nuclear thermal propulsion
DARPA awarded a $22 million contract to General Atomics to design a small nuclear reactor for space propulsion.
NASA needs to pursue “aggressive” development of space nuclear propulsion technologies if the agency wants to use them for human missions to Mars in the next two decades, a report by a National Academies committee concluded.
Uncertain overall funding and congressional direction to increase funding on specific projects could create pressure on NASA’s space technology program, an agency official warned Sept. 1.
A revised policy for approving the launch of spacecraft with nuclear power systems is the latest measure intended to support greater use of nuclear power systems in orbit and beyond.
With congressional funding and industry support, nuclear thermal propulsion technology is making progress for potential use on future NASA deep space missions, although how it fits into the agency’s exploration architectures remains uncertain.