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The Trump Administration (NASA) signed an agreement with Russia (Roscosmos) in September 2017. This would appear to include giving America’s latest nuclear propulsion technology to them. Is that what Putin was bragging about?

NASA has already engaged industry partners in gateway concept studies. Roscosmos and other space station partner agencies are preparing to do the same.“.

Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given

Notice that NASA is already working on this and Roscosmos is “preparing” – but gee, they won’t have to, it seems, for the US taxpayer will give it all to them with Trump’s help. The US, Norway and some European countries paid to help secure and clean-up Russia’s old nuclear waste, enabling Russia to use its money to build more nuclear submarines, a floating nuclear reactor (first invented by the US govt.), etc. Russia has benefitted from tech transfer before – Ford (1929) who created GAZ and the father of the Koch brothers, who taught them to make gasoline, spring to mind. More recently DaimlerChrysler sold an entire old assembly line to (now Deripaska owned) GAZ in 2006. There were many other examples – Anthony Sutton listed many of them. Cummins engines started doing business with the USSR-Russia during the Cold War. US Vice President Pence’s brother was VP at Cummins (until Dec. 2017), and started working for them in 1981. Russia and the US both got military related technology from Nazi scientists after WWII, too. It is worth noting that this is effectively the Executive (Trump) overriding the will of the legislative branch (US Congress), which voted sanctions against Russia, albeit weak ones.

US research is well underway and Russia is being allowed to waltz right in while Russia is still “preparing”: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/nasas-first-flight-with-crew-will-mark-important-step-on-journey-to-mars/

The US did nuclear fuel testing from 2014 to 2015 and was supposed to test a full size reactor prototype by the end of 2017: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2014/ntrees.html.


Russia says they are starting testing in 2018: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TEM_(nuclear_propulsion)

Problems of previous nuclear reactor(s) in space: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNAP-10A

Sept. 27, 2017
NASA, Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on Researching, Exploring Deep Space

Building a strategic capability for advancing and sustaining human space exploration in the vicinity of the Moon will require the best from NASA, interested international partners, and U.S. industry. As NASA continues formulating the deep space gateway concept, the agency signed a joint statement with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia….

NASA has already engaged industry partners in gateway concept studies. Roscosmos and other space station partner agencies are preparing to do the same.….

Studies of the gateway concept will provide technical information to inform future decisions about potential collaborations. These domestic and international studies are being used to shape the capabilities and partnering options for implementing the deep space gateway….

During the same time period and in parallel, NASA has been engaging U.S. industry to evaluate habitation concepts for the gateway and for the deep space transport that would be needed for Mars exploration. NASA has competitively awarded a series of study and risk reduction contracts under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Broad Agency Announcement to advance habitation concepts, technologies, and prototypes of the required capabilities needed for deep space missions. The most recent awards included six U.S. companies; Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Nanoracks. Five of the six firms were selected to develop full-sized ground-based engineering prototypes of habitation systems, expected to be complete in 2018. NASA has also solicited industry proposals for studies on concept development of a power and propulsion element, which would be the first piece of a gateway architecture.
Cheryl Warner Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1100 cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov
NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
202-358-1100 Last Updated: Sept. 27, 2017
Editor: Sarah Loff

Is there a Jeff Sessions link here, since he was US Senator from Alabama?
NASA’s Marshall Center’s ‘NTREES’ Facility Tests ‘Ticket to Mars’ Technologies
October 24, 2014

The NTREES test facility — housed at the Marshall Space Flight Center — safely tests simulated nuclear fuel elements, which reduce risk and costs associated with advanced propulsion technologies.

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion technologies are the subject of a new test series at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Researchers there are using an innovative test facility to study the properties of highly promising nuclear fuels — without the risk of radiation exposure associated with handling these potent power sources. The current test series focused on analysis of a variety of fuel elements in a simulated thermal environment kicked off in early October with completion targeted in June 2015.

