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Fusion Science and Technology
Trump leaves space nuclear policy executive order for Biden team
A hot fire test of the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi was not completed as planned. The SLS is the vehicle meant to propel a crewed mission to the moon in 2024. Source: NASA Television
Among the executive orders President Trump issued during his last weeks in office was “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” which builds on the Space Policy Directives published during his term. The order, issued on January 12, calls for actions within the next six months by NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD), together with the Department of Energy and other federal entities. Whether the Biden administration will retain some, all, or none of the specific goals of the Trump administration’s space nuclear policy remains to be seen, but one thing is very clear: If deep space exploration remains a priority, nuclear-powered and -propelled spacecraft will be needed.
The prospects for near-term deployment of nuclear propulsion and power systems in space improved during Trump’s presidency. However, Trump left office days after a hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket did not go as planned. The SLS rocket is meant to propel crewed missions to the moon in 2024 and to enable a series of long-duration lunar missions that could be powered by small lunar reactor installations. The test on January 16 of four engines that were supposed to fire for over eight minutes was automatically aborted after one minute, casting some doubt that a planned November 2021 Artemis I mission can go ahead on schedule.
H. Takahashi, T. Shimozuma, S. Kubo, S. Ito, S. Kobayashi, Y. Yoshimura, H. Igami, Y. Mizuno, Y. Takita, T. Mutoh, T. Kariya, R. Minami, T. Imai
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 57 | Number 1 | January 2010 | Pages 19-26
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST10-A9265
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
A 77-GHz, 1-MW gyrotron is being newly installed in the Large Helical Device not only to enhance the total heating power but also to increase the possibility of controlling the local plasma parameters. Our progress in installing the new gyrotron and evaluating its properties is discussed. We have already finished the installation of the peripheral components, including the transmission line, and conducted a test at 1 MW for a short pulse. Our plan is to operate this gyrotron at a power of up to 1 MW for 5 s. The conditioning of the gyrotron has been smoothly conducted, and a gyrotron output power up to 810 kW for 3.6 s has been achieved so far. The total injected power of electron cyclotron resonance heating to the plasma reached a value of [approximately]2.5 MW.