(ORDO NEWS) — NASA is hoping to get funding for its project to build a nuclear reactor on the Moon. The agency has already signed contracts with three vendors to develop the concept.
Winning bids for this unique opportunity came from Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX (a joint venture between Intuitive Machines and X-Energy).
Each of the companies will work with several partners to develop their systems. These will be “initial concepts” only within the framework of this particular contract, with no guarantees that it is their project that will get to the moon.
– Concept development is expected to take about a year. For this, each of the participants will receive $ 5 million from NASA.
– As a result, a compact reactor on the Earth satellite will generate electricity to support a future lunar base as part of the Artemis program, aimed at returning a man to the Moon and continuing scientific research.
However, in the future, developments can be applied on Mars. NASA says the development of these early projects will help lay the groundwork for sustained human presence on other worlds.
– Relatively small and light compared to other power systems, nuclear fission systems are reliable and can provide continuous power regardless of location, available sunlight, and other natural environmental conditions.
– The specifications are expected to allow the nuclear power plant to operate for at least ten years.
– The US Department of Energy is also involved in the project, and the entire development process is managed by the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
The Fission Surface Power project is a very achievable first step for the United States to take nuclear power to the moon.
I look forward to seeing what each of these teams achieve, ” said John Wagner, director of the Idaho National Laboratory.
NASA also notes that the work performed under this contract may have other future applications on Earth or long-range spacecraft engines that could be used for deep space exploration.
They hope to receive a working reactor by the end of the decade, that is, no later than 2030.
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