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The US and China Could Soon Be In Race For Nuclear-Powered Satellites.

The US and China Could Soon Be In Race For Nuclear-Powered Satellites, Defense One, 16 Jan 22,

An idea from the 1960s has found new backers.,  If future U.S. satellites are to dodge incoming Russian or Chinese fire, they’ll need better ways to move around than today’s fuel-intensive thrusters. That’s why the Pentagon is looking into nuclear-powered propulsion.

While leaders at the Space Force and the Pentagon Research and Development office remain publicly quiet about the idea of putting nuclear-powered spacecraft in orbit, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies released a new report that argues for more focused work on it. 

It isn’t a new concept. NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission were working toward a flight test for their nuclear rocket until the Vietnam War sapped the program’s funding. It was cancelled in 1973, and safety concerns have since scuttled further efforts………….

If future U.S. satellites are to dodge incoming Russian or Chinese fire, they’ll need better ways to move around than today’s fuel-intensive thrusters. That’s why the Pentagon is looking into nuclear-powered propulsion.

While leaders at the Space Force and the Pentagon Research and Development office remain publicly quiet about the idea of putting nuclear-powered spacecraft in orbit, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies released a new report that argues for more focused work on it. 

It isn’t a new concept. NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission were working toward a flight test for their nuclear rocket until the Vietnam War sapped the program’s funding. It was cancelled in 1973, and safety concerns have since scuttled further efforts……….

But one DARPA official, at least, suggests looking at the idea afresh. A 2020 policy change from the Trump White House has clearing the way for new research into nuclear propulsion, Micheal Leahy, the director of the tactical technology office at DARPA, told a virtual audience on Friday. Leahy’s office runs the DARPA Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, or DRACO, program. Last April, DARPA awarded General Atomics a contract for a preliminary design of a reactor and propulsion subsystem, and gave Lockheed Martin and Blue Origin a contract for a spacecraft design.

But the bigger factor is thatChina is working along similar lines with planes to field its own nuclear-powered satellites by 2040. The lessons from the current gap in hypersonic missile technology should provide a cautionary tale, Leahy said. 

“We had the lead in hypersonics, only to watch it go away. Right?… Now I’m in a tail chase,” he said.  https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2022/01/us-and-china-could-soon-be-race-nuclear-powered-satellites/360792/

January 17, 2022 - Posted by | China, space travel, USA

1 Comment »

  1. These people are lunatics, of the first order. Assuming we last until 2040. Murica spends a trillion a year, on murderous crap, like this. The USA has a Terrible healthcare system . It has mass homelessness. There is climate change, with Rampant wildfires and hurricanes. There are many climate refugees. So our children, now have to worry about more plutonium satellites, reigning helfire on them. Greedy, corporate devil imbeciles, and paychopaths

    Comment by Kara rogers | January 18, 2022 | Reply


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