The DoD Wants Companies to Build Nuclear Propulsion Systems for Deep Space Missions

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This reminds me of the pilot of a show that never got made, about the first interstellar spaceship that propelled itself by deploying a blastshield behind it and then detonating the dying Earth’s useless supply of nuclear bombs one by one.

FolkerD

It’s definitely the future of travel in our solar system. I think the Chinese will do it first though, there are just so many regulatory problems in the US to slow development + deployment.

RowKiwi

Personally, I think the coolest part of nuclear engines, but something a little overlooked, is how it means you can used inert reaction mass. No need to be hauling a skyscraper full of explosives into orbit. It would also make refueling way easier.

crothwood

I too want Companies to Build Nuclear Propulsion Systems for Deep Space Missions if only to bring the Rocinante closer to reality

Shep1117

So why doesn’t the DoD work with NASA on this? Why rely on companies who need to maximize profit rather than an agency than can focus on the mission without needing to also find a way to profit? Edit: >NASA and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) already fund the development of nuclear spacecraft, which won’t be available for some time. The DOD, meanwhile, is ready to put nuclear propulsion into service, and hopes to have a prototype in three to five years. Can anyone explain how this makes sense? Do companies really have the ability to develop this tech from scratch faster than NASA and DARPA who are already developing it? It just seems like a lot of corners are going to be cut.

TheBlueRabbit11