NASA & DOE Will Seek Proposals for Lunar Nuclear Power System
NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have announced they are teaming up to request proposals in the coming weeks for the development of a compact nuclear power system that can support lunar exploration plans. NASA’s Technology, Innovation, and Engineering Committee has announced that the request for proposals will likely come in early October, aligning with the first phase of its Fission Surface Power effort. The effort is aimed at proving power to a mission during a night that will last two earth weeks, when there is no solar power available.
The project is seeking to develop 10-kiowatts of fission power that could be sent to the moon by 2027. DOE is expected to take lead on the project once awards are made. The first phase of the award will be to work on preliminary designs to be completed by the end of 2021, and the second phase will be aimed at developing the designs into a flight-ready unit that could be launched into space in 2027. DOE has also said that if companies are able to exceed the 10-kilowatts generation needed, there is potential for to then sell the additional power.
ASME will share the request for proposal once it is released in early October. In the meantime, visit SpaceNews for more information.