WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Administration announced the issuance of a National Strategy for the use of nuclear power and propulsion in space. Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has recommitted itself to space discovery and exploration. As the U.S. embarks on a new generation of American space missions, the ability to use space nuclear power and propulsion (SNPP) systems safely, securely, and sustainably is vital to maintain and advance U.S. dominance and strategic leadership in space. Space Policy Directive – 6 (SPD-6) establishes high-level goals, principles, roles and responsibilities, and a supporting roadmap that demonstrate the U.S. commitment to using SNPP systems effectively and responsibly.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) plays a critical role in providing the nuclear safety framework, allowing NASA and industry to utilize DOE expertise and capabilities to design, test, and certify nuclear technologies for space use,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “SPD-6 emphasizes the key role that space nuclear power and propulsion systems will play in advancing the U.S. space capabilities over the next decade”  

SPD-6 highlights 4 major fields in the areas of nuclear fuels, fissions reactors for surface power, thermal propulsion technology, and radioisotope power systems for space exploration.

DOE is already working in concert with NASA, the Department of Defense (DoD), and industry on a number of key areas within this policy, including: 

  1. Partnership with DOE, NASA and DoD to develop a high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel production capability for future terrestrial and space applications.
  2. Partnership with NASA and industry to design and deploy a fission surface power reactor for lunar demonstration by 2027 with an anticipated draft Request for Proposal in November 2020.
  3. Partnership with NASA and industry to advance nuclear thermal propulsion technology with an anticipated Request for Proposal in November 2020.
  4. Partnership with NASA and industry to develop next-generation radioisotope power systems to improve efficiency and productivity.

To learn more about the SPD-6, click HERE


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