NASA and DARPA to build nuclear-powered spacecraft. For faster travel to Mars.

NASA and DARPA, the US military’s research arm, have started a collaboration where they plan to develop an atomic-powered engine for spacecraft. The project goes by the name DRACO (Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations) and they hope to show off the engine sometime around 2027.

The idea behind the project is that spacecraft with nuclear-powered engines could speed up trips to, for example, Mars. NASA Director Bill Nelson says of the new collaboration with DARPA in a press release:

“NASA will work with our long-term partner, DARPA, to develop and demonstrate advanced nuclear thermal propulsion technology as soon as 2027. With the help of this new technology, astronauts could journey to and from deep space faster than ever – a major capability to prepare for crewed missions to Mars.”

DRACO will consist of two parts. Partly the atomic engine itself that NASA will develop, partly an experimental spacecraft that DARPA will develop. Above you can see a concept image of DRACO.


nasa.gov


Science, Space,

mars, nasa, darpa, spacecraft, rocket, draco, nuclear, nuclear powered, fission engine

Via

darpa.mil




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