Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Carl R. Hartsfield, PhD


A design reference mission using more modern technological innovations has been developed for exploration of the outer reaches of our Solar System, specifically Uranus and its system of satellites. This mission will utilize theoretical technologies mostly without regard to their current technological readiness level (TRL), though most systems have a TRL of at least 5. The primary innovations explored in this thesis are the new launch systems that provide far greater payload capacity potentially sent to anywhere in the Solar System, new Stirling-engine radioisotope thermoelectric generators (SRTGs), vastly improved data storage technologies, optimized satellite antenna relay of data using much higher transfer frequencies and wider arrays, and much more precise gyroscopes that allow for more powerful communications, only to name a few improvements. The final result is a payload capacity of greater than 3,000 kg that can be sent to Uranus, data transfer rates of upwards of 10 Mbps that the Earth will receive from the probe and its satellite system, 6 kW (4.5 kW at time of reaching Uranus) of power generated by all SRTGs onboard the spacecraft, all accomplished in a single launch that will take approximately 15 years to reach the water world.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number