US Developing New Nuclear Systems to Power Space Missions, New Bases, Energy Chief Says
22:40 GMT 09.12.2020
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is developing different versions of nuclear power to use on lunar and other space bases and for long-range interplanetary manned and unmanned probes, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette told the National Space Council.
The Energy Department had created closer ties than ever before with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to empower and speed up its programs, Brouillette said.
"We will continue to develop surface fission power, thermal nuclear propulsion technologies and advanced nuclear fuel production capabilities," Brouillette said on Wednesday.
The department was also "ramping up" Uranium isotope-238 production thus clearing a production bottleneck and making possible "quicker mission tempos" to launch more deep space, interplanetary missions through the Solar System through the 2020s, Brouillette continued.
The Energy Department had also already drawn up a new space strategy for the next ten years to support the space missions of NASA and other government agencies. However, it had not been published yet, Brouillette said.
Earlier this year, the Energy Department put out a request to the private sector to construct nuclear power plants capable of operating beyond the boundaries of our planet.
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