NASA will supply Am-241 heat sources for Mars rover in a space exploration first

May 28, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover. (Image: ESA/ATG medialab)

Europe’s first Mars rover—named Rosalind Franklin—was months away from a planned September launch when the European Space Agency (ESA) convened a meeting a few weeks after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The ESA Council unanimously agreed on “the present impossibility” of working with Roscosmos as its launch partner and later decided to reboot its ExoMars mission with a new lander, new partners, and a new launch date.

Zeno Power will repurpose legacy radioisotope source from ORNL

January 31, 2024, 12:03PMNuclear News

Zeno Power announced on January 26 that it will get the strontium-90 that it needs to fuel full-scale radioisotope power systems (RPSs) for national security and space exploration missions from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM). Under a public-private partnership, a large legacy RPS known as the BUP-500 that had languished, unused, in storage at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been transported to an unnamed commercial radiological facility in Pennsylvania—Zeno Power’s subcontractor—where the Sr-90 it contains will be repurposed as heat sources for Zeno Power devices.

Zeno Power wins contract to build a radioisotope-powered satellite for the USAF

May 23, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News
Rendering of a radioisotope-powered satellite. (Image: Zeno Power Systems)

Zeno Power Systems was awarded a $30 million contract to build a radioisotope-powered satellite for the U.S. Air Force by 2025. According to a SpaceNews article announcing the development and quoting company cofounder and chief executive officer Tyler Bernstein, the four-year contract is a “strategic funding increase” (STRATFI) agreement that provides $15 million in government funds, matched by $15 million from private investors.