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Nuclear reactor to power NASA spacecraft

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posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 06:36 PM
With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NASA and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, nuclear reactors will now officially be included as part of NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration

posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 06:47 PM
cassini and a few other probes have all already had nuclear reactors to power them. so this isn't really a first. nice find though!

i remember back before cassini being launched all the commotion about what if it blew up on launch or crashed to earth on it's nearby pass a couple years later (2001 maybe?) everyone was so afraid of it spreading plutonium everywhere.


posted on Aug, 25 2004 @ 12:45 AM
One of the probes using this nuclear (fission) reactor would be JIMO (Jupiter Icy Moon Orbiter)

Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
cassini and a few other probes have all already had nuclear reactors to power them. so this isn't really a first.
No, this would be entirely different.
Those used in earlier probes are called Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators, they use heat of the normal radioactive decaying to produce electricity.

Actually every probe going farther than Mars have been equipped with those because low level of solar radiation in there. (with addition of Ulysses which used Jupiter's gravity to get to "polar orbit" of sun)

Only Soviets have used nuclear reactor in satellites. (RORSATs)

posted on Aug, 25 2004 @ 12:49 AM

Originally posted by E_T
No, this would be entirely different.

i thought cassini and voyager both used fission? odd... thanks though

posted on Aug, 25 2004 @ 01:59 AM
we really need to bring fission..and fusion to life on our space programs, to help nasa and the private space sector, move foward.

programs like what bigelow( )is proposing would benafit from the technology.

we need to move our space program foward. private hopefully, but all the same foward.. so we can move foward in our quest for space.

i vote to push a private secter company to put a space craft in orbit with fission plasma or fusion propulsion, so we can explore better than we have with so many restrictons!

just a thought


posted on Aug, 25 2004 @ 04:00 PM
The US did launch and activate a space reactor in the 1960's, they were series of reactors called SNAP. One reactor was launched and activated for alittle over 70 days before it was shutdown for technical reasons. It didnt have restart capabilities so it wasnt used again. NASA also did work in early 1980s on space reactors. These reactors are alot safer than RTGs since Uranium has very little radioactivity. The RTGs require small to moderate half lives with high energy radiation to get alittle amount of energy out of them with basically a thermal couple.

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