Ultra Safe Nuclear and Avalanche Energy has been awarded contracts to demonstrate nuclear propulsion and demonstrate the operability of small spacecraft that will operate in the space between Earth and the Moon.
Unless unexpected complications arise, Ultra Safe Nuclear will showcase the EmberCore, a nuclear radioisotope battery potentially used for propulsion and power. It will achieve 10 times the energy levels compared to plutonium-based systems and save more than one million kilowatt-hours of energy from just a few kilograms of fuel.
The overall plan appears to be to control the activities that occur in the space between the Earth and the Moon. It concerns the two projects operated by private foundations and entities directly under the jurisdiction of the United States. This includes implementing the Artemis program, which aims to put people on the moon in the next few years. On the other hand, Avalanche Energy’s Orbitron uses a magnetron to keep electrons closer to their nucleus than would normally be possible.
New systems should be introduced by 2027
As a result of fusion combustion, active molecules are created that generate heat or electricity that can power a highly efficient propulsion system. Compared to other nuclear fusion concepts, Orbitron devices hold promise for space applications because they can be scaled up and can be used as a source of thrust and power.
Defense Innovation Unit
On May 4, DARPA expressed its readiness to implement a project aimed at designing, developing and assembling a fusion rocket engine, which will be placed in Earth orbit by 2026. The ultimate goal is to develop a thermonuclear propulsion (NTP) that can be used in space between Earth and the Moon. NASA is also looking at NTP technology that could help get astronauts to Mars in half the time compared to currently available solutions.
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