DARPA chose Lockheed Martin and Blue Origin to build nuclear spacecraft. The two companies will work with General Atomics to design an agile rocket for cislunar missions.
Nuclear thermal drive (NTP) systems could be the key to manned missions in space. NASAHas put technology aside and developed due to budget constraints since the 70s NTPback to
NASA turned to NTP as a way to take it to Mars.
The system, which works by transferring heat from the nuclear reactor to the liquid propellant to create a propulsion, provides twice the fuel efficiency of chemical rockets. Pentagon’s Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects (DARPA) Aims to increase the speed of development of NTP technology.
Pentagon’s Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects (DARPA) Aims to increase the speed of development of NTP technology. Accordingly the agency 2025 It will install a nuclear-based propulsion system in a spacecraft above low earth orbit by the year.
Over the next 18 months, the mission will split into phase 1 of the DRACO (Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations) program and companies to develop a vehicle that is fast maneuverable in cislunar space (between the earth and the moon).
According to CNBC’s report, the winning of the award points to a new national security convention for Blue Origin.
Bezos’ company and in total 5.4 million dollars donated Lockheed Martin, Firstly NTP will work on competing designs for the operational spacecraft operating with the system. In General Atomics 22 million dollars will develop the nuclear reactor with the grant.
“Performance teams have demonstrated their ability to develop and deploy advanced reactor, propulsion and spacecraft systems,” said DRACO program manager Nathan Greiner. “The NTP technology, which we are trying to develop and demonstrate within the scope of the DRACO program, aims to form the basis of future operations in space.”