US Space Policy: "Launch of Spacecraft Containing Space Nuclear Systems"


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DocM

GAME ON; US space nuclear power memorandum.

 

This policy is required because NASA has developed a compact, very simple, self-regulating, and (relatively) inexpensive nuclear reactor could which can be used in space.

 

Kilopower uses a paper towel size core, heat pipes, and Stirling-cycle generators to generate 1-40 KWe of electricity + heat.

 

There's also been talk of a 1+ MWe reactor design.

 

Imagine a nuclear propulsion option for vehicles like SpaceX's Starship, NASA's NAUTILUS-X, etc.

 

WhiteHouse.gov...

 

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Quote

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE


THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL
PROTECTION AGENCY
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL
AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY
COMMISSION
THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL
SECURITY AFFAIRS
THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY AND DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY

SUBJECT: Launch of Spacecraft Containing Space Nuclear Systems

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1.  Purpose. 

This memorandum updates the process for launches of spacecraft containing space nuclear systems. Space nuclear systems include radioisotope power systems (RPSs), such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) and radioisotope heater units (RHUs), and fission reactors used for power and propulsion.

The ability to use space nuclear systems safely and sustainably is vital to maintaining and advancing United States dominance and strategic leadership in space.  For United States launches of space nuclear systems, the Federal Government must ensure a rigorous, risk informed safety analysis and launch authorization process. This memorandum establishes processes for Federal Government launches and launches for which the Department of Transportation (DOT) has statutory authority to license as commercial space launch activities (commercial launches).  These processes include transparent safety guidelines and are forward-looking and amenable to effective use of space nuclear systems for heating, power, and propulsion.

Section 2.  Policy.  

The United States shall develop and use space nuclear systems when such systems safely enable or enhance space exploration or operational capabilities. The Secretary of Energy shall maintain, on a full cost recovery basis, the capability and infrastructure to develop, furnish, and conduct safety analyses for space nuclear systems for use in United States Government space systems.  Executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall seek to ensure that safe application of space nuclear systems is a viable option for Federal Government and commercial space activities.
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DONALD J. TRUMP

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DocM

The other shoe drops,

 

 

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