DARPA picks Lockheed Martin and Blue Origin to build nuclear spacecraft

April 16, 2021
Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems could hold the key to manned missions into deep space, Saqib Shah reports for Yahoo.

WASHINGTON - Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems could hold the key to manned missions into deep space. After sidelining the tech in the '70s due to budget constraints, NASA recently returned to NTP as a means of getting humans to Mars. The system, which works by transferring heat from a nuclear reactor to a liquid propellant to generate thrust, provides twice the propellant efficiency of chemical rockets, Saqib Shah reports for YahooContinue reading original article.

The Intelligent Aerospace take:

April 16, 2021 -The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has tapped Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, and General Atomics to develop a craft that can rapidly maneuver between Earth and the moon. Lockheed and Blue Origin will work on competing designs for the spacecraft. General Atomics will develop the nuclear reactor.

“The performer teams have demonstrated capabilities to develop and deploy advanced reactor, propulsion, and spacecraft systems,” said Maj. Nathan Greiner, United States Air Force, program manager for DRACO. “The NTP technology we seek to develop and demonstrate under the DRACO program aims to be foundational to future operations in space."

Related: DARPA partners with Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop propulsion system for subsonic, supersonic, hypersonic aircraft

Related: DARPA prototype reflectarray antenna offers high performance in small package

Related: DARPA seeks designs for cooling super-hot leading edges that rip through the air at more than five times the speed of sound

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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