Advanced Nuclear Propulsion and Power
The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking commercial solutions for lightweight, portable, and long-duration power sources that can support propulsion and on-station power for sensing and communication on small- and medium-sized spacecraft.
Desired Product Capabilities
- high specific impulse (>2,000 sec)
- high delta-V capability (>10km/s)
- high specific energy and specific power
- laboratory demonstration of scalability to >kWe
- system lifetime above minimum power threshold > 3 years
- systems can be scaled down in size to < 2,000kg propulsion and power system dry mass
- Additional capabilities and qualities of interest:
- provide heat to spacecraft systems in shadowed environments (in space)
- minimize radiation exposure to ground personnel during spacecraft integration
- minimize ionizing radiation exposure to and impact on surrounding electronic components, integrated circuits, avionics, etc.
- include feasible manufacturing of radioactive material fuel elements and safety characteristics (e.g. encapsulation, thermal stability)