Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



NASA Looks To Department Of Energy For Nuclear Space Tech Support

the only way to travel

 Washngton - Mar 22, 2004
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Naval Reactors (NR) Program has joined NASA in its effort to investigate and develop space nuclear power and propulsion technologies for civilian applications. These activities could enable unprecedented space exploration missions and scientific return unachievable with current technology.

NR brings 50-plus years of practical experience in developing safe, rugged, reliable, compact and long-lived reactor systems designed to operate in unforgiving environments. NR is a joint DOE and Department of the Navy organization responsible for all aspects of naval nuclear propulsion.

The partnership is responsible for developing the first NASA spacecraft, the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO), that will take advantage of a nuclear-reactor energy source for exploring our solar system. JIMO will visit Jupiter's three icy moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. These icy worlds, in particular Europa, are believed to have liquid-water oceans, under a thick layer of ice on their surfaces, which could potentially harbor life.

The reactor system will provide substantially more electrical power. This will greatly enhance the capability of ion-drive propulsion, the number and variety of scientific instruments on the spacecraft, the rate of data transmission, and orbital maneuvering around Jupiter's moons.

"NASA sought this partnership because NR has an enduring commitment to safety and environmental stewardship that is a requirement for an undertaking of this magnitude, " said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.

"This partnership will help ensure the safe development and use of a space-fission reactor to enable unparalleled science and discovery as we explore the solar system and beyond. This work is an integral piece of the President's exploration agenda and without it the exploration agenda is compromised," Administrator O'Keefe said.

NASA, through its newly created Office of Exploration Systems, expects that several reactor modules of the same or similar design as that required for JIMO would be developed for use on future exploration missions. NR will direct and oversee the development, design and delivery of, and operational support for these civilian reactor modules.

The Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, another DOE organization with extensive nuclear-reactor development experience, will retain responsibility for supporting NASA's other space nuclear technology efforts, including long-term space-reactor science and technology development not associated with NR's responsibilities.

All activities in support of NASA will be conducted as part of NR's civilian responsibilities for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency of DOE. Activities in support of NASA are not part of NR's Navy responsibilities or any Department of Defense activities.

This partnership with NASA is consistent with NR's history of supporting fission-reactor work for civilian applications, including the first U.S. commercial production of electricity from nuclear power at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station.

NASA will fund all work under the partnership. Specific roles and responsibilities will be defined in Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements currently being drafted by NASA and NR. NR and the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy will also review capabilities and facilities at DOE laboratories outside NR for consideration in support of JIMO and other Project Prometheus activities.

Established in 2003, Project Prometheus is developing radioisotope electric power sources for use in space and on planets or moons, as well as new fission-reactor power sources for advanced missions into deep space requiring higher power levels for science observations, propulsion, communications and life support systems.

Related Links
Project Prometheus
Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


ILS, Alcatel Sign Contract to Launch WORLDSAT 3 Satellite
Mclean - Mar 04, 2004
International Launch Services (ILS) will provide a Russian Proton rocket to launch the WORLDSAT 3 communications satellite, under a contract with Alcatel Space of Paris announced today. The launch is targeted for late 2005 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.







  • The Bush Space Initiative: Fiscal Nightmare or... Fiscal Nightmare?
  • Space Adventures Scouting Potential Locations For Sub-Orbital Spaceport
  • Outsourcing ESA's Corporate Information System Infrastructure
  • Will Space Junk Bring Down The Space Initiative

  • Martian South Pole Not Just Dry Ice
  • Opportunity Slips On First Crater Exit Attempt
  • Opportunity Leaves the Nest
  • The Spirit Of Soil Science Gets Close Up To The "Serpent"

  • NASA Looks To Department Of Energy For Nuclear Space Tech Support
  • The Making Of An Ariane 5 Launch
  • ILS To Launch NRO Mission as First Atlas V Flight from Upgraded Pad
  • ILS, Alcatel Sign Contract to Launch WORLDSAT 3 Satellite

  • Scientists Find New Carbon Pollution Called Tar Balls
  • Calipso Integration And Qualification Proceeding
  • Using EO To Assist Communities in Hazard Assessment and Fire Mitigation
  • NASA Explains "Dust Bowl" Drought

  • Gravity Rules: The Nature of Planethood
  • Enigma Of Uranus Solved At Last
  • Latest Kuiper Belt Object Could Be Biggest Yet
  • The Colorful Lives Of The Outer Planets

  • NASA's New Vision Inspires Students In Great Moonbuggy Race
  • Interstellar Hydrogen Shadow Observed For The First Time
  • Three-Ton Science Experiment To Cruise South Pole Skies For Cosmic Rays
  • NASA Selects SwRI Proposal To Study Interstellar Boundary

  • Sunny lunar mountain good site for base
  • Lunar Convoys As An Option For A Return To The Moon
  • NASA Planning Steps To Moon, Mars
  • SMART-1 Ion Engine Switched Off and Commissioning Begins

  • Boeing Delta II Deploys 50th GPS Satellite
  • European Parliamentarian McNally Urges Support For Space
  • GPS 2R-11 Satellite Dedicated to Ivan A. Getting
  • TrimTrac Wins Best Bang For The Buck Awarded In GPS Vehicle Tracking

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement