Built by SpaceX and NASA, the most powerful space transport systems in history, namely Starship / SuperHeavy and Space Launch System, are new constructions, but in fact technologically obsolete. Experts from the US Space Agency believe that the era of such rockets, i.e. those with chemical propulsion, will end in no more than 10 years.
In just 6 years, the first nuclear-powered rockets are to start flying towards the Moon or Mars. The Pentagon wants to carry out the first tests of such a drive within 2 years. Only this technology will allow for quick construction of bases on both of these facilities. The flight to the Silver Globe is to take several hours, not a few days, and to the Red Planet a few weeks, not six months. If we are serious about becoming an interplanetary civilization, then we must invest in the development of nuclear technology for space travel.
Although the first such projects were created in the 1940s, just after the construction of the first atomic bombs, and were further developed in the 1960s and 1970s, only today are safe technologies suitable for the implementation of such visions. The current new arms race between the US, Russia and China for nuclear hypersonic missiles plays a very important role here. As a result, now the Americans and the Chinese are also starting to invest in new drives that will allow them to travel faster in space.
Nuclear Thermal Drives (NTPs) have many advantages. They use low-enriched uranium (LEU). Such fuel is not only safer in operation and creates less risk in the event of a failure, but also much easier to produce. The advantage is also the possibility of carrying much heavier loads, because a rocket equipped with such a propulsion weighs half as much as a standard one.
An innovative new generation nuclear engine, such as DRACO, will not emit radioactive elements in the exhaust gases. DARPA intends to produce such drives using specialized 3D printers in Earth’s orbit, and later also on the Moon and Mars, to significantly reduce costs. Recently, the Pentagon announced that rockets and spaceships will also be created in space in a similar way. Everything seems to indicate that in the near future, with the development of the American Space Forces, the arms industry will move to new factories outside our planet.
These types of drives are the future. Experts believe that Starship from SpaceX will fly with missions up to 10 years, later it will become an outdated technology. In the meantime, the first nuclear or plasma drives will appear, replacing traditional solutions. The question is, what will Elon Musk and his team do in the face of this vision of the future? Perhaps the company already has the Starship nuclear designs, or perhaps it believes that its vehicles will be so cheap to produce and operate that it will be possible to fly them to foreign planets for many decades to come? But will such long, six-month journeys to Mars make sense? We will see.
Source: GeekWeek.pl – Wiadomości by www.geekweek.pl.
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