(ORDO NEWS) — An American company has proposed a new technology for nuclear propulsion to NASA. The developers claim that the new engine is safer, more reliable and more efficient than its predecessors.
Chemical rockets are becoming obsolete. Nuclear engines can replace them. An American company has proposed a new type of thermal nuclear engines, which is much safer and more powerful than its predecessors.
Chemical-fueled rockets are close to their theoretical limit. Therefore, if humanity wants to travel to the planets of the solar system and other stars in a reasonable time, it will need more efficient engines.
Today, one of the most promising replacements for existing technologies is the nuclear engine. If properly designed, nuclear-powered rockets could be several times more efficient than their chemical counterparts.
But there is one problem – to create a nuclear reactor that would be light enough and safe enough to use outside the Earth’s atmosphere, so far no one has succeeded.
Scientists and engineers from Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies have presented their design of a nuclear thermal rocket engine, which is more reliable than previous versions of these propulsion systems and allows you to create twice the specific impulse.
To power the engine, engineers propose using nuclear fuel in zirconium carbide microcapsules. They will contain uranium enriched above 5% and below 20%. This type of fuel is still considered low-enriched, but it is not used in nuclear power plants, since it contains a lot of radioactive element to generate electricity.
According to the developers, the proposed type of fuel is safer than previously proposed nuclear fuels. In addition, it allows the engine to operate at high temperatures. In addition, such fuel can be created using existing technologies.
It is hoped that the new technology could help create nuclear engines that would drastically shorten deep space travel times and allow humans to fly to Mars in as little as three months.
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