Lockheed gets US defense contract to develop nuclear-powered spacecraft

(Reuters) – Weapons maker Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract by a U.S. Department of Defense agency to develop a nuclear-powered spacecraft for the purposes of exploration and national defense, the company said on Wednesday.

This comes at a time when U.S.-based space companies, along with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, are competing to cater to the burgeoning demand for commercial space operations and space travel.

Lockheed Martin said the project is an advancement in propulsion technology – from chemical propulsion engines to nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engines.

“These more powerful and efficient nuclear thermal propulsion systems can provide faster transit times between destinations. Reducing transit time is vital for human missions to Mars to limit a crew’s exposure to radiation,” said Kirk Shireman, vice president of Lunar Exploration Campaigns at Lockheed Martin Space.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded the contract to Lockheed under a project called Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO).

The in-space flight demonstration of a nuclear thermal rocket engine vehicle will take place no later than 2027, Lockheed said.

(Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)


Related Posts

1 of 35

Wait! Before you go...

Always be feeding your money brain. Claim one or all of the FREE offers from some of our partners below.