US Military Claims It Will Have a Nuclear Powered Spaceship by 2027

US Military Claims It Will Have a Nuclear Powered Spaceship by 2027
US Military Claims It Will Have a Nuclear Powered Spaceship by 2027

International Military - The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) United States Department of Defense's  claims that by 2027 it will already have a nuclear-powered spacecraft. This program is to support government and private programs in space exploration.

DIU has announced two contracts to build prototype spacecraft on May 17, 2022 to two companies, Ultra Safe Nuclear and Avalanche Energy. "The ultimate goal is for the two companies to be able to demonstrate orbital flights by 2027," DIU officials said in a statement.

The contract was awarded to two companies, Ultra Safe Nuclear and Avalanche Energy, to demonstrate nuclear propulsion and power capability for a small spacecraft that will operate in cislunar (Earth-moon) space.

If all goes to plan, Ultra Safe Nuclear will demonstrate the EmberCore, a rechargeable nuclear radioisotope battery that is useful for propulsion and power. “This 'next generation' radioisotope system will be able to increase power levels 10 times higher, compared to plutonium systems, and provide more than 1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy in just a few kilograms of fuel,” DIU said.

Orbitron Avalanche Energy will use fusion ions in an electrostatic field, with the help of a magnetron to keep electrons closer to the atomic nucleus. The resulting fusion combustion then generates energetic particles that generate heat or electricity, which can power a high-efficiency propulsion system. “Compared to other fusion concepts, the Orbitron device is more promising for aerospace applications.

Given its size it can be reduced and allows its use as a driver and resource,” continued DIU. Another military organization seeking cislunar nuclear technology is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). On May 4, the organization announced it was ready to proceed with the project to design, develop, and assemble a nuclear thermal rocket engine for a demonstration flight expected in Earth orbit in 2026.

The proposal will support DARPA's Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program, which aims to develop a nuclear thermal propulsion system (NTP) for use in Earth-moon space.

Nuclear Power NTP uses a fission reactor to heat hydrogen or other propellants and shoot it out of nozzles for thrust. This system provides a thrust-to-weight ratio 10,000 times higher than electric propulsion systems. "This system also improves chemical rockets, because the propulsion efficiency (specific impulse) of NTP is about two to five times higher," said DARPA officials in the DRACO program description.

NASA is also looking for NTPs. Such a system could get astronauts to Mars in half the time of current propulsion systems (which would take six to nine months). NASA's fiscal 2023 budget request, which has not yet been approved by Congress, includes $15 million to support nuclear propulsion, and NASA is also collaborating on the DRACO project.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post