Rolls-Royce announced the development of a nuclear microreactor for space travel
Not everyone knows it, but the British company Rolls-Royce is not only luxury and expensive cars, but also high-tech aerospace developments. The company recently announced that it is working on the creation of a micro-reactor to power ships during long-duration space missions. The use of nuclear power would make rockets more efficient and flights cheaper. In addition, such a power source could be the best solution for a lunar – and eventually a Martian – base.
A key element in the Rolls-Royce project was safety. To do this, each portion of uranium would be encased in several shells capable of withstanding high overloads and extreme conditions in space. The company has been working on this project for several years. It will also use the experience and know-how of the American agency NASA, since the United States is also very interested in its success.
One of the variants of technology assumes the use of natural decay of nuclear material. In this case, heat, which can be converted into electrical energy, will be released for several decades. The introduction of such reactors will be a breakthrough that will mark a new era in space exploration. Similar projects have been launched in the U.S. and are being developed by Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse, X-Energy and Intuitive Machines. Britain’s Rolls-Royce plans to introduce a working microreactor by 2028, followed by a launch in 2030. Competitors say they will do the job at least a year earlier.
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