24/7 Space News
ROCKET SCIENCE
NASA picks Lockheed Martin to develop nuclear rocket
ADVERTISEMENT
NASA picks Lockheed Martin to develop nuclear rocket
by AFP Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 26, 2023

NASA and the US military said Wednesday they had selected defense contractor Lockheed Martin to develop a nuclear powered rocket, with a view to using the technology for missions to Mars.

The Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program may launch as soon as 2027, officials said on a call.

Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems could cut journey times, increase fuel efficiency, and require less propellant, meaning future spacecraft could carry larger payloads than today's best chemical rockets.

NTP works by pumping a liquid propellant, in DRACO's case cryogenic hydrogen, through a reactor core, where uranium atoms split apart through fission.

The process super heats the propellant, converting it into a gas and funneling it through a nozzle to produce thrust.

"These more powerful and efficient nuclear thermal propulsion systems can provide faster transit times between destinations," said Kirk Shireman, vice president of Lunar Exploration Campaigns at Lockheed Martin Space.

"Reducing transit time is vital for human missions to Mars to limit a crew's exposure to radiation," he added.

BWX Technologies will be responsible for developing the nuclear reactor and propellant.

For safety purposes, DRACO's reactor will not be turned on until the spacecraft has reached a high orbit.

Shireman added that the technology could also "revolutionize" future missions to the Moon, where NASA plans to build long term habitats as part of the Artemis program.

NASA conducted its last nuclear thermal rocket engine tests more than 50 years ago but the program was abandoned due to budget cuts and Cold War tensions.

Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
ROCKET SCIENCE
Exploration power for the Moon, Mars, and Beyond
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 22, 2022
With Artemis, NASA looks to accomplish something unprecedented - exploration of the lunar South Pole. When astronauts reach their destination and establish a long-term presence, a unique challenge awaits. Unlike Apollo missions, which were equatorial and had abundant sunlight, Artemis missions will operate in inhospitable conditions, including the lunar night cycle and permanently shadowed craters. They also will traverse between areas of blinding sunlight and complete darkness. To accomplish the ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ROCKET SCIENCE
Geophysics student employs 800-year-old method for Lunar GPS system

In new space race, scientists propose geoarchaeology can aid in preserving space heritage

On space, poll shows most Americans support NASA's role, U.S. presence

NASA's Bill Nelson to discuss bilateral cooperation in South America

ROCKET SCIENCE
NASA picks Lockheed Martin to develop nuclear rocket

What You Need to Know about NASA's SpaceX Crew-7 Mission

Former Twitter exec says a mercurial Musk rules by 'gut'

Gilmour Space Technologies to accelerate design and manufacturing with Siemens Xcelerator

ROCKET SCIENCE
Mawrth Vallis region - the deepest clay deposits on Mars

Unveiling Mars' Past: Olympus Mons as a Gigantic Volcanic Isle

Sleeping the Sol Away: Sol 3894

Perseverance sees Mars in a new light

ROCKET SCIENCE
China's Space Station Opens Doors to Global Scientific Community

China's Lunar Mission targets manned landing by 2030

Shenzhou XVI crew set to conduct their first EVA

Timeline unveiled for China's advanced manned spacecraft's inaugural flight

ROCKET SCIENCE
New Heights for Satellite Communication: Iridium Launches Certus for Aviation

Iridium Board of Directors approves additional share repurchase program

Leaf Space secures additional edging closer to seamless satellite connectivity

Sidus Space to Host SOLAR MEMS Star Tracker on June SpaceX Mission

ROCKET SCIENCE
China imposes export curbs on critical metals, drones

Beyond Gravity to provide off-the-shelf computer to Quantum Space's Ranger multi-purpose vehicle

Imaging shows how solar-powered microbes turn CO2 into bioplastic

For decades, artist Eduardo Kac has been laser-focused on sending hologram project into space

ROCKET SCIENCE
Violent Atmosphere Gives Rare Look at Early Planetary Life

Water discovered in rocky planet-forming zone offers clues on habitability

NASA lab hopes to find life's building blocks in asteroid sample

New study reveals Roman Telescope could find 400 Earth-mass rogue planets

ROCKET SCIENCE
SwRI team identifies giant swirling waves at the edge of Jupiter's magnetosphere

First ultraviolet data collected by ESA's JUICE mission

Unveiling Jupiter's upper atmosphere

ASU study: Jupiter's moon Europa may have had a slow evolution

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.