Michael Houts, NTP manager at the Marshall Center, said the safety factor is good news for scientists and technologists developing the technology — and the advances enabled by the study will yield even better news for flight engineers and NASA mission planners. Nuclear thermal rockets “may be ideal to enable delivery of very large, automated cargo payloads to Mars, paving the way for human explorers,” he said.

The same nuclear thermal propulsion technology, reconfigured for speed rather than mass, then could potentially transport human crews to the Red Planet as well, which would get them there more quickly and efficiently than conventional rockets while reducing astronauts’ solar radiation exposure during the voyage.

In short, Houts said, “Nuclear thermal propulsion could be the ticket to Mars. The results from this study will give us a better idea of whether that is the case by experimentally measuring key factors related to engine performance and lifetime.”

Housed in the Marshall Center’s Propulsion Research and Development Laboratory, the test facility used for these innovative studies is dubbed “NTREES,” short for the Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environmental Simulator. Licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the facility is certified to test prototypical nuclear rocket fuel elements. These are identical to the fuel elements used in a nuclear thermal rocket, but because the test facility uses non-nuclear heating instead of nuclear fission, the fuel does not become radioactive during the test and can be easily handled and examined once the test is complete.

NTREES safely tests these stand-in, prototypical fuel elements in hot flowing hydrogen at power levels and temperatures comparable to those found in a working nuclear thermal rocket engine. Induction heating is used to mimic the fission process, with pressures reaching 1,000 pounds per square inch and temperatures approaching 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The cost savings is remarkable,” said Marshall researcher Bill Emrich, who manages the NTREES facility at Marshall. “Whereas it costs tens of millions of dollars to perform full-scale testing of nuclear rocket fuel elements in specially designed nuclear reactors, our research costs just tens of thousands — and no radiation protection is required!”

Houts concurred. “By using this non-nuclear induction heating process for testing, we avoid the environmental, legal and security issues associated with performing full-powered nuclear tests — and advance this research far more quickly than we could do otherwise,” he said. “And when, in time, we conduct actual nuclear testing, we will have very high confidence that those tests will be successful, thanks to these initial, non-nuclear studies.”

The focus on safety extends beyond the laboratory to the launch pad, Houts noted. A chemically powered launch vehicle, such as NASA’s next flagship, the Space Launch System, could safely carry a nuclear-thermal-powered upper stage to orbit. During ascent to orbit, the nuclear system would remain “cold,” with no fission products generated and radiation below significant levels.

Once safe orbit was achieved, the upper stage would deploy, and its nuclear reactor would be activated, heating hydrogen to extremely high temperatures. The hydrogen then would expand through a nozzle, generating thrust.

Such an engine is expected to operate twice as efficiently as a standard chemical engine, Houts said. The Space Shuttle Main Engine, which powered space shuttle missions to Earth orbit for 30 years and is generally considered one of the best, most efficient chemical engines ever built, delivered a specific impulse (ISP) of 450 seconds. A nuclear thermal rocket, in comparison, would deliver an ISP of 900 seconds. That dramatic increase in efficiency could enable reliable delivery of high-mass automated payloads into the deep solar system, or help high-velocity, human-rated vehicles speed to and from Mars and other destinations in as little as half the time required by today’s rockets.

Right now, though, NTREES research is driven by one critical goal: enabling a human mission to Mars. The current round of testing lays the groundwork for large-scale ground tests and eventual full-scale testing in flight.

After that? “Mars, here we come,” Houts said.

Nuclear thermal research at the Marshall Center is part of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division, managed by the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and including participation by the U.S. Department of Energy. AES focuses on crew safety and mission operations in deep space, seeks to pioneer new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities and validating operational concepts for future vehicle development and human missions beyond Earth orbit.

Marshall researchers are partnering on the research with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio; NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston; NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls; Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.https://web.archive.org/web/20141130023256/https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2014/ntrees.html

Apart from handing the tech to Russia, this is a dangerous waste of US taxpayer money unless the fact that “deep space travel poses a real and unique threat to the integrity of neural circuits in the brain” [1] can be solved.

The Trump administration signed an agreement with Russia which apparently allows a transfer of this and other related research to Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos!
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given

The majority of Americans are opposed to nuclear power.

Aug. 2, 2017
NASA Contracts with BWXT Nuclear Energy to Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology
As NASA pursues innovative, cost-effective alternatives to conventional propulsion technologies to forge new paths into the solar system, researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, say nuclear thermal propulsion technologies are more promising than ever, and have contracted with BWXT Nuclear Energy, Inc. of Lynchburg, Virginia, to further advance and refine those concepts.

Part of NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, the Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) project could indeed significantly change space travel, largely due to its ability to accelerate a large amount of propellant out of the back of a rocket at very high speeds, resulting in a highly efficient, high-thrust engine. In comparison, a nuclear thermal rocket has double the propulsion efficiency of the Space Shuttle main engine, one of the hardest-working standard chemical engines of the past 40 years. That capability makes nuclear thermal propulsion ideal for delivering large, automated payloads to distant worlds…..

Given its experience in developing and delivering nuclear fuels for the U.S. Navy, BWXT will aid in the design and testing of a promising, low-enriched uranium-based nuclear thermal engine concept and “Cermet” — ceramic metallic — fuel element technology. During this three-year, $18.8-million contract, the company will manufacture and test prototype fuel elements and also help NASA properly address and resolve nuclear licensing and regulatory requirements. BWXT will aid NASA in refining the feasibility and affordability of developing a nuclear thermal propulsion engine, delivering the technical and programmatic data needed to determine how to implement this promising technology in years to come.

The company’s new contract is expected to run through Sept. 30, 2019.

Nuclear-powered rocket concepts are not new. The United States conducted studies and significant ground tests from 1955 to 1972 to determine the viability of such systems, but ceased testing when plans for a crewed Mars mission were deferred. Since then, nuclear thermal propulsion has been revisited several times in conceptual mission studies and technology feasibility projects. Thanks to renewed interest in exploring the Red Planet in recent decades, NASA has begun new studies of nuclear thermal propulsion, recognizing its potential value for exploration of Mars and beyond.

In late September, the Nuclear Thermal Propulsion project will determine the feasibility of using low-enriched uranium fuel. The project then will spend a year testing and refining its ability to manufacture the necessary Cermet fuel elements. Testing of full-length fuel rods will be conducted using a unique Marshall test facility….
Last Updated: Aug. 4, 2017 Editor: Lee Mohon

Note 1: A dangerous waste of US taxpayer money unless this problem is solved:
Parihar, V. K. et al. “Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction. Sci. Rep. 6, 34774; doi: 10.1038/srep34774 (2016).
The Mars mission will result in an inevitable exposure to cosmic radiation that has been shown to cause cognitive impairments in rodent models, and possibly in astronauts engaged in deep space travel. … Cosmic radiation also disrupted synaptic integrity and increased neuroinflammation that persisted more than 6 months after exposure… Our data provide additional evidence that deep space travel poses a real and unique threat to the integrity of neural circuits in the brain…. Despite our long-standing knowledge that patients subjected to cranial radiotherapy for the control of brain malignancies develop severe and progressive cognitive deficits 8,9, the total doses and radiation types used in the clinic differ significantly from those encountered in space. Compelling evidence has now demonstrated the adverse effects of space-relevant fluences of charged particles on cognition7,10–15, and our studies, have linked functional behavioral decrements to the erosion of neuronal structure and synaptic integrity in specific regions of the brain7,16. Importantly, these changes were found to persist 6 weeks following acute exposure of rodents to charged particles, and showed little or no signs of recovery, regeneration or repair7. Here, we extend our studies …
“. Parihar, V. K. et al. “Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction. Sci. Rep. 6, 34774; doi: 10.1038/srep34774 (2016). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep34774

Image by Christina MacPherson of Nuclear News Net. See nuclear news here: https://nuclear-news.net