NASA handed out awards for the development of the lunar nuclear reactor project

NASA and the US Department of Energy have selected three companies that will receive contracts for the development of a promising space nuclear reactor project. In the future, it can be used to meet the needs of the Artemis program.

40-kilowatt nuclear reactor on the Moon. Illustration: NASA

At the end of last year, NASA announced the beginning of studying the possibility of using a small nuclear reactor to supply energy to a future lunar base. Shortly after that, the aerospace administration called on American companies to present concepts of promising power plants capable of operating on the surface of the Moon for ten years and generating up to 40 kW of electricity. 

After studying all the options received, NASA and the US Department of Energy have chosen for further implementation three of the most promising projects developed by the following enterprises:

  • Lockheed Martin. The company will join forces with BWXT and Creare.
  • Westinghouse. The company will join forces with Aerojet Rocketdyne.
  • IX (Intuitive Machines and X-Energy joint venture). The company will join forces with Maxar and Boeing.

Each of the winners will receive an annual contract worth USD 5 million for further development of their projects. In the future, one of them may be selected for a real flight to the Moon as part of the Artemis program to demonstrate the capabilities of space nuclear power plants.

Recall that NASA recently managed to fully refuel the SLS rocket for the first time.

According to

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