Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies and its partners are among three teams winning $5 million contracts from NASA and the Department of Energy to develop reactor designs for space-based nuclear thermal propulsion systems.
USNC-Tech’s partners include its parent company, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp., and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture — as well as General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy, General Electric Research, Framatome and Materion.
The team will work under the direction of the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory on a concept known as the Power Adjusted Demonstration Mars Engine, or PADME.
Another contract went to Virginia-based BWX Technologies for a reactor design that it will develop in cooperation with Lockheed Martin. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems of San Diego received the third contract, and will partner with X-energy and Aerojet Rocketdyne.