2013 CSNR Summer Fellowship Program

Applications for the 2013 CSNR Summer Fellowship Program are now being accepted

The Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) invites undergraduate and graduate level students to experience cutting-edge research in nuclear power and propulsion technologies through our Summer Fellowship Program. As a CSNR Summer Fellow, you will work as part of a team of students and with scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to complete a research project of current interest to NASA in potential nuclear technology performance. The Summer Fellows program allows participants to experience a real research environment, to learn from top-notch nuclear scientists, and to preview careers in research.

The roughly 10-week program runs from May 2013 to August 2013. Fellows will receive a weekly stipend to cover living expenses of $500, $600, and $700, for undergraduate, master’s level, and PhD level students, respectively. Assistance with travel expenses to a maximum of $1000 is also included. The CSNR intends to subsidize partial or full housing expenses depending on funding availability. Funding for the Summer Fellowship program has not yet been finalized. The number of students ultimately selected will depend on the final funding level to the CSNR.

Up to fifteen positions are available for the summer of 2013. Of these, five positions will be considered for undergraduates with at least 50 semester hours of credit interested in pursuing a career in the sciences. Applicants will be considered for appointment without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, age, handicap status, or other nonmerit factors. Foreign nationals will be considered, but they must be enrolled in a US-based university.

All online application information should be received by the CSNR no later than March 15, 2013. Notification of selection will be made by March 30, 2013. Successful applicants should be prepared to make a decision regarding the offer to participate within one week of notification.

The 2013 program is composed of the following   opportunities:

1. Design of a high performance, high-power nuclear reactor for advanced space propulsion. High power electric propulsion offers the potential for rapid transits to Mars and beyond. The team will examine the feasibility and performance of an optically coupled reactor that separates the power conversion system from the reactor. The CSNR continues to pursue the design of low mass power sources for space exploration. Past Fellows projects have examined the use of thermophotovoltaic power conversion. This effort will look at applying the concept to very high power.

2. Design of a high power (1 kWe), sub critical, power source. The team will examine the possibility of using sub-critical masses of Americium or Curium to amplify the power output from small radioisotope-based neutron sources.

3. Assessment of benefits of an NTR ferry for robotic probes. The tungsten cermet fuel being developed at the CSNR for application in the nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) offers the potential for very high performance. The team will design an advanced concept NTR striving to achieve a thrust-to-weight ratio over 10 and specific impulse of near 1000 s. The team will develop an operational plan and a business case for using a reusable NTR to launch robotic probes from low earth orbit to the outer solar system.

4. Design of cubesat missions to the outer planets using RTPV. The CSNR is developing compact, low mass, radioisotope power sources to power small satellites such as cubesats throughout the solar system. The team will conceive and design missions for micro-sats to the outer planets, assess power requirements, and determine platform masses for the missions.

For more information, please go to our webwite: http://csnr.usra.edu

USRA Point of Contact:
Kristi L. Martin – Executive Assistant to Dr. Steven D. Howe, Director
Center for Space Nuclear Research
995 University Blvd. MS 3553
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
(208) 526-8441
(208) 526-2854 fax