China Develops Space Nuclear Reactor Which Capable of Powering 10 Space Stations

China Develops Space Nuclear Reactor Which Capable of Powering 10 Space Stations
China Develops Space Nuclear Reactor Which Capable of Powering 10 Space Stations

Beijing - China's Ministry of Science and Technology approved a space nuclear reactor project that aims to produce a source of energy or electrical power for the space station. A number of observers assess the nuclear reactor is capable of supplying electrical power to 10 international space stations (ISS).

Chinese officials have not explained why they want all those extraterrestrial powers, including nuclear reactors. The announcement comes after experts warned last year that the United States needed to put in more budget for nuclear-powered spacecraft.

NASA assesses China's nuclear reactors as very powerful and sufficient to maintain the equivalent of 10 International Space Stations (ISS). According to NASA estimates, the ISS complex receives at most 120 kilowatts of electrical power.

Components of the Long March 5B (Y2) to launch the Chinese space station core module at a facility in Tianjin

The media outlet cited by SpaceNews has yet to explain why China wants such a powerful nuclear reactor. However, China has not released any technical details regarding the construction of this space nuclear reactor.

Space missions often pivot to nuclear power when the sun is far away, or in zones of periphery or weak sunlight such as the far side of the moon or the surface of Mars. Nuclear power could also enhance future human space missions.

To that end, NASA, DARPA, and the Department of Defense, all have ongoing nuclear projects. "The United States needs to move at a fast pace to stay competitive and remain a leader in the global space community," Lal continued, speaking before the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

China's Long March 5B rocket carrying the Tiangong space station module lifts off

China's space nuclear reactor project first began in 2019. The project is billed as part of China's "strong interest in developing nuclear power for use in outer space," SpaceNews said.

State-controlled Chinese media, South China Morning Post in 2021, reportedly announced that a prototype nuclear design had been completed for space power. China is very experienced in using nuclear power during space missions, with the Chang'e 3 lunar lander, for example. Using a plutonium-powered nuclear generator, it was able to survive on the moon for two cold weeks.

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