Blue Origin and Nuclear Powered Space Travel

By Cje95 | Texas Living | 14 Apr 2021

The Pentagon's Research and Development Arm or DARPA awarded three contracts recently for the DRACO (Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislucar Operations) program. The contracts are divided into two parts and are to fund the first 18-month phase of the program.


General Atomics won a $22.2 million contract to fund the preliminary design of a nuclear thermal reactor and the propulsion system to utilize this reactor. This type of power system ahs been imagined for the future for a very long time. The original Orion project in the 1950s was based on using nuclear bomb blasts to lift the launch vehicle into orbit. Naturally with the discovery and knowledge gained the idea of blowing up bombs to launch a rocket quickly died as the environmental harm was way to severe.


On the other hand, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin were awarded $2.5 million and $2.9 million respectively to develop the actual spacecraft for the technology. This is a huge win for a company like Blue Origin who is still trying to find its footing in the space industry. Lockheed Martin's inclusion shows a continuation in the defense department choosing both a traditional partner and a new up and comer.


Blue Origin is also performing a full dress rehearsal for their New Sheppard rocket launch tomorrow! This involves staff members being inside the capsel simulating a launch up until the launch where they will exit the vehicle and the rocket will launch. These same people will then be transported to where the capsel comes down to land and will reenter it once it lands and perform all of the functions to simulate landing and exiting the vehicle. 


A test dummy will be in the vehicle for the launch to record data over what humans could experience during the launch. This is rather impressive as this is not being funded by anyone expect for Jeff Bezos. It seems he really is hellbent on getting to space as soon as possible and to launch commercial astronauts. 

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Graduated from Texas A&M in May of 2020 had dabbled in crypto since 2017 but dove in at the end of 2019. December of 2020 packed up and moved to D.C.! Huge sports fan, space nerd, and international newsreader! Follow me on Twitter @Cje95_

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