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Friday, December 09, 2022

NASA Announces Artemis Concept Awards for Nuclear Power on the Moon

Copyright 2022 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
2022-06-21

Washington, 21 June 2022 /PRNewswire/ — NASA and the US Department of Energy (DOE) are working together to advance space nuclear technologies. The agencies have selected three design concept proposals for a fission surface power system design that could be ready to launch by the end of the decade for a demonstration on the Moon. This technology will benefit future exploration under the Artemis umbrella.

Nasa Logo.  (Prnewsfoto / Nasa) (Prnewsfoto /) (Prnewsfoto / Nasa)

The value of contracts awarded through DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory is approx. $5 million, The contracts fund the development of initial design concepts for the 40-kW class fission power system, which is planned to last at least 10 years in the lunar environment.

Relatively small and light compared to other power systems, fission systems are reliable and can enable continuous power regardless of location, available sunlight, and other natural environmental conditions. Demonstration of such systems on the Moon will pave the way for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars.

“New technology advances our exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “Developing these early designs will help lay the groundwork for empowering our long-term human presence on other worlds.”

Idaho National Laboratory’s management and operations contractor Battle Energy Alliance led the request for proposal development, evaluation and procurement, sponsored by NASA. Idaho National Laboratory will award 12-month contracts to the following companies to develop each initial design:

  • Lockheed Martin Bethesda, Maryland The company will partner with BWXT and Creare.
  • Westinghouse of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania The company will partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne.
  • of IX Houston, TexasA joint venture of Intuitive Machines and X-Energy The company will partner with Maxar and Boeing.

“Fragmentation is a very achievable first step towards surface power project United States Nuclear power installation on the Moon,” said Idaho National Laboratory Director John Wagner, “I look forward to seeing what each of these teams will achieve.”

The Phase 1 award will provide NASA with critical information from industry that can lead to the joint development of a complete flight-certified fission power system. Fission surface power technologies will also help NASA mature nuclear propulsion systems that rely on reactors to generate electricity. These systems can be used for deep space exploration missions.

NASA’s fission surface power project is managed by the agency’s Glenn Research Center cleveland, Development of the power system is funded by the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Technology Demonstration Mission Program, which is located at Marshall Space Flight Center. huntsvilleAlabama.

For more information about NASA’s investments in space technology, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

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