Home / News / World /  NASA to test nuclear-powered rocket by 2027 that will make space travel faster
Back

In a first, the United States has announced that it will test a spacecraft engine powered by nuclear fission by 2027. The programme is part of a long-term NASA effort to demonstrate more efficient methods of propelling astronauts to Mars in the future, the space agency’s chief said Tuesday.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said during a conference in National Harbor, Maryland, “NASA will partner with the U.S. military's research and development agency, DARPA, to develop a nuclear thermal propulsion engine and launch it to space "as soon as 2027." 

A release by NASA said, using a nuclear thermal rocket allows for faster transit time, reducing risk for astronauts. 

Other benefits to space travel include increased science payload capacity and higher power for instrumentation and communication. In a nuclear thermal rocket engine, a fission reactor is used to generate extremely high temperatures. The engine transfers the heat produced by the reactor to a liquid propellant, which is expanded and exhausted through a nozzle to propel the spacecraft. Nuclear thermal rockets can be three or more times more efficient than conventional chemical propulsion, it further added

“NASA has a long history of collaborating with DARPA on projects that enable our respective missions, such as in-space servicing," said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Expanding our partnership to nuclear propulsion will help drive forward NASA's goal to send humans to Mars."

The last nuclear thermal rocket engine tests conducted by the United States occurred more than 50 years ago under NASA’s Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application and Rover projects.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less

Recommended For You

Trending Stocks

×
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout