Home » News & Blogs » Space Fission Power Post #4:Small Steps are Needed to Utilize Fission Reactors in Space
Bookmark and Share
Space Nuclear Power: Fission Reactors

Space Fission Power Post #4:Small Steps are Needed to Utilize Fission Reactors in Space

23 May 2012, 23:26 UTC
Space Fission Power Post #4:Small Steps are Needed to Utilize Fission Reactors in Space
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

There are generally two ways to establish a truly enabling technology that goes well beyond current capabilities: 1) a nationally mandated program that utilizes a significant fraction of resources over an extended time period or 2) an evolution of the technology via smaller, shorter, more affordable steps. Nearly every technology used today evolved via path #2: automobiles, airplanes, computers, etc. The same is true of all technologies used in space exploration today: solar panels, lightweight structures, power conversion technologies, control systems, propulsion systems, etc. Unfortunately, fission technology has not progressed in a similar matter. In the 1960s, space fission technology was being successfully developed with frequent design, built, and test iterations, which is arguably the best way to develop any technology. With the SNAP and ROVER/NERVA programs, significant progress was being made in all regimes of space nuclear power and propulsion. In the 1970s, an irrational fear of nuclear radiation began to develop that led the creation of cumbersome regulations and bureaucracies; these in turn made nuclear operations increasingly difficult and expensive. In the 1980s, a major space reactor development program (SP-100) was attempted, but the cost and risk of ground testing a prototype became so high that the sponsoring ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod