Category : Technology
There were more interesting news about the use of nuclear propulsion in returning to the Moon, which is expected to take place already in 2024 and last until the end of the next decade. Then, the first bases are to be built on this object.
The first indications on nuclear propulsion technology appeared that the United States, China and Russia work on such systems. A few days ago we learned that the Russians have completed work on such technology and intend to test it in space.
Meanwhile, the United States has similar plans. The Pentagon gave the green light of NASA and DARPA to the concept of such drives. Apparently, the agency already has ready-made projects. Interestingly, there is even talk of speeding up the work on their construction so that it can be used in missions to return to the moon in 2024. The Pentagon wants to carry out the first tests of the drive itself next year. Most likely, the tests will be carried out in orbit using the secret mini-shuttle X-37B.
Mighty Space Launch System (SLS) missiles will soon be plummeting into space, but for NASA, the chemical propulsion used in them may not be enough to quickly and efficiently colonize the Red Planet. For some time, the agency has been increasingly interested in the technologies of nuclear propulsors abandoned during the Earth war.
A nuclear engine could change unrecognizable space exploration. Now probes, which are sent with missions on solar system objects, need months to reach their goal, and then even years to examine them thoroughly from their orbits. Meanwhile, a nuclear engine can not only be used to give huge speed to space ships, so that reaching the celestial bodies will take days or weeks, not months or years, but also allow them to maneuver freely, so the tests can be carried out much faster.
The innovative nuclear engine of the new generation will not emit radioactive elements in the flue gases. DARPA intends to produce such drives with the help of specialized 3D printers in the Earth's orbit, and later also on the Moon and Mars, to significantly reduce costs. Recently, the Pentagon has announced that rockets and spaceships will be created in a similar way in space. Everything indicates that in the near future, along with the development of the American Space Forces, the arms industry will reach new factories located outside our planet. Only safer in operation and creates less risk in case of failure, but it is also much easier to produce them .
The benefits of using technologies abandoned during the Cold War are many. In the case of nuclear propulsion, there will be new possibilities of carrying much heavier loads, because a rocket equipped with such a drive weighs less than the standard one. DARPA plans to popularize nuclear propulsion and compact reactors in the mid-1920s and early 1930s, when plans for the first manned mission to the Moon and Mars will enter a decisive phase. With the help of the new generation of rockets, the flight on the Silver Globe will last several hours, and on the Red Planet a few or a dozen days, and not half a year.
Recall that NASA has already completed the work on the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), which included Kilopower, a compact nuclear reactor. Its role will be to provide electricity to power lunar or Martian bases and heat them. The reactor is maintenance-free, has a capacity of 10 kilowatts and without any service measures is able to supply electricity to two homes for 10 years.