPS), Advanced Systems Technology Project, Final Report (155mb)

https://web.archive.org/web/2010052...casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730012834_1973012834.pdf

Attitude Propulsion Technology for TOPS (49mb)

https://web.archive.org/web/2010052...casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730005054_1973005054.pdf

Trajectory Correction Propulsion for TOPS (35mb)
https://web.archive.org/web/2010052...casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19730005053_1973005053.pdf

Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft (TOPS) Electronic Packaging and Cabling Development Summary Report (Poor quality scan, 3mb)

https://web.archive.org/web/2017081...chive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19750008664.pdf

Explosive-actuated Valve Design Concept That Eliminates Blow-By for TOPS (Scan of best available copy, 2mb)

https://web.archive.org/web/2017030...chive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19740019795.pdf

Power Conditioning Equipment For A Thermoelectric Outer Planet Spacecraft, Technical Report For Fourth Quarter, 1969
https://web.archive.org/web/2017050...chive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19700014014.pdf

Power Conditioning Equipment For A Thermoelectric Outer Planet Spacecraft, Technical Report For First & Second Quarters, 1970

https://web.archive.org/web/2017050...chive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19700030193.pdf
 

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