Boeing-Led Team Wins Contract To Advance Nuclear Electric Power For Space Boeing

A team of government, industry and academia, under the leadership of The Boeing Company, has been awarded a NASA contract to meet the challenge of developing nuclear electric power for deep space exploration. Responding to NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe’s call to move forward with a “nuclear propulsion initiative,” Boeing and a team consisting of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Glenn Research Center, Honeywell, Swales Aerospace, Auburn University and Texas A&M will develop power conversion technologies that enable future reactor electric propulsion missions. “Our team’s proposal was designed to meet the challenge NASA has made to further our exploration of the planets and deep space,” said Terry Murphy, division director for Boeing Energy Systems at Boeing’s Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power unit. “This reactor technology would give us a 100-fold increase in power and a 30-fold increase in propulsion efficiency compared to conventional, storable rocket propellants. This means that a mission would take a fraction of the travel time and provide years of scientific discovery.”