The nuclear system to become a major part of the US space strategy

The nuclear system to become a major part of the US space strategy

On December 16, the White House released Space Policy Director.That develops plans for the development of space nuclear and propulsion (SNP) technology. The directive comes as part of the Trump administration’s major efforts to revive space exploration: building a space force, reviving the National Space Council (which has been dry for nearly two decades), and inaugurating a new one. National Space Policy To December 9, 2020.

The nuclear-powered flight has been debated for decades by engineers, policy makers, and, yes, scientific writers. However, the fission reactors are not here yet, let alone dilithium anti-case Power reactors allow warp speeds. Current, slower SNP systems include radioisotope power systems (RPS) and fission reactors used for power or systems in spacecraft, rovers, and other surface elements.

The nuclear system offers the best efficiency for deep space missions, such as Mars and planetary eclipses. Due to their excellent ensuring density, these systems offer twice the efficiency of the best chemical engines combined with comparable thrust levels.

The nuclear power used in space exploration is not new; NASA has used radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG)The heat generated by the radioactive decomposition of the platinum-238 is converted into electricity by the Voyager 1 and 2 probes, the Horizon Pluto spacecraft and the rosy Mars rover. RPS and RTG power offer many advantages over solar over-the-counter, as the latter often require large solar panels to operate in addition to supplemental batteries for ‘night’ applications (when sunlight is not available).

According to the Director, “The ability to use space nuclear and reconnaissance systems in a safe, secure and sustainable way is critical to maintaining and advancing United States dominance and strategic leadership in space.”

The memorandum outlines the policy and its objectives, including “demonstrating a separation power system on the lunar surface” (keeping in mind that no human has set foot on the moon since 1972). Including. It also declares that “the United States shall adhere to the principles of safety, security and stability in its development and use of SNPP systems in accordance with applicable federal law and in accordance with international obligations and commitments. ”

Instructions also National Security Presidential Memorandum-20, August 20, 2019, which “updated the process of unveiling spacecraft with space nuclear systems”, and established a policy for the development and use of space nuclear systems when such systems securely enable space exploration or operational capabilities. Enable or enhance ”.

SNP technology can promote space exploration in environments where other sources such as solar and chemical fuels are unavailable or insufficient, and also reduce transit times for spacecraft, potentially hazardous environments. There are fewer exposures, and they accelerate space travel.

Dr. Scott Pace, Executive Secretary of the National Space Council Commented: “Space Atomic and Reconnaissance and Systems is the basic enabling technology for US deep space missions to Mars and beyond. The United States intends to be at the forefront of space warfare, re-establishing nuclear technology in safety, security and space. ”

NASA also released A statement In support of the directive, NASA Administrator Jim Brydenstein remarked that SPD-6 “encourages the agency’s efforts to develop economical, safe and reliable nuclear systems, including continuous operation on other worlds and on Mars.” Includes technology capable of advancing human missions. NASA currently has the Artemis program, which plans to land a man and a land rat on the moon by 2024, and in the same statement, Brydenstein said, “On the moon, we are in the depths of the solar system for new science and human missions. We will prepare. ”

The Trump administration’s interest in outer space seems more strategic in nature than scientific. The competition for outer space is certainly intensifying, and China, which a few days ago, has been embroiled in a trade war with the United States since 2018. Successfully completed An expedition to bring back lunar rocks and soil samples, and also expressed interest in establishing a base on the moon.

Planetary Society at Washington, D.C. “Beijing has not issued any kind of declaratory statement where it wants to turn the United States into a leader in space … but it certainly wants to be a major player,” said Brendan Curry, chief of staff of the IAEA. Actors in space. ”

Last year, Vice President Mike Pence announced plans to accelerate the US return to the moon during 2024 A speech In it, he warned that China “wants to seize a lunar strategic high level and become the world’s leading astronaut.” NASA is currently barred from working directly with Chinese space agencies.

Private companies have also entered the new ‘space race’. Alan Musk, founder of SpaceXHas said it plans to send people to Mars by the time NASA plans to send people to the moon. Musk itself Admits That nuclear power would be integral to the future habitable Martish base.

It is unclear how the next Biden administration will approach US space strategy and policy, but a new space race – this time the People’s Republic of China – is inevitable. SNP systems are poised to play a significant role in the next space race.

With the help of Alexandra Peronsky.

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About the author: Seth Grace

"Social media trailblazer. Music junkie. Evil student. Introvert. Typical beer fan. Extreme web ninja. Tv fanatic. Total travel evangelist. Zombie guru."

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