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Donald Trump admin releases space nuclear power and propulsion strategy

The Donald Trump administration in the US has issued a new space policy directive for the use of nuclear power and propulsion in space. NASA said that the issuance of the new Space Policy Directive - 6 (SPD-6) on Wednesday will help propel its next giant leap — creating a sustainable presence on the Moon and sending astronauts to Mars.

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Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 Dec 2020 6:09 AM GMT

WASHINGTON: The Donald Trump administration in the US has issued a new space policy directive for the use of nuclear power and propulsion in space. NASA said that the issuance of the new Space Policy Directive - 6 (SPD-6) on Wednesday will help propel its next giant leap — creating a sustainable presence on the Moon and sending astronauts to Mars.

Space nuclear systems power spacecraft for missions where alternative power sources are inadequate, such as environments that are too dark for solar power or too far away to carry sufficient quantities of chemical fuels.

Space nuclear systems include radioisotope power systems and nuclear reactors used for power, heating, or propulsion.

As per the new directive, the US will pursue goals for space nuclear power and propulsion development and utilisation that are both enabling and ambitious.

It will develop capabilities that enable production of fuel suitable to a range of planetary surface and in-space space nuclear power and propulsion applications; demonstrate a fission power system on the Moon; and establish technical foundations and capabilities that will enable options for in-space nuclear propulsion.

Among other principles established by the directive include the US will develop advanced radioisotope power systems to enable survivable surface systems and extend robotic exploration of the solar system.

As per the directive, the US will adhere to principles of safety, security, and sustainability in its development and utilisation of space nuclear power and propulsion systems.

"NASA strongly supports the White House's continued leadership on the agency's Artemis programme, which includes landing the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024. At the Moon we will prepare for new science and human missions deeper into the solar system," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. (IANS)


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