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A new direction for nuclear? The Air Force's sweeping plan for space travel and space stations...

A new direction for nuclear? The Air Force's sweeping plan for space travel and space stations includes the use of nuclear energy. A new report issued from the USAF highlights that as nuclear power plants decrease in size, their "utility" on board space-based assets increases. (Report: United States Air Force Energy S&T Vision 2011-2026 .pdf)
Comments (4)
  • OptionManiac
    , contributor
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    Huh? Nuclear power has been in use in space from almost the beginning.
    23 Feb 2012, 02:19 PM Reply Like
  • Hubert Biagi
    , contributor
    Comments (709) | Send Message
     
    Yes, but it's been largely under the radar. You are applying logic to an environmental hot potato. The last time a major nuclear payload failed at launch, the destruction of the RTG released more plutonium-238 into the atmosphere than all of the atmospheric testing ever recorded. The program was immediately converted to solar arrays. This has become the main source of power in space. The use of nuclear energy has been kept to a minimum. Recently, there were a lot of concerns raised about the Cassini and Galileo deep space probes, and major environmental study was undertaken. There were protests, if I'm not mistaken.

     

    I wish the Air Force luck, really. They may have to launch the RTG core separately, in a hardened payload, then send someone up to assemble it.
    23 Feb 2012, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • Hubert Biagi
    , contributor
    Comments (709) | Send Message
     
    Sure. Try to get the environmentalists to allow launches with larger nuclear packages.
    23 Feb 2012, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • Leveraged Joe
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Less nuclear, more on the charts of X-Winged planes and morphing wings.
    23 Feb 2012, 04:12 PM Reply Like
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