Nuclear Tech in Space: What’s on the Horizon?

Illustration of a Mars transit habitat and nuclear propulsion system that could one day take astronauts to Mars. (Credits: NASA)

La Grange Park, Ill. (American Nuclear Society PR) — NASA aims to develop nuclear technologies for two space applications: propulsion and surface power. Both can make planned NASA missions to the moon more agile and more ambitious, and both are being developed with future crewed missions to Mars in mind. Like advanced reactors here on Earth, space nuclear technologies have an accelerated timeline for deployment in this decade.


NASA Selects Companies To Study Solar Electric Propulsion Spacecraft

An electric propulsion engine. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA has selected five companies to develop concepts for demonstrating solar electric propulsion in space. These capabilities are important for the agency’s future human exploration missions to deep space.

The selected companies, pending successful contract negotiations, are:

— Analytical Mechanics Associates Inc., Hampton, Va.
— Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.
— The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, Calif.
— Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colo.
— Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Redondo Beach, Calif.