As detailed by NASA, the use of nuclear-thermal rockets will reduce transit times in future space travel.
NASA to develop and test nuclear rocket in space by 2027 the ability to enable manned missions to Mars.
For this program, called DRACO (Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations), the space agency has contracted DARPA, the official US agency responsible for developing new technologies for military use.
The last test of a nuclear thermal engine for rockets conducted by the United States was over 50 years ago in the framework of Nuclear Engines for Rocket Vehicle Applications and NASA’s Rover Project.
as reported in statement, Use of nuclear heat rockets reduces transit time reducing the risk to astronauts.
“Reducing transit time is a key factor for manned missions to Mars Because longer trips require more supplies and more robust systems. Developing faster and more efficient transportation technologies will help NASA reach its Moon-to-Mars goal,” NASA said in a statement.
Other contributions of nuclear rockets
Other benefits of space travel include: Increased scientific payload capacity and increased power for instrumentation and communications .
In a nuclear rocket engine, Nuclear fission reactors are used to generate extremely high temperatures The engine transfers the heat produced in the reactor to the liquid propellant. The liquid propellant expands and is ejected from the nozzle to propel the spacecraft.
In fact, a nuclear-thermal rocket could be more than three times more efficient than conventional chemical propulsion, the space agency explains.
Under the agreement, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will lead technology development for a nuclear thermal engine that will be integrated into the DARPA experimental spacecraft. In addition, this agency will act as the contracting agency for the development of the entire stage and engine, including the reactor.
DARPA also leads a global program that includes rocket systems integration and acquisition, approval, programming and safety, covers safety and responsibility, and ensures global assembly and spacecraft and engine integration.
through development NASA and DARPA Collaborate on Engine Assembly Ahead of 2027 Space Demonstration